Glass Town Wars by Celia Rees ★
"The next day, all that was left to show was a faint staining on the marble piazza, pink on grey."
I received this e-book from Netgalley. This does not affect my review or opinion. All thoughts are my own and I'm being 100 percent honest. Thank you to Netgalley and Pushkin Press for providing me this e-book for reviewing purposes.
I don't like to write negative reviews, but I really did not like this book. The blurb made the plot sound so unique and interesting and I was so excited to read this book. However, from very early on I already knew this wasn't going to be amazing. Throughout most of the book I had no idea what was going on. The story couldn't keep my attention.
All these Glass Town intrigues. No matter how long you'd been absent, how far you'd traveled, once you were back, it was as though you'd never been away.
Tom and Augusta are from different places and different times, but they meet in the virtual world to combine forces in battle, to save a kingdom, escape a web of deceit, and to find love. In a place where fiction can be truths and truths fictions, learning who to trust is more than friendship, it is about survival.
Let me start off with some things I liked. The cover for example is very pretty however I don't really see what it has to do with the book. Also the layout of the pages was really pretty. Every new chapter starts with a little drawing and I found them very magical.
Now for the plot. I was actually really looking forward to reading this book, that's why I initially requested it on Netgalley. The idea of Glass Town Wars is very unique and reminds me a bit of the series Black Mirror. I would've liked more explaining at the beginning of Glass Town Wars. You kind of get thrown into this world and get little to no explanation. It felt a little bit like I just turned on the tv and started watching a movie while it was already halfway through. Then once you're following Tom all kinds of battles happen and you don't have time to get to know the world he's in or any of the characters he encounters. Another thing that was confusing is that Rees uses multiple points of views and switches regularly from pov in a chapter. At times it was not clear to me who I was following.
The characters are all very bland and I had no connection with any of them. I feel like the author was too eager to start the adventure that she didn't take enough time to introduce her characters. The reader doesn't get to know the personas they're reading about and it results in me - the reader - not caring about any of these characters or what they go through. Another thing is that you start reading and all of a sudden a couple of chapters in you get introduced to a lot of characters. Characters that in my opinion were all very bland and resembled each other.
I hate to say it, but Glass Town Wars had no worldbuilding whatsoever. And this is a very important thing, especially in a novel where your character travels to a new world. I had no idea when or where the story took place. If you're writing about this new world, I want to see it. Show me things, describe them to me.
It also wasn't very clear to me if Tom knew from the start he was in a game or not. Because there were times that he mentions knowing he's in a game but then also saying things like 'how do I know this?'.
Glass Town Wars was honestly just all over the place. I feel like Rees had a good and unique idea but got carried away while writing. I like an action-packed novel, but this one just had too much action and little to no story behind it.
Would I recommend it? No, I wouldn't. It just wasn't a good book. I didn't connect with any of the characters and there was no world building present.
Celia Rees is a leading writer for Young Adults with an international reputation. Her titles include Witch Child (shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize), Sorceress, (shortlisted for the Whitbread - now Costa - Children's Book Award), Pirates! (shortlisted for W.H.Smith Award), Sovay and Glass Town Wars. The chance discovery of an old family cookery book has now taken her writing in a new and different direction. In 2012, she began researching and writing her first novel for adults, Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook, published by HarperCollins in July, 2020.