I started reading this book in high school (2010) after picking it up at the library and fell for it in the first few pages. Unfortunately, my time with the book ended. I forgot about it until I found it via amazon two years later. The plot itself is intriguing and the ending chapters made my heart jump like a Pharrell beat. However, I ended the book slightly disappointed.
The Glass of Time is a sequel to Michael Cox’s novel The Meaning of Night set twenty years later in 1876 England. However, (I’m unsure due to not reading the first, but I assume) this book introduces new characters mainly, the likable Esperanza Gorst who despite being raised quite posh in Paris, must, at the request of her guardian Madame De L’orme, take on a Great Task becoming lady’s maid to Emily Duport, Lady Tansor, a main character from the previous book. In comparison to some reviews I’ve read, my not reading the first book may have done me a favor keeping me in the dark on the returning characters backgrounds and motives. Duty, vengeance and the mental cost of secrets are the core principles of this book
My main gripe with the book was the pacing. Once I got swept up by the mysterious gothic charms of Esperanza’s new surroundings, Cox slammed on the breaks and took my journey, which was cruising at about a smooth 78 mph to a mournful 10 mph. It’s done in an effort to draw out suspense, terror filled moments, of which there are several, however he definitely could have shortened these scenes and still effectively build suspense. Without spoiling the Crypt scene as well as some of the exciting exploration of Evenwood could be cut and still deliver the same thrills. As I neared the ending chapters, Cox floored it, quickly tying the books multiple subplots with before speeding you to a climax and ending that left me feeling “…oh?” rather than “OH!” (Part of me feels that Cox’s declining health and eventual death in 2009 are to blame for the jolt into breakneck speed.)
What I loved about the book is it’s visual quality. Cox was definitely gifted in scene setting and descriptions. You feel the cold and grimy atmosphere he sets in Evenwood. Following Esperanza through the great house and estate leaves readers with…that uneasy feeling you get when something is wrong and you aren’t sure what it is. Aside from that, my other credit to Cox’s descriptions is the wardrobe of the characters, specifically the women (the 1870s is one of my favorite fashion periods), Cox describes their dress so vividly, and also notes how clothing is connected to status.
I did enjoy this book, I just wish it didn’t take so long. I also have to revisit this book after reading The Meaning Of Night so I can have a better grasp on the charachters and plot of TGOT. Maybe that time I won’t leave with an “Eh” reaction.
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