The Shad­ow­glass

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Reviews Young Adult - LETI­TIA MONT­GOMERY-RODGERS

Rin Chu­peco, Source­books Fire (MARCH) Hard­cover $17.99 (480pp), 978-1-4926-6060-6

Rare bone witch Tea’s hearts­glass is turn­ing a dreaded black as she uses her magic to re­call loved ones from death. For now, she’s been able to hide its dark mot­tles, but she’s in a race to dis­cover the na­ture of this cor­rup­tion be­fore it de­stroys her or those she loves. In Rin Chu­peco’s The Shad­ow­glass, the Bone Witch tril­ogy draws to a close. Tea un­cov­ers the source of a world’s magic and rev­e­la­tions that threaten to change more than just her hearts­glass.

Tea’s choices are the lynch­pin of a knot­ted plot. A split nar­ra­tive shifts be­tween an un­named bard who’s try­ing to un­der­stand her tide of de­struc­tion and Tea her­self as she wres­tles with chang­ing magic. Th­ese nar­ra­tives bridge past and present, stretch­ing and com­press­ing ac­tion and pac­ing but never fully con­verg­ing.

Tea flip-flops from a flawed hero to a sym­pa­thetic vil­lain and back. Teas­ing out which deaths are valid and which aren’t be­comes in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult once the bod­ies start drop­ping—both in terms of Tea’s own in­ter­nal code and the novel’s moral arc.

The novel with­holds its an­swers un­til the fi­nal bat­tle, not lay­ing the ground­work for Tea’s rev­e­la­tions. Af­ter a quest of in­creas­ing melo­drama and ten­sion, when the last bat­tle’s joined, the truth she un­masks isn’t trace­able. Most of her dis­cov­er­ies lie out­side the nar­ra­tive’s ac­tion and are de­liv­ered as a fait ac­com­pli.

Per­haps most sat­is­fy­ing if read within the se­ries, The Shad­ow­glass is a story al­ready in mo­tion, its dense cast of char­ac­ters and sprawl­ing plot all con­verg­ing on a con­clu­sion.

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