Review: The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStafano

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website
The first in a new fantasy duology, The Glass Spare is a gorgeously told tale of love, loss, and deadly power from Lauren DeStefano, the bestselling author of the Chemical Garden series. Perfect for fans of Shannon Hale and Renee Ahdieh.

Wilhelmina Heidle, the fourth child and only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.

Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, though, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.

But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with Wil’s power.

With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?

I first fell in love with Lauren DeStefano's exquisite storytelling when I read her Chemical Garden series. A series I still to this day highly, highly recommend - it's twisty, dark, and utterly addicting! Therefore, as soon as I heard about her newest duology, beginning with The Glass Spare, I was beyond excited. The premise sounded fantastic and the cover is stunning (even more so in person!).  

The Result? The Glass Spare reminded me again how much I love Lauren's storytelling and writing, which is to also say it didn't disappoint me one bit! Beautifully written, compelling, and unique, The Glass Spare is without a doubt a read-in-one-sitting kind of book. 

The Glass Spare introduces us to the four royal Heidle children. With the exception of the oldest son - the heir to the kingdom - the youngest three have been hidden from the world, sent out only to do their father's wicked bidding. For Wilhelmina, or Wil as she likes to be called, this means becoming her father's most useful spy. Wil's okay with this - she loves the adventure her missions bring. Everything changes, though, the moment she realizes she can turn a person into gemstone, killing them in the process. She doesn't know if she's been cursed or exposed to something horrible on the black market; however, she does know she can't hurt anyone else, no matter how bad they may be. But with her power growing more dangerous by the day, Wil doesn't know how long she'll be able to keep this up....

Three words that best describe Wil? Bullheaded, strong, and vastly loyal. Wil is someone I liked from the get-go. I loved how important family was to her. Her relationships with her brothers Owen and Gerdie as well as her mother were actually one of my favorite parts of the book. Additionally, they brought a humanized quality to a girl who more times than not was tough as nails. In addition to Wil, I loved getting to know more about Wil's family. Gerdie was too smart for his own good - I just loved seeing his crazy scientist come out when he was down in his lab. Owen was charming and protective. He reminded me of a "big bear" in some ways, always willing to do anything to protect his "cubs" - Gerdie and Wil. Towards the middle of the book two mysterious characters are introduced - Loom and Zay. I came to love both of them as well. Zay reminded  me of Wil in the way that she was tough and protective. Loom, on the other hand, I could never figure out if he was good or bad - sometimes he floundered in between; however, I loved seeing his friendship evolve with Wil. They were more similar than not, and I feel that they managed to bring the best out in each other. 

The premise in this was interesting. A girl who who can turn people and objects into gemstones in one simple touch? Interesting, and always slightly Frozen like if I may. I thought Lauren did a great job of developing Wil's power. She addressed the bad and good that it brought as well as the mysteries that surrounded it. Was Wil really cursed? That was one question that was in my mind throughout the entire book! Additionally, I liked the family focus of the plot. Much of this book revolves around Wil's loyalty to her family as well as her need to make them happy. It was great to see such a close knit family in a fantasy novel - even more so when Lauren offered up POVs from other members of the family. Also, there was an interesting power dynamic between Wil and her father, which was interesting to see. Wil's father was a wicked man; however, there were some parts of him that were almost human like. Last but not least, romance...it was a very small portion of the book, and honestly, I liked it that way. I valued and appreciated that Lauren put more time and effort into characterization and world building then romance. (I know surprise, surprise!) 

In all, The Glass Spare is a fantastic addition to the YA fantasy world. I will admit that it's slightly slow to start, as most first books are in a series; however, once it gets going, it's incredibly hard to put down - I promise you that! 

Grade: A- 

The Glass Spare is now out! 

Source: Physical copy provided by publicist for review- thanks Laura! 

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  1. This sounds a fantastic cast of characters and the world building does too. I have a copy of it, but I haven't gotten to it yet. Ugh... Hopefully soon. Great review!

  2. This sounds so amazing! And the cover's incredibly gorgeous, too ;)

    I love the sound of Wil, and especially what you say about her relationships with her family. Strong, positive relationships are still quite rare in YA, and I'm so please to hear that this book has them :)

    Lovely review, Lauren.

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words

  3. Wow, I can tell that you really enjoyed the book! I didn't love her debut trilogy, or Perfect Ruin, so I kind of gave up on her books. I got an ARC of this book but I'll probably pass it along. It has such a gorgeous cover though! Theoretically it's something I would enjoy. I'm glad you loved it, Lauren! Enjoy the rest of the series!

    Have a wonderful day. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!


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