Jones, Diana Wynne. Enchanted Glass (2010). 292 Pages. Greenwillow Books. $16.99
Aidan Cain has had the worst week of his life. His gran died, he was sent to a foster home, and now malicious beings are stalking him. There is one person Gran told Aidan to go to if he ever got into trouble– a powerful sorcerer who lives at Melstone House.
But when Aiden arrives on the doorstep, he finds that the sorcerer’s grandson, Andrew, has inherited the house. The good news is that Aiden can tell immediately that Andrew’s brimming with magic, too– and so is everyone else at Melstone. The bad news is that Andrew doesn’t remember anything his grandfather taught him. Chaos is swiftly rising, and he has no idea how to control it. A sinister neighbor is stealing power from the land, magic is leaking between realms… and it’s only a matter of time before the Stalkers find Aidan.
If Aidan and Andrew can harness their own magics, they may be able to help each other. But can they do it before the entire countryside comes apart at the seams?
I finished this book on the 16th, but I’ve been trying to figure out what, exactly to say about Enchanted Glass. As a whole, I really loved it. I hadn’t read any reviews, and I didn’t even read the synopsis before I cracked it open and began to read. I really felt absorbed into the story, and I was really attached to the characters. Andrew and Aiden were amazing, their relationship fascinated me.
Less fascinating, and more irritating was Mrs. Stock. I hated her, and saw absolutely no reason to keep her around. All she did was vengefully hide things, move furniture, and make cauliflower cheese. She did not do a single good thing in the entire novel except bring Shaun into the story. I felt like she was a superfluous character who could easily have been combined with a different character and the story would have been just fine. Only a shade less annoying and superfluous was Mr. Stock, because he brought in the vegetables, which connected to an actual plot, and he periodically did something, like get Stashe and Tarquin into the story.
That aside, I really felt like I was reading a good fantasy novel with a large dash of mystery, until I hit the last two pages, and my good fantasy novel was ruined. Really, what the hell was with that letter, and why didn’t the characters react properly to the revelation within? “Oh, wonder if we’ll mention it…” is not appropriate. Shock, awe, disgust, something along those lines I could have handled, but an “oh, it was so obvious” made me gnash my teeth and left me feeling completely unsatisfied. It was like when I got to the end of Harry Potter, and there was that convenient bit of deus ex machina that resolved everything almost-happily-ever-after*.
While I loved the story, I felt like this had some weaknesses that really distracted me from the main plot. My annoyance at Mrs. Stock is one thing– every time she came into the scene, I had to consciously mellow out. Mrs Stock aside, I really did enjoy the story, and I was enthralled, until the letter at the end. That just ruined it for me. I’d say “I don’t know why I’m having such an extreme reaction,” but that would be a lie. Spoiler Warning: I’m having such an extreme reaction because I’m picturing an old dude having sex with a teen. He was an old dude of “a great old age,” and she was at most in her early 20s, from the way the narrative was going. All I can see in my head is a nasty old man knocking up a teenage girl. Then sending her home to her mother. What. The. Fuck. DWJ? End Spoiler Warning! Highlight between points A and B to read. I apologize to anyone who can inadvertently see the white text. If we disregard the bit that angered me so very much at the end, it gets a 5/5, but I think that page must be counted towards its score, so it gets a 4/5.
* Poor Fred. That made me so very sad. The whole list of dead wizards made me cry (no, not kidding) but Fred most especially.