The Glass Swallowby Julia Golding
Rain has a secret—one that risks her whole world if it comes out. She designs exquisite stained glass for the windows of her city. But the law is clear: it is forbidden for girls to be part of the glassmakers’ guild. To keep her secret hidden, Rain leaves home and travels to a strange new country. Her trip becomes a nightmare when bandits attack and
Rain has a secret—one that risks her whole world if it comes out. She designs exquisite stained glass for the windows of her city. But the law is clear: it is forbidden for girls to be part of the glassmakers’ guild. To keep her secret hidden, Rain leaves home and travels to a strange new country. Her trip becomes a nightmare when bandits attack and she is abandoned in a society on the edge of disaster. To survive, she must discover new strengths in herself and seek out the other people that this society has scorned, including a young falconer who is one of the "untouchables." This exciting novel is a companion book to Dragonfly, which received a starred review from School Library Journal, was a YALSA Teens’ Top Ten nominee, and was selected by librarians for the 2011 Texas Lone Star reading list.
This gentle tale, set in the world ofDragonfly(2009), offers a fresh take on high-fantasy conventions.
Only her father knows that Rain, 15, designs the glass in his workshop; women are barred from the glassmakers' guild. He sends her in his place when a distant country with a decaying society and a rigid caste system, Magharna, seeks a glass designer. Arriving in Magharna, Rain's party is attacked by bandits. She's rescued by Peri, a handsome falconer and member of the untouchable caste, but through a misunderstanding, is left to fend for herself in the unfriendly city of Rolvint. Her forced servitude there ends when a merchant's financial collapse sparks a revolt, driving the city into anarchy. Peri returns to rescue Rain, but she has her own agenda—restoring Magharna to a viable society. Yes, Golding's high-fantasy world features the usual hierarchical governance by ancient aristocracies, but she's no moral essentialist. Her bandits aren't innately evil or deluded by satanic influences; they're unemployed outcasts with no better prospects until Rain shows up, blending idealism with a streak of girlish realpolitik.
Forget the predictable and clichéd love story; read for the social commentary. An insightful, engaging portrait of a high-fantasy society in the midst of social change.(Fiction. 12 & up)
Meet the Author
Julia Golding is a multi-award winning writer for children and young adults. She also writes as Joss Stirling (Finding Sky) and Eve Edwards (YA historical).
Former British diplomat and Oxfam policy adviser, she has now published over thirty books in genres ranging from historical adventure to fantasy. Read carefully and you'll spot all sorts of material from her diplomatic and Oxfam careers popping up in unexpected places. She has a doctorate in English literature from doctorate in English literature from Oxford.
Studying for this prompted her to write her first novel, 'The Diamond of Drury Lane', set in 1790 and told by her intrepid heroine, Cat Royal. It went on to win the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2006 and the Nestle Children's Book Prize 2006 (formerly known as the Smarties Prize). In the US, 'Secret of the Sirens' won the honor book medal of the Green Earth Book Award. 'Dragonfly' won the 2012 Beehive Book Award, Young Adult Division, given by the Children's Literature Association of Utah and voted on by readers in schools and public libraries.
Over half a million of her books have been sold worldwide in many languages.
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Rain's father is one of the most sought-after glass makers in the kingdom of Tigral. Torrent's mastery of stained glass is unrivaled with even the king and queen ordering windows from the Torrent forge for their palace. The only problem is Torrent is not the visionary behind his stained glass designs. Rain, his daughter, is the designer--a secret that could get them both thrown out of the male-only glassmaker guild. When an opportunity arises for Rain to visit a distant land and ply her wares, it seems like a fine opportunity. She will be able to promote her father's forget and her craft all while keeping her secret and seeing the wonders of the kingdom of Magharna. Unfortunately, within a day of her arrival everything goes very wrong. Alone in a strange place, Rain must find her own way as she navigates the foreign language and strange customs of Magharna and tries to find her way home. As Rain learns more of her temporary home, she realizes something is very wrong in the state. With a flagging economy and a society on the brink of riot, Rain will have to get very creative to find her place and a way home in The Glass Swallow (2010) by Julia Golding. The Glass Swallow is a companion Golding's earlier novel Dragonfly. (The current king and queen of Tigral are the protagonists of Dragonfly while it's fun to see the characters overlap you do not need to read one book to enjoy the other.) The Glass Swallow is a cute if sometimes improbable story focused on Rain and a young Magharan falconer named Peri--a man deemed "untouchable" by the higher echelons of Magharan society. The story is written in third person with focus shifting between Rain and Peri (often highlighting deeply frustrating missed connections between the two characters). Although Rain has a very rough start in Magharna things begin to go surprisingly well for her by the latter third of the novel as pieces of state politics and revolution fall into place as if part of Rain's personal stained glass design. While groundwork is laid for the romantic aspect of the story, the romance too felt a bit contrived as it moved with surprising speed from flirtation to actual love. The Glass Swallow is an entertaining fantasy. Given the characters' ages I went into this book expecting something along the lines of YA fantasy. Instead the characters and plot read much younger marking this more as a middle grade level read. That said, The Glass Swallow is still very fun with the nice touches of both stained glass and bird handling as areas of interest in the story. While the story, particularly the latter half, felt cursory as if the characters were rushing to a resolution the story was often heartwarming. It's very nice to read a well-thought-out fantasy with an unabashedly happy ending. Possible Pairings: Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The Selection by Kiera Cass, Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner