The Glass Swallow
By Julia Golding
Marshall Cavendish, 2011. 304 pgs. Teen fiction
Torrent Glassmaker has gone against guild rules by secretly fostering his daughter Rain's talent as a glassmaker, a job forbidden to a woman in Holt. Her secret talents have brought the family renown that has them recommend as the people for the job when ambassadors arrive from Magharna looking for craftsmen to work on the Master's summer palace. Rain can't openly acknowledge her skills but fakes a betrothal to her cousin in order to accompany him to this foreign land. However, when the ambassador's party is attacked by bandits and Rain is the only survivor, she must figure out how to get out of a hostile country and make her way back home.
Peri, a falconer, has grown up in Magharna, a country rigidly divided by a class system where people of the higher classes can't even speak to those in classes beneath them (nor do they want to). Peri is a scavenger, the lowest of the low, and, because he is unclean, is forbidden to even enter the city. Although he has learned to calm his emotions and just enjoy his work with his falcons, when he rescues Rain from bandits, his whole world gets turned upside down, and when there uprisings in the city, both Rain and Peri must figure out what they'll do to survive.
This book is a companion book to Dragonfly (takes place about 30 years later and you really don't need to have read the first book to understand the second), and while I loved Dragonfly, I only liked this book. The plot line is great; I like the way it weaves in the stained glass windows and Peri's and Rain's dilemmas. However, there were times when the writing felt awkward and more like "telling" than "showing." I found that to be particularly annoying when it happened during the romantic scenes--really, who wants to read a clumsy flirtation? (Unless it's intentionally clumsy, of course, but in this case, I don't think it was intentional.) I'd still recommend it for anyone looking for a clean fantasy that takes them to an imagined world in the past...but for those of you who really enjoyed Dragonfly, just be warned that this one isn't as good.
3.5 stars. Clean read.