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Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal
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Glamour in Glass (edition 2012)

by Mary Robinette Kowal

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3892927,583 (3.75)41
Member:beserene
Title:Glamour in Glass
Authors:Mary Robinette Kowal
Info:Tor Books (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:signed, fantasy, historical fiction, met

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Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal

  1. 00
    The Silvered by Tanya Huff (nessreader)
    nessreader: Action-adventure war thriller fantasy crossed over with regency romance mannerpunk. Both Glamour in Glass and the Silvered have a lot of plot and the action in relation to the love story, which is fine by me.
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Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
(Originally reviewed at thelibraryladies.com.)

The second in the “Glamourist Histories” sereis, “Glamour in Glass” resolved many of the issues I had with the first book and introduced an expanded world and magic system.

While the appeal of the first book lay largely in its comparisons to a Jane Austen novel with magic, this aspect was also its biggest downfall. Let’s face it: more often than not, being compared to a Jane Austen novel is a kiss of death for many historical books since it will only raise expectations to impossible heights. While “Shades of Milk and Honey” wasn’t sunk by the comparison, it didn’t do the story any favors either. The plot devices or characters who struck to closely to aspects of “Emma,” “Sense and Sensibility,” or “Pride and Prejudice” were at best distractions and at worst lacking the heart and wit that lies at the core of these originals. However, this book, taking place after the marriage of Jane and Vincent, is freed from these comparisons as it ventures into unknown territory to Jane Austen stories: Life after the wedding.

I enjoyed reading about Jane and Vincent’s struggles learning to adjust to married life. While very much in love, the reality is that they still have much to learn about each other, both in regards to their own personal relationship, and with how they balance their “professional” lives as gifted glamourists, each in their own way.

The expanded descriptions and explanations for this magic system were particularly interesting. It is a very unique take on magical and I enjoyed discovering more about how it work and the varying ways it can be adapted for different uses. I remember noting in my last review that this type of magic seemed as if it would have more important applications than simply as an art form, and this book explores this concept, much to my delight. Particularly, the book dives into the ways that glamour magic is used as strategy in military maneuvering.

As the description highlights, there is much more action in this story, particularly for Jane. I enjoyed watching her make proactive choices, rather than simply react to the circumstances presented to her.

My only complaint was the decreased role that some of the original characters played in this story. While the setting places some obvious constraints on the involvement of these characters (obviously Melody would not be on their honeymoon with them!), I still missed them.

All in all, this book improved on both of my complaints of the original: freeing itself from comparisons and expanding the use of its magic system. If you were only half-sold on the first book, definitely check this one out as I see it as a great improvement in the series. ( )
  thelibraryladies | Feb 4, 2017 |
I liked this follow up story because it explores more of the relationship between Jane & Vincent. Their marriage at the end of the last novel took me a bit by surprise, because we never really see much interaction between the two. Throw in some historical intrigue and more on the magic of glamours and you've got a worth waiting for sequel. ( )
  tjsjohanna | Dec 5, 2016 |
This second book in Kowal's Glamourist series returns to the Regency world she created in Shades of Milk and Honey (my review here), but Kowal departs from the strongly Austen-y feel of the first to a more standard paranormal historical feel -- a development I welcome!

Jane and her new husband find themselves in Belgium for their honeymoon, and they use the time to study some of the Continental glamour techniques and skills, as well as experimenting with the use of glass in glamour work. But Napoleon escapes Elba and suddenly they're at the front lines of battle. Unhesitating in their support of the British army, their loyalty to country and their skill in glamour make them targets.

As with the first book, I think heightened expectation set me up for disappointment, for while I liked this one more than Shades of Milk and Honey, I wasn't in swoons as I imagined I would. Once again, I yearned for more -- more detail, more character depth, more exploration of the world and its mores, that kind of thing. Kowal evokes warm intimacy, real sexual chemistry, and devoted friendship between Jane and Vincent, but it's done in quick brushstrokes that didn't satisfy me.

There was also a huge plot element I found problematic, but can't really discuss without spoiling it, so check out my GoodReads review if you want all the spoiler-y deets.

In rereading this review, I can see I'm damning with faint praise -- which isn't my intention. (I'm hooked enough that I'm starting the fourth book!) It's fluffy, Regency-ish fun, in which artists use magic, there are no love triangles, and we follow a couple through their new marriage (which is refreshing!). ( )
  unabridgedchick | Jul 21, 2016 |
Newlyweds Jane and Vincent are off to a grand start in their marriage -- the Prince Regent has hired them to create a large-scale glamour for his New Year's Eve celebration. The book begins with a dinner party celebrating their achievements, and sets the tone for the rest of the book. Jane and Vincent, though deeply in love, have many issues to work through. Vincent is used to being a solitary artist, and does not always find it easy to work with another glamourist, even his beloved (and talented) wife -- nor does he find it easy to discuss his feelings, plans, or ambitions. Jane still struggles with deep-seated insecurity, not only over her plain features, but in comparing her own work as a glamourist to that of her husband. With the war seemingly over and Napoleon confined to the island of Elba, Jane and Vincent travel to Belgium to work with another glamourist, an old friend of Vincent's. However, many unexpected events await them in Belgium. . . .

I enjoyed this book, just as I did its predecessor. Jane and Vincent really develop as characters in this book, the portrayal of their marriage is well-balanced, and there's plenty of intrigue and adventure to keep the plot moving along. If you're unfamiliar with this series, I definitely recommend starting with Shades of Milk and Honey, as the characters and magic system are more thoroughly explained in that book. Fans of fantasy and Jane Austen are sure to enjoy this series. ( )
  foggidawn | Jan 26, 2016 |
4.5 Stars

I gotta say I enjoyed this volume a TON better than book one.

The author’s writing style has smoothed out from her awkward tendencies in book one. No strange exchanges or showdowns here! I think it’s from not trying so hard to emulate Jane Austen. The atmosphere and the details of the Regency are still very firmly present; yet, the author isn’t trying to incorporate exact phrasing and spelling choices to the story nor is she forcing Jane Austen-esque character interactions into the story.

I also still enjoyed her main characters and their relationship. The secondary ones still didn’t make all that much of an impression on me; I can hardly remember most of their names. But the leads were still great. The author threw some pretty harsh circumstances and story twists at our characters, and I found how they dealt with them realistic. Especially with Jane’s twist, I think I can safely say that I would have dealt with her tribulations in almost exactly the same way.

My favorite part of this book, though, was the more in depth look at glamour that we got. Details on how it works, postulations on its uses outside of pretty colors and decoration, more on the cost users pay to utilize it, and theorizing on how to adapt it to current technologies all play a part in the story. The fantasy geek in me was thrilled to see all this stuff on the magic system.

To me, this book was worth wading through the first book for. While that one had some good points, it was mostly a slog through. But book two?! Vast improvement and a fantastic book overall. I loved the main characters still, enjoyed the new twists on glamour, and enjoyed the different story and situations presented for our leads to overcome. Highly recommended for lovers of historical fantasy with a side of romance. Look forward to the rest of the series! ( )
  Sarah_Gruwell | Jan 13, 2016 |
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Epigraph
Mary wished to say something very sensible, but knew not how. -- Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Dedication
For Mom and Dad. If not for you, I would not be a writer, nor have the courage to submit. Thank you for teaching me that the arts are important.
First words
Supposed to be "There are few things in this world that can simultaneously delight and dismay in the same manner as a formal dinner party."  However, in the first edition, that sentence is omitted, and it begins with "Finding oneself a guest of honor only increases the presentiment of anxiety, should one be disposed to such feelings."
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Book description
Mary Robinette Kowal stunned readers with her charming first novel Shades of Milk and Honey, a loving tribute to the works of Jane Austen in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence. This magic comes in the form of glamour, which allows talented users to form practically any illusion they can imagine. Shades debuted to great acclaim and left readers eagerly awaiting its sequel. Glamour in Glass continues following the lives of beloved main characters Jane and Vincent, with a much deeper vein of drama and intrigue.

In the tumultuous months after Napoleon abdicates his throne, Jane and Vincent go to Belgium for their honeymoon. While there, the deposed emperor escapes his exile in Elba, throwing the continent into turmoil. With no easy way back to England, Jane and Vincent’s concerns turn from enjoying their honeymoon…to escaping it.

Left with no outward salvation, Jane must persevere over her trying personal circumstances and use her glamour to rescue her husband from prison . . . and hopefully prevent her newly built marriage from getting stranded on the shoals of another country's war.

[retrieved 2/16/2014 from Amazon.com]
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Newlyweds Jane and David Vincent travel to Belgium and their ability to create invisibility via glamour makes them a target for emperor Napoleon's returning forces.

(summary from another edition)

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Mary Robinette Kowal is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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Mary Robinette Kowal chatted with LibraryThing members from Sep 13, 2010 to Sep 26, 2010. Read the chat.

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