Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Glass Sentence, The--S.E. Grove

Title: The Glass Sentence
Author: S.E. Grove
Publisher: Viking, 2014
Pages: 493 p
Source: Library
Compensation: None
Read: May 2016

S.E. Grove's The Glass Sentence

Thank you VOYA. VOYA has a tendency to send me the third in a trilogy to review... when I haven't read the first two. Sure, I grumble because I'm the type of person who has to read the first two and my time is seriously limited, but without fail I wind up loving the books and grateful for being introduced to them.

This case is no exception.

The Glass Sentence is the first book in a truly unique fantasy series for Middle School students. Sophia Tims is a young girl living in Boston in 1891. But this is not Boston in the United States because there is no United States. In 1799 time paused for everyone--people frozen in whatever they were doing--as they watched an entire year flash before their eyes. When time resumed again, the continents were all flung into different time periods. Places that were once known, were now foreign and undiscovered. After a hundred years the Eastern Seaboard became known as New Occident and developed quite differently than it would have without the Great Disruption of 1799.

Sophia lives with her Uncle Shadrack, a famous cartologer and explorer, because her explorer parents disappeared 8 years earlier on an urgent mission. When the government decides it needs to close the borders and prevent foreigners from coming in, Sophia is concerned her parents will never find their way home. When Shadrack is kidnapped, Sophia knows it's up to her to save him and embarks on her first adventure outside of the border. She's joined by Theo, a refugee from the West, who has his own secrets.

I truly enjoyed this novel. The premise was pretty unique--a world made up of different time periods--as well as the fantasy elements--maps are not just two-dimensional pieces of paper but can be made using different elements and when awoken they let the mapreader actually experience what the map shows (memory maps). I'm a big fantasy reader and I loved the world-building in this series. It's the perfect book group book--some kids might need a little help conceptualizing the different time periods--and it has much deeper issues that are relevant today of border closings and being afraid of foreigners. My 11 1/2 year old blitzed through the series after I gave him a brief description (and chose to do his school book talk on the second one) and my 9 year old just started it. It might be a bit above her with all of the time talk and memory maps, but I had no problem letting her try it.

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