Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
Release Date: October 24, 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult \ Fantasy
A gorgeously told fantasy tale, the first in a duology, about a princess who discovers she’s cursed to turn any living thing she touches to gemstone—from Lauren DeStefano, bestselling author of the Chemical Garden trilogy.
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 power. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first, Wil is horrified by her power—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When her newfound power 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?
The Glass Spare, by author Lauren DeStefano, is the first of a two part duology called the Glass Spare. The protagonist of this duology is 16 year old Wilhelmina "Wil" Heidle, the fourth child and only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation called Arrod. As the third spare of the family, Wil has no hopes of ever becoming Queen of Arrod.
Which is really fine with Wil. Wil's very existence is that of curiosity and rumors since she's been hidden away most of her life.
She loves to wander, she loves to explore, and in all fairness, she doesn't at all mind being used as a spy for her father since nobody really knows who she is. After being sent on a mission as a spy by her father, Wil is attacked and discovers that she has the ability to turn things into glass and jewels.
After her father discovers what she did and to whom, Wil is declared dead to him and the family, and ordered to never return again. On the run, exiled from her home, she meets Prince Loom who has also been exiled from his kingdom. Prince Loom demands Wil's help and in return says he will help her find the man who can answer her questions.
With a blend of modern & a medieval atmosphere, DeStefano has created a fantasy world that is full of treacherous kings and queens. This is a world that is separated by those who have warmed to modern technology like electricity, with those who use magic, and alchemy to survive. The world has a steampunk feel to it as well with dirigibles and data goggles that can tell time and other things. I didn't care for the romance. While it wasn't forced, or insta-love, it really didn't do much for the overall enjoyment of the story. I have no real issues with Wil as a character. She's put in an bad situation, has to find learn how to trust strangers who may not have her best interest at heart, and in doing so, it opens her eyes to the way that others live.
From Wil’s relationship with her brothers—the brave king-to-be Owen, the dangerous and fearful second son Baren, and the brilliant inventor Gerdie—to her changing relationships with her nomadic, passionate mother and her power-hungry father, The Glass Spare is a story deeply tied to compelling and emotional family dynamics. I adored Wil's relationship with both Owen and Gerdie. One could say that Gerdie and Wil were inseparable, but Owen is the one who set Wil up by teaching her how to take care of herself. Gerdie is also the most curious character in the story with his disability and his unimagined intelligence that allows him to build all sorts of curious weapons.
DeStefano is the author of the Chemical Garden trilogy (Wither, Fever, Sever), the Internment Chronicles (Perfect Ruin, Burning Kingdoms, Broken Crowns), and two books for tweens, A Curious Tale of the In-Between and The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart.