Killing Me Slowly

A leopardess who learned how to dance. And read.
All Just Glass - Amelia Atwater-Rhodes I've loved Amelia Atwater-Rhodes' writing since I was eleven years old. I spent the better part of my teenage years on an Amelia Atwater-Rhodes message board, learning about and immersing myself in the world she'd created. Thus, her books are kinda a huge nostalgia bomb for me, and I might get a little more satisfaction out of them books than your average Jane off the street.

Now that being said, I wasn't wild about Persistence of Memory, and to be totally honest, Shattered Mirror was my second-least favorite of the DoS series. So I don't think bias totally clouds my judgement on the subject.

With all that in mind, I kind of loved this book.

Warning: spoilers abound for Shattered Mirror.

While I hadn't exactly been pining for a follow-up to Sarah's tale, I do like what Atwater-Rhodes did with it. Shattered Mirror ended with Sarah, a teenaged witch and vampire hunter, being turned into a vampire herself by twin brothers that she'd both been hunting and befriending. Being the daughter of a woman who is essentially queen of the witches - witch, in Amy's world, being near synonymous with "vampire hunter" - this created a lot complications, not only for Sarah, but for her family as well. And as All Just Glass shows us, what creates complications for the Vida family creates complications for the rest of witch society.

The great part of All Just Glass is that we get to see all of these complications, and the way that they unravel the lives of many of the characters involved. AJG isn't just about Sarah as she comes to terms with her new life as a vampire. Instead, the narrative flips between Sarah's new life and the lives of her friends and family as they deal with her "death". The driving force behind the plot is the hunt that Sarah's mother, Dominique, calls for to exact revenge on Sarah's "murderers" - as well as Sarah, herself. The "Right of Kin" that she declares compels every last remaining witch to assist in Dominque's quest for vengeance, and has far-reaching consequences, both politically - for vampires and witches - and personally, for the five remaining hunters whose duty it is to find and kill someone that they used to know and love.

One of my very favorite aspects of Atwater-Rhodes's writing has always been this really in-depth, complex, world that she's created. Every supernatural race, every family line, every organization, every individual character, has volumes of history behind them that color their present-day relationships, interactions, and decisions. This, in turn, affects the political workings and developments that we see in All Just Glass. It's a really cool thing, if you're familiar with the world, to see characters that other books have mentioned in passing, out and about living their lives and affecting the lives of our current protagonists.

Better yet, AJG shows us not just more of, but a different side to some of the characters and organizations that we've previously read about. For example, we get a peek inside how the organization SingleEarth actually works, how it manages to function as a neutral zone in such a combative world. The primary focus is the day-to-day lives of the vampire-hunting witches, which I particularly enjoyed, since they've remained by and large the one-dimensional fanatical assholes of Amelia's world.

On the other hand, I can imagine that for someone who wasn't familiar with the series, or even just not recently familiar with them, this could all seem very confusing. Characters, names, lines, and political affiliations are thrown around, and though attempts are made to explain who they are and what everything means, AJG is still prone to moments of confusion. It could potentially overwhelm, and even turn off a reader new to the world.

The other problem with this is, all of those necessary character explanations? Yeah, they can clutter the text something awful. While I occasionally needed the reminder of, say, who the Arun or Marinitch witches were and what made them different, the bouts of exposition required to share this information could be a bit dry, and weren't terribly well integrated in to the overall narrative.

I did have issues with the writing here and there. It's sufficient, if not wholly engaging, but there was some awkward phrasing, the aforementioned clunky exposition, a few instances of wince-inducing melodrama, and what I'm going to assume are editing issues, where it seems like entire scenes were set up and then skipped (example: Sarah's shopping trip with Kendra).

Despite that, though, I enjoyed what the book offered. The new look in to the lives of the world's most feared vampire hunters was compelling. For many books, we've been given a very distinct portrayal of not only Dominique Vida, but witch vampire hunters in general: they're cold, calculating, and zealously devoted to their mission of killing all vampires. All Just Glass's primary goal is exposing the people behind that zealotry...

Read full review at You're Killing.Us.

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