Title: The Glass Spare (The Glass Spare #1)
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Pub. Date: October 24th, 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins
The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano can very well be seen as a gender-bend version of the King Midas & the Golden Touch myth. We are introduced to Wil Heidle the only daughter to the Northern King as well as her 3 brothers & mother. The King himself is a man who will stop at nothing when he sets out to seize lands & so the North is at the brink of war with the South. The South may not be wealthy like the North however, the King knows that the land itself is rich in medicinal plants that can produce miracle cures.
The King sees each of his children as pawns & as such has groomed each of them to serve a purpose in his Kingdom. Wil however is the child he has always feared & never loved due to the circumstances revolving her birth. She wasn’t born with her mothers beauty but rather with what appeared to be a birthmark over her heart. From the moment she was born she was said to be carrying a great evil… EVERYTHING Wil touches that has life turns into gemstone. No one including Wil herself are aware of this dormant power & so the King who trusts no one, decides to groom her from a very young age to be a spy to the Kingdom. Until the day Wil’s power manifests itself in the worse possible way leaving tragedy in its wake. Wil is forced to leave the kingdom & chooses to go in search of a cure for what she believes is a curse. Hiding her true identity, Wil ventures into enemy lands in the South on her quest for a cure. Meeting another cursed soul was never in her plans. Finding out that he’s the Prince of the South doesn’t simplify things.
King of the North- a man only interested in power & the lands he can acquire. He loves his wife who is his Achilles heel but he will use his kids and their skills to his benefit whenever he sees fit.
Queen of the North- It scared me how much of myself I saw in this character. The Queen has OCD & her biggest fear is anything bad happening to any one of her kids. She spends nights awake roaming the castle halls checking in on them to make sure they are breathing. Oftentimes counting random things such as the number of kisses she gives each one of them while they are asleep. The Queen has a wanderer heart which she gave up once she became the Queen & a mother but her free spirit lives in on in two of her kids.
Wil Heidle- Craves to see the world & experience life in all corners of the world, Wil is very much like her mother. She is also a very talented spy who really just wants to make her father proud. This is her only connection to her father & so she works hard at gathering secrets all throughout the kingdom. It is because of this that she plays all her cards close to the chest & has her walls up high. Wil loves her family, flaws & all but it’s her brother Gerdie she is attached to most.
Gerdie Heidle- Struck by Gray Fever when he was a child, Gerdie is a living miracle. He is able to walk with the assistance of metal leg frames & wards off fevers via his homemade remedies. He is an alchemist & therefore the King looks to him for warfare & ingenuity. Gerdie & Wils relationship was my favorite of them all in this book. The scenes in Gerdies lab were some of my favorite & I could vividly imagine the mini explosions Gerdie set off while Wil ran to check on him.
Owen Heidle- Oldest son & therefore heir to the throne, Owen will one day be king & perhaps the kingdom would be better off with him in charge. Also a wanderer like his mother, Owen has traveled the world & seen many things. He has a vision for the Northern kingdom & preventing his father from starting a war is top priority. Owen loves all his siblings & is seen as the level headed responsible one of them all.
Baren Heidle- The son the king has cast off as useless. He lacks the IQ Gerdie brings to the table & the logistical/physical skills Owen carries. This has made Baren into a very bitter & angry brother/son who hates everyone except his mother. I would’ve liked to have seen more of this character, he was definitely treated as the invisible son.
Loom & Zay- Later on in the story we meet the Southern Prince Loom & his traveling companion Zay. The Prince does carry a curse within him & very much like Wil doesn’t agree with the way his father the Southern King is running the land. They are enemies without knowing it & so their relationship is based on lies. Won’t go into detail for fear of spoilery things but I will say that I really did enjoy Looms character. He has a big heart & wants to do more for his people in many ways similar to Owen Heidle. Zay his companion is AMAZING!!!! she is the definition of Momma Bear! very maternal, Zay will fight you to the death if you hurt her loved ones.
A solid start to The Glass Spare series!!! this was my 1st Lauren DeStefano read & it really took my by surprise how invested I got in this story. I picked this book up on a late Friday night & couldn’t put it down, before I knew it I had reached the last sentence. A genderbend version of King Midas & the Golden Touch, one of my favorite myths growing up as a kid. My first revelation was that Wils power although it may sound beautiful at first is actually pretty gruesome when seen in action. No, not everything that glitters is gold & pretty! I still have this one scene in my head that was very descriptive & left me contorting my face & literally shaking my head NO! (yes, yes I am a scaredy cat) & yet I REALLY enjoyed her writing LOL! I kept flinching whenever she came into close contact with another person in fear she’d turn them into a giant ruby, trust me it isn’t pretty. The character relationships were my favorite & even the King in the North managed to make me question whether he was always that cold. Speaking as a person who deals with OCD, I found the Queen to be extremely relatable with compulsions I myself carry out on the daily. I will most certainly continue on with this series & highly recommend to those looking for a strong & fresh take on a tale as old as time 😉
*HUGE Thanks to Balzer + Bray/Harper, Edelweiss, and Lauren DeStefano for the eGalley copy of The Glass Spare in exchange for an honest review.