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Monday, February 9, 2015

Book Review: Greta and the Glass Kingdom


Once upon a dark time…

Greta the human bounty hunter never quite fit into the shadowed, icy world of Mylena. Yet she's managed to defeat the demon Agramon and win the love of the darkly intense Goblin King, Isaac. Now Isaac wants her to rule by his side—a human queen. And the very announcement is enough to incite rebellion…

To make matters worse, defeating Agramon left Greta tainted with a dark magick. Its unclean power threatens to destroy her and everything she loves. With the Goblin King's life and the very peace of Mylena at stake, Greta must find a cure and fast.

Her only hope lies with the strange, elusive faeries in the Glass Kingdom…if she can get there before the evil within her destroys everything.


I don't know how I feel about this!  I'm serious.  Everything felt so...sudden.  At least everything after the party scene.  Greta goes on a adventure. Things go badly.  Isaac comes for her. Things go even worse.  Greta keeps traveling and things get even worse.  There is literally NO GOOD things that happen.  Every step Greta takes is one step further into misery and despair.  

And I just couldn't understand why.

This is a pretty standard length book by today's YA fantasy standards. And while the first book wasn't puppies and rainbows bright and cheery, there were bright moments.  I honestly started dreading when something evenly remotely happy was happening because I knew it would lead to endless pages of unhappiness.  

Meanwhile everything I liked about the first book, namely Isaac and Greta's interactions, disappeared.  After the party we don't get an honest to goodness Isaac and Greta scene until the last 10%.  And even that last bit I'm not sure was earned or justified.  The method by which we got Isaac back was nothing less then a TRUE LOVE CONQUERS ALL THINGS (including logic) device.  And it felt that way.

And so we're clear this book perpetuates why I dislike Fairies/the Fair Folk in general.  

You may be wondering why I gave this three stars when I had so much to be unhappy with (up to and including I think there's a third book I had no idea about?), but in truth I kept reading. This book kept me reading despite my anger, despite my complaints and I can't fault Jacobs for accelerating the plot.  Happy Greta and Happy Isaac wouldn't have worked half as well as a second book, especially as there are still a LOT of unanswered questions.

Like just how bad are things in the world of Mylena that Isaac is covering up to Greta about?  Or why in the holy hell can't Greta find one freaking friend who doesn't have ulterior motives?  JUST ONE. That's all I'm asking for here.

As for the ending...:sigh: Portal fantasies are, by in large, groused about for good reasons.  Whether it be by science or magic that sends out main character to a land of Not Their Own, portal fantasies need for the reader to buy into the conceit of how it happened.  Since in the first book Greta is already in Mylena, and we only have her recounting of how she ended up there as to the "how it happened", not such an issue. Similarly we could discount Agramon and his minions threatening to throw her into a portal somewhere since they're bad guys. Rule #1 as a bad guy is to lie or obfuscate the truth.

In this book we get a first hand dealio with the portal transport and its rushed. The whole last chapter is rushed.  For spoiler reasons please highlight to read why:
[spoiler] They wind up back in "our world"--they being all those Lost Boys, Greta and Isaac--thanks to, you guessed it the bad guys. Okay great wonderful.  Instead of ending the book there, with them confused and dazed Jacobs hand waves it all until we get to where they're all headed to see Greta's parents for help.

I'm sorry what?

We're told how confused Isaac--the only truly new to our world person in the group--is. We're told how they scavenged and hid and worked out what to do. We're told how they came up with a somewhat plan to see Greta's parents and go from there.  This is all stuff I would have liked to see.  It would have made a good way to start the next book and a solid way to have readers want to come back for more.  

Reading about Greta's half-angst about how the boyfriend/husband/partner she has (Isaac) isn't who her parents (that she hasn't seen for almost half a dozen years) would have wanted for her is not what I'm interested in reading about. Greta's earlier angst were good reasons for her to worry about her relationship (namely humans are hated in Mylena so making her their QUEEN suddenly wasn't going to improve matters). Greta's angst that her parents may disapprove is not a good reason.
[end spoiler]

In the end this book kept me reading, but I grew more irritated as I went on.  This was a 2.5 star read for me--basically I only enjoyed it half as much as I expected to--so its rounded up.  Here's hoping Book 3 resolves some of my issues.