Source: Random House Kids – I received this in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Random House Kids
Edition: Hardcover, 352 Pages
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon/ Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Death hasn’t visited Rowan Rose since it took her mother when Rowan was only a little girl. But that changes one bleak morning, when five horses and their riders thunder into her village and through the forest, disappearing into the hills. Days later, the riders’ bodies are found, and though no one can say for certain what happened in their final hours, their remains prove that whatever it was must have been brutal.
Rowan’s village was once a tranquil place, but now things have changed. Something has followed the path those riders made and has come down from the hills, through the forest, and into the village. Beast or man, it has brought death to Rowan’s door once again.
Only this time, its appetite is insatiable.
The Glass Casket is one that won me over before I even opened it, the cover is stunning AND it’s a fairytale retelling, but the story within matched the eerie beauty that the cover art portrays.
The Glass Casket takes place in a tiny village called Hag’s End, that is nestled near the mountains. It’s a dreary yet wholly alive place where the belief in otherworldly creatures and witches is as normal as the snow fall. It’s mostly peaceful until a sudden gruesome death in the forest completely shatters the tranquility and pulls everyone into the midst of very real danger. The obvious fairy tale that this one borrows from is Snow White, but there seems to be some Snow Queen elements in there as well. However while some of the elements are quite easy to see or guess during the story, I found that Templeton did an excellent job of deviating from the bones of both tales in order to give you something new. There are quite a few twists and turns in this one, a few I guessed and a few that caught me off guard and made me anxious to keep reading. I wan’ts initially expecting to see so much death in this one but McCormick doesn’t hold back and the story is completely permeated with the heavy and eerie nature of the evil lurking in Nag’s End.
Rowan is an intellectual girl with a love of scholarly materials and translations, but she also has a sense of adventure. Unlike say, me, she knows how to balance out her studies and reading with her outdoor exploration with her friend Tom. I did have some trouble connecting with her initially as I wasn’t quite use to the style of writing but that soon faded and I really came to enjoy her. Tom was someone who I really liked but had a whole lot of mixed feelings about through out the book. He’s an incredibly friend but he looses his way and at one point threatens Rowan’s overall happiness. I thought the way they navigated the troubled waters was rather interesting and at times really heartbreaking, but I really loved their friendship. I’m firmly in belief that we need more guy/girl friendships in YA. Jude is Tom’s brother and I harbored a lot of mixed feelings about him as well. I didn’t have much trouble guessing the source of his standoffish attitude but it didn’t make it much easier to handle. He is so calculating and fierce in presence that I really couldn’t blame anyone for having trouble trusting or liking him.
The Glass Casket took two well known tales and meshed them together creating something atmospheric and dark while maintaining that sense of magic. This is a standalone and it does wrap up rather neatly, which was really nice to have in a sea of series. I’m so happy I made time for this one since it’s perfect for a winter time read.