The Glass Casket

( 5 )

Overview

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...

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The Glass Casket

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Overview

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.

A YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Pick

[STAR] "With stylish prose, richly developed characters and well-realized worldbuilding, Templeman plumbs archetypes of folklore to create a compelling blend of mythic elements and realistic teen experience."-Kirkus Reviews, Starred

[STAR] "This has both the stylish beauty of those [classic fairy] tales and the chilling darkness that makes them timeless."-The Bulletin, Starred

“The legion of Maggie Stiefvater fans out there ought to look this way.”-Booklist

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Pick

[STAR] "With stylish prose, richly developed characters and well-realized worldbuilding, Templeman plumbs archetypes of folklore to create a compelling blend of mythic elements and realistic teen experience."-Kirkus Reviews, Starred

[STAR] "This has both the stylish beauty of those [classic fairy] tales and the chilling darkness that makes them timeless."-The Bulletin, Starred

“The legion of Maggie Stiefvater fans out there ought to look this way.”-Booklist

Children's Literature - Allison Fetters
After five of the king’s men are found dead in the hills beyond the village of Nag’s End, the villagers become frightened that the darkness behind the mysterious deaths will find its way to their own front doors. The villagers are right to be scared as the darkness descends upon Nag’s End. Rowan Rose, an aspiring young, female scholar feels the shift as her relatively quiet world changes with the arrival of a cousin she did not know she had and the messages from the witches asking to meet with her. Jude Partlett, brother of Rowan’s best friend, Tom, knows something is happening beyond what the elders are revealing and he and Rowan work together to get to the root of it all. Through the search, Rowan finds an unexpected alliance with the man she is truly meant to be with, not the one with whom she was temporarily betrothed out of obligation. This story includes timeless themes of friendship, love, and loyalty. This modern work, with the voice of an ancient fairy tale, is enchanting and engaging leaving the reader wanting more until all is revealed by the last page. Reviewer: Allison Fetters; Ages 12 up.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-11-13
In the woods above the quiet mountain village of Nag's End, five soldiers of the king are mysteriously killed. Village elders presume it was a wolf attack, but Tom and his brother Jude are convinced that no animal could have inflicted the horror that they saw up on icy Beggar's Drift. Tom's best friend, Rowan Rose, is warned by her scholar father not to succumb to the others' fear of witches, goblins and wood sprites. But it becomes hard to ignore the strange goings-on, especially after Fiona Eira, a cousin Rowan never knew she had, arrives. Tom, who's looking for a "grand love," thinks he's found it with the enchanting Fiona. He gives her a coin he found on Beggar's Drift that may be connected to a greater evil than anyone imagined. A complex, layered plot highlights a split between those who cling to traditional beliefs and young people who look for rational explanations for what turns out to be a string of grisly deaths in the village and surrounding forest. Twists and turns keep readers in suspense as Rowan, Fiona, Tom and Jude navigate a convoluted path through sibling rivalry and friendship en route to adulthood. With stylish prose, richly developed characters and well-realized worldbuilding, Templeman plumbs archetypes of folklore to create a compelling blend of mythic elements and realistic teen experience. (Fantasy. 12-17)
School Library Journal
02/01/2014
Gr 8 Up—Rowan and Tom are best friends, having grown up together in the village of Nag's End. When five of the King's men are found brutally murdered, the townspeople investigate but find more questions than answers. Rowan's cousin, Fiona Eira, shows up at the village, attracting Tom's eye before she is found with her heart torn out. Her body is encased in a glass casket by her grieving father, and more gruesome killings follow. Tom and Rowan, along with most of the villagers, are desperate to find answers. Who or what is to blame? Could the murders be related to magic, witches, wolves, or ghosts? Templeman does a creepy (and bloody) job of describing the crimes and their culprit, but gives few details about a visiting duke, his ward, and most of the villagers. Since the story is set in a fantastical past, when few girls are taught to read and candles provide light, the occasional use of contemporary phrases sound out of place. Templeman includes nods to both folklore and classic literature in this atmospheric tale.—Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385743457
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 2/11/2014
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 363,871
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: HL820L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

   McCormick Templeman has a BA in English Literature from Reed College and an MFA in Writing and Poetics from Naropa University. She is also the author of The Little Woods.
   McCormick lives and writes in Oregon. Learn more about her and her books at McCormickTempleman.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2014

    Sucky

    It was pretty bad and im pretty open minded when it comes to books.
    :(

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2015

    more from this reviewer

    Nag's End is a town that is used to disappointment and hard time

    Nag's End is a town that is used to disappointment and hard times. Nag's Enders also know to stay away from the woods after dark lest the dark creatures--the ones that stayed behind when the good fairies left--eat them up. The town is warded to keep evil out. And as long as people stay out of the woods, it seems safe enough.

    But not everyone knows to stay out of the woods.

    After years of peaceful living, five soldiers ride through town in a flurry of activity only to disappear. Days later they're found dead in the woods.

    The town elders say it must be wolves. Tom and Jude Parstle don't believe them. Neither does Tom's best friend Rowan Rose despite what her pragmatic father might think.

    It's been years since anything unnatural happened in Nag's End or the surrounding forest. But between the strange deaths and the arrival of Fiona Eira--a preternaturally beautiful girl with her own secrets--it seems change is coming to Nag's End. As Tom, Jude and Rowan delve deeper into the mystery surrounding these strange deaths none of them are sure who will survive in The Glass Casket (2014) by McCormick Templeman.

    The Glass Casket is a strange blend of fantasy with a hint of folklore and a horror suspense story. Five brutally murdered bodies are found within the first few pages but then the story shifts abruptly to an entirely too contrived (not to mention instantaneous) romance only to shift again to a bit of a mystery.

    Templeman admirably juggles all of these tropes and plot devices in chapters with titles referring back the Major Arcana cards from a Tarot deck. Despite all of these intriguing elements, The Glass Casket never feels cohesive.

    Broken into four parts and further subdivided into chapters, the story is chopped up even more with the story alternating between third person narrations following Tom, Rowan, Jude and Fiona. While this offers an opportunity to see the story from all side the ultimate result is a disjointed, jumpy story. (Not to mention a story that is annoyingly dissimilar from the plot suggested by the book's jacket copy.)

    Unfortunately, Templeman's strength in world-building only highlights how lacking her characters are in basic development. Tom not only falls in love literally at first sight but also into a grand love that will mark him as forever changed. Jude, meanwhile, behaves like a young boy demonstrating his affection for a girl by being rude and generally treating her badly. Finally Rowan, the heroine of the novel who barely features in the first seventy pages, is supposedly a clever, bookish scholar. Yet throughout the story she is painfully lacking in self-awareness and lashes out with childlike tantrums when upset.

    In summary, The Glass Casket is largely beautifully written. Although it is lacking in strong characters, the backdrop of Nag's End is vivid and extremely evocative. Even the plot, if you can get past the numerous shifts in perspective, is quite suspenseful and an ideal read for fans of horror stories or thrillers.

    Possible Pairings: The War for the Oaks by Emma Bull, The Blue Girl by Charles De Lint, Plain Kate by Erin Bow, Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab, The Last of the High Kings by Kate Thompson, The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff, "The Stolen Child" by the Waterboys (hear it here)

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  • Posted October 8, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This novel literally combines some of my favorite story elements

    This novel literally combines some of my favorite story elements and, to my heart's delight, Templeman used them all exceedingly well. I love it when things are set in a small village and the creep factor is high. For some, the first 100 pages could be a bit slow but I found them rather intriguing.

    Templeman created a bleak atmosphere. Here's a town where nothing has really happened for years and suddenly, a group of the king's soldiers die on the mountain top. The villagers hurriedly shrug it off as a wolf attack and although as a reader you know it's something more, you don't really feel the danger quite yet. Then someone you actually know dies and that's when things start escalating. The atmosphere steadily builds upon itself until you reach the last 150 pages and the creep factor is sky high. When it reaches that point though, it stays there right up until basically the very end.

    There were quite a few point of views (POVs) but this technique was absolutely perfect for the novel. The POVs did switch quite frequently but seeing the village and events through a variety of eyes only made everything creepier. It didn't give away the mystery. You still had to put it together. But instead of hearing about some of the deaths, you actually see them.

    While I enjoyed the characters, I wouldn't say I really connected to them. This just isn't one of those type of novels. This novel is more plot-centered than it is character-centered. Sure, I backed certain characters (Jude, my friends, Jude), but Jude, Rowan, and Tom could have just as easily died and I would have been okay. This might seem detrimental but it really isn't, not with this book. This was about the monster in the woods. It was about discovering the evil that hid there and getting rid of it. It didn't matter who did it as long as it was killed.

    It should also be noted that, although this is high fantasy, I wouldn't expect a sweeping world. Again, this isn't detrimental. Often times, we're lured into high fantasy because of books like The Lord of the Rings and Throne of Glass. This just isn't that type of book. This is more concentrated. You see the beliefs of the villagers and their lives. It's all very well developed and you become intimately familiar with this small village. But this book isn't about saving the world. This is about a village on the brink.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2014

    The Glass Casket was a fantastic read! A scary (and mysterious!)

    The Glass Casket was a fantastic read! A scary (and mysterious!) re-telling / re-weaving of several fairy tales, it kept me up late, turning the pages with the flashlight under the covers. So spooky, but worth it! 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2014

    H

    G

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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