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New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder develops a world of molten magic where a magician's powers can remain hiddenor even be lost
After siphoning her own blood to defeat her enemy, Opal Cowan has lost her powers. More, she's immune to the effects of magic. Opal is now an outsider looking in, spying on those with the powers she once had, powers that make a difference in her world.
Until spying through the glass becomes her new power. Suddenly the beautiful pieces she makes flash in the presence of magic. She also discovers that someone has stolen some of her bloodand that finding it might let her regain her powers. Or learn if they're lost forever
About the Author
Maria V. Snyder is the New York Times bestselling author of the Study series, the Glass series, the Healer series, Inside Out, and Outside In. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Meteorology from Penn State and a Master of Arts degree in fiction writing from Seton Hill University. Unable to part ways with Seton Hill, Maria is currently a teacher and mentor for the MFA program. Find her on the Web at MariaVSnyder.com.
Read an Excerpt
Crouching in the darkness of the closet, I stilled as footsteps approached. My instincts screamed to run. I stared at the thin ribbon of light under the door, shadows of shoes paused. I silently urged them to walk away. All I wanted was one day of peace. One day. The knob turned. No luck. With a whoosh of fresh air, my hiding spot was exposed.
"For sand's sake, Opal, what are you doing in there?" my mother asked.
I suppressed a sigh. The truthhiding from herwouldn't help. "Looking for my boots?"
Her scowl deepened as she pushed back a lock of graying hair. "They're on your feet."
I straightened. "Oh yes well."
"Come. There are a thousand things we need to do, and you're wasting time." She shooed me through my room and downstairs to the kitchen. "Sit and read me the guest list while I cook lunch."
My gaze swept the long wooden table filled with paper, swatches of fabric, lace, sequins, sewing patterns and half-completed decorationsenough clutter to force us to eat in our formal dining room. I cursed my sister Mara under my breath. Before returning to work at the Magician's Keep's glass shop, Mara had asked our mother to plan her and Leif's wedding, trusting her with everything. Smart girl. She remained a safe five-day journey away from Mother's all-consuming new passion.
When I failed to sit at the table, she stabbed a spoon at the chair. "Guest list, Opal."
"You've been over it a hundred times."
"I want to be certain"
"You haven't missed anyone. It's perfect. Stop worrying."
She dried her hands on her apron. The stained white fabric covered her chest and long skirt. "Do you have something better to do? Did I interrupt your moping time?"
"I'm not moping." My voice whined. Not a good sign.
"Resting, recuperating, moping, it's all the same." She hauled a kettle filled with water over to the glowing coals in the hearth.
"No it isn't. A lot has happened"
She pished at me. My own mother!
"Stop wallowing in the past. What's done is done. Focus on the future. We only have one hundred and fifty-three days until the wedding! Then it's only a matter of time for grandchildren and maybe you and Kade?"
Yanking the chair out with a loud scrape, I plopped on it. I snatched the list from the pile and read names aloud as my mother continued to bustle about the kitchen. She had mentioned Kade almost every day since I'd arrived. Sixty-three days of missing him, dodging her questions and being drafted to help with preparations for an event two and a half seasons away. How could one woman be so irritating? For a second I wished for another family. A sensible one without all this stuff, like the Bloodrose Clan, living in austere isolation.
"Opal, stop making that face."
I glanced over the list, but her back was to me. Long strands of hair had sprung from the knot she had tied this morning. She rolled dough with quick efficiency.
"How did you know?"
"I'm your mother. I see all. Hear all. Know all."
I laughed. "If that's true, then why do you ask me so many questions?" Ha. Got her!
Her hands stilled. She turned to me. "Because you need to hear the answers."
My father's arrival saved me from a retort I didn't have. He filled the room with his large frame. Even though most of his short hair had turned gray, he still looked young. My brother, Ahir, bounded in behind him. A mirror image of our father except Ahir's thick black hair brushed his shoulders.
"Hey, mop top," I said to Ahir.
"What's up, peanut?" He smirked.
I used to tower over him, but now he was six inches taller than my own five-foot-seven-inch height.
Before I could throw another insult at him, he handed me an aqua-green glass vase. "New recipe. Look at the clarity. Sharp."
I examined the glass in the sunlight. The cold crystal felt dead in my hands. No throb of potential. No song vibrated in my chest. Nothing. My glass magic was gone. Although painfully aware of my loss, a small part of me hoped to feel a spark every time I touched glass, only to be disappointed each time.
"Working with this melt is pure joy," Ahir said. "Let's go over to the factory, I'll gather a slug for you to try."
I gave him a tight smile, letting him know I saw through his blatant attempt to interest me in creating with glass again. But no magic equaled no passion. Before Yelena had uncovered my abilities, I hadn't known about the magic. It had been masked by my desire to create. Now, the inert lump in my hand was just another reminder of my useless existence.
"I think I'll go for a ride instead." Returning the vase to Ahir, I left the kitchen. My mother's protests about missing lunch followed me to the shed.
My family owned an eight-kiln glass factory, not horses. However, when I decided to stay for a while, my father cleaned out the shed, converting it into a temporary stable for Quartz. The small enclosure had room to hang my tack and saddle, and to give Quartz shelter from bad weather. Being a Sandseed horse, she preferred to graze in the Avibian Plains bordering our land.
No one would dare bother a Sandseed horse in the plains. I scanned the tall grasses. They swayed with the wind. The reds, yellows and oranges of the cooling season had faded into the gray and brown dullness of the cold season. I shivered, thinking of the miserable weather yet to come. Believe it or not, I had been anticipating this time of year. The fierce storms on the coast had abated. Kade planned to spend a few weeks with me, until the Commander of Ixia had invited him to demonstrate his Stormdancing powers, taming the killer blizzards blowing from the Northern Ice Sheet.
Kade had invited me along, except I hated the cold and would rather not be anywhere near the ice sheet. Plus what would I do there? I would have no job other than keeping Kade's bed warm. Well. That wouldn't be a chore at all. I smiled, but sobered. Despite my mother's intentions, my one reason for being home wasn't to help with Mara and Leif's wedding. I needed to make a decision.
Unease twisted. My bad decisions outweighed my good ones by two to one. I had a thirty-three percent chance of getting it right. Dismissing those useless thoughts, I stepped into the plains to search for Quartz.
After I traveled a hundred feet, magic pressed on my skin as if I pushed against a giant sponge. I waited for the pressure to dissipate as the protection determined I wasn't a threat. It was usually suicidal to walk into the plains without permission from the Sandseed Clan. Their defensive magic would confuse me, sending me into a panic, convinced I was lost. This time, my new immunity blocked the Sandseed's magic. I could sense it, but it registered my presence as a magical void. Nice perks, yet.
Without my glass magic, I felt as if a chunk of my soul had been sliced off. I had no regrets over my actions, sacrificing my powers had been the right choice. So if I wasn't moping, then why the ache? Why did I feel trapped in the shadow world?
All maudlin thoughts vanished when Quartz trotted into view. Considered a painted mare, her coat was a patchwork of white and auburn colors. The darker color covered her face, except for a white star between her soft brown eyes. Forgoing a saddle and bridle, I hopped onto her back and left my worries and Mother's wedding plans far behind.
Sitting in the living area later that evening, I addressed envelopes. My mother had appealed to my ego by complimenting my handwriting and had bribed my stomach by baking my favorite pieblack raspberry.
Warmth and light pulsed from the fireplace. I felt better after my ride with Quartz. Mother sat in her favorite chair, sewing Mara's veil. Ahir sprawled on the floor, snoring, and Father worked on bills. A true moment of family peace. And like all such moments, it was too good to stay true for long.
A knock on our door broke the silence. Mother glanced at me in confusion, then brightened. "It's the printer! He said he might be done with the invitations tonight, and I told him to bring them over right away."
Silk and lace filled her lap. Before she could untangle herself, I offered to answer the door. I suppressed a sigh. If the invitations were indeed here, I would have to stuff them into the envelopes, sealing them with wax. A tiresome chore.
I glanced through the peephole. Shadows covered the face of a man holding a bottle. Not the printer. He must be the local winemaker Mother commissioned to distill the special wedding wine. She spared no expense, and, for that, I was glad.
When I had sacrificed my magic, the power had transformed into diamonds. The Sitian Council had returned them all to me, and I had plenty of money to pay for all the wedding expensesmy gift to Mara and Leif.
I opened the door and froze in terror.
Valek, the Commander of Ixia's personal assassin, waited outside. Only one reason for Valek to be here.
"Hello, Opal. Sorry for the surprise visit. Is this a bad time?" he asked with a pleasant tone and quizzical smile.
It was always a bad time to die.
I gaped at Valek. He stood on our front step within killing distance.
"Opal." My mother's voice cut through my panic. "Don't stand there like a simpleton. Invite your guest in."
I stuttered a few words and backed up with numb legs. His smile widened as my mother approached. The need to warn her lodged under my ribs. My body's functions had disconnected, scattering my thoughts.
"You must be Opal's mother," Valek said. He shook her hand. "Your cooking skills are legendary, Mrs. Cowan. I wouldn't be surprised if the Commander invites you to cook for him in Ixia."
The wrinkles on her face disappeared as she blushed, erasing years of worry and stress. "Please, call me Vyn-cenza, Mr..?"
"Valek." His name erupted from my mouth. "What are you doing here?"
"Opal, don't be rude."
"Mother, this is Valek!" I gestured. "The Commander's"
"Security Chief," he said. "And this is one of our finest vintages of Ixian Ice Wine." He presented the bottle to my mother.
"Thank you. This is my husband, Jaymes."
My father shook his hand. Ahir woke and jumped to his feet. He grinned at Valek in awe as he pumped his arm. The whole surreal scene swirled in front of my eyes like snowflakes.
"But, Mother. Valek is"
"Practically family. Come in. Come in. You must be hungry. Jaymes, open that cognac your brother sent us. Ahir, fetch our good glasses." She escorted Valek to the couch and hustled off to the kitchen as Ahir and my father hurried to complete their tasks.
Valek caught me staring. He smiled. "Relax, Opal. I'm not here on official duty."
My heart resumed beating. "Then why are you here?"
"Since I'm practically family, I thought I should meet your parents."
A stretch of truth only my mother could believe. Valek was Yelena's heart mate, and Yelena was Leif's sister; ergo, once Leif married Mara, Leif's family, including Valek, would be part of ours.
"What's the real reason?" I asked.
"Later," he said as my mother burst into the room carrying a tray loaded with food.
My father poured drinks and everyone settled in for a cozy chat. I listened to the small talk in amazement. Valek's infamous reputation didn't seem to bother anyone but me. And I should know better. Why would the Commander order my assassination when it was well known my glass magic was gone? Unless he knew about my immunity? Only one other person in the world could make the same claim. And he sat next to me, sipping my uncle's cognac.
But Yelena had promised not to tell anyone about my protection. Besides Kade, Zitora and Leif, no one else knew. Not my parents or siblings or friends. Not Valek. I trusted Yelena. Then why was he here? No idea. I would have to wait.
An eternity later, my mother finally stopped offering Valek our guest room when he promised to return the next day to tour the factory. I escorted him outside and down the lane to the gate.
"Spill," I ordered.
Amusement flashed in his blue eyes as a smile quirked, softening the sharp features of his face. His pale skin almost glowed in the moonlight, an obvious contrast to the mostly darker-skinned Sitians, including me. Wearing a nondescript short gray cloak and black pants, he didn't quite blend in, but he didn't stand out, either. I gathered from his lack of disguise he wasn't working undercover.
Valek scanned the empty street before he answered. "Yelena sent me to help you."
"Help me with what?"
"No idea. All she said was you needed help. Are you on a mission for the Council?"
I laughed. "No. Unless you consider wedding planning an act of espionage."
"Hmm My napkin folding skills are renowned. I can make a swan in seconds."
"Don't tell my mother or you'll be folding napkins for days."
"Days?" Valek's left eyebrow rose.
"The guest list is up to five hundred names with more being added hourly."
"Sounds like quite the party. However it's not the reason Yelena sent me."
I suspected why, but wanted to make sure. "What were her exact words?"
"She said, 'Opal needs your help.'"
"You've traveled all this way without asking her for more details?"
"Of course." His tone implied I lacked intelligence for asking such a question.
So sweet. He had absolute faith in his heart mate.
When the silence lengthened, he asked, "Does this have anything to do with losing your magic?"
I suppressed my immediate annoyance over the word "losing." Why did everyone insist on using that word? Losing something implied a potential to find it again. Same with "lost." So sorry you lost your magic, Opal. As if all I needed to do was search for it. No. It was gone. Never to return. Unless I used blood magic and that I wouldn't do. Besides being illegal, it was far better to be without power than be addicted to it. Than to kill for it.
Valek's voice snapped me back to the problem at hand. Yelena sent him for a reason. She hadn't shared my secret with him, but she thought I should. "I need some time. Can we talk tomorrow?"
"Of course." He bade me a good-night and disappeared into the shadows.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Opal Cowen gave up magic when she siphoned off her blood to defeat the evil mage Ulrick (see Sea Glass). In Sitia, her mom is planning her other daughter's wedding which is driving her crazy and her boyfriend Kade is tied up with magical issues. Bored Opal wants to get back what she gave up by reversing what she previously did. However, the teen has a slight problem before she can begin the reversal procedural; someone stole the Sea Glass containing her blood. She ponders whether Ulrick might have some of her blood. Opal still can detect and deflect magic so obtains work keeping Councilor Moon safe from magical assaults. She also signs up for a spy training program that she hopes will enable her to find her blood. When she meets the head of security for the Commander of The Territory of Ixia, Vanek, he mentors her on power without magic. Now two males compete for her affection, but though she must choose between them, a desperate Opal stays focused on her quest. Using her future revealing spy glass and her beloved Quartz, Opal begins her quest to find her blood with the only acceptable outcome being having her magic restored. This is an exciting entry, but lacks the uniqueness of the glassmaking magic that Opal once possessed (though the previous tales). The quest is fascinating though at a much lower scale than the battle with Opal with the incarcerated in a maximum security prison Ulrick; as she is willing to risk death to regain what she sacrificed. With some romance as she has two males in her life competing for her affection, fans will appreciate this sort of coming of age fantasy as the heroine fails to adjust to being mundane. Harriet Klausner
Maria Snyder is one of my favorite authors and this book was no exception. I gobbled it up in two days. I love the stories of Yelena and Opal. If you haven't read one of Maria's stories before, you need to get the book "Poison Study" first. This is not one of those series that you can pick up in the middle. With that said I'll reiterate my title. I loved, loved, loved this book. However, when it can down to the ending I was a little disappointed in the direction that Maria decided to go, but that's just my opinion.
So i have to admit that although the first two books in the series were not my favorite this last book i really enjoyed. This book got my attention from the beginning unlike the other two. I would recommed this series because i think its a great change to magic stories. Loved the end id definetly read another Opal adventure.
A great story with the continuation of the series. I do sort of feel like I'm missing a little information, and certain of Opal's interactions felt rushed and not fleshed out very well. I definitely look forward to reading more stories from this world.
A wonderful world to escape into!
I'm sorry...I just can't get into this series...and I'm so disappointed, since I just loved the Poison Study series...I think it's the main character, who just annoys me to no end...where as i loved the main character in the Poison Study books (strong, focused, funny...and not whining all the time!)...wanted to like this series, but sorry, just can't.....
Probably the best book in the series, but the author was able to give the reader a good ending
In this installment of the Glass series Opal is dealing with the loss of her magic and having to come to terms with her new magic immunity. In the first few chapters we learn that there may still be some of Opal’s blood left from when she was drained in the culmination of book two, and it becomes Opal’s obsession to find it. This quest takes us mostly to places already visited throughout the trilogy, and while she does go through some new training and acquires some new skills I felt that this was perhaps one of the weaker plots in this series. It did not help that the foreshadowing in the prior books was, in my opinion, kind of forced into realization in this book. I did enjoy the twists with Opal’s personal life in this book, although I felt that the solidity of a partner she could enjoy equality with came rather late in the series. While this did give the relationship a depth, it also had me juggling several different secondary characters that I didn’t get to know as well, in the process, having me lose some of the intimacy in the story. The characterization in this book was good, and several new characters were introduced who I liked including Reema and Teegan, but it seemed that too many new elements were introduced without being resolved. Perhaps I was mistaken in looking at these books as a self-contained trilogy—and indeed I would be excited if Ms. Snyder wrote more in this world—but for the moment I find the experience left me wanting. It is hard for me to truly sum up my experience with this book. I had high hopes for this concluding book in the series and while in no way was it a bad book, it did not really live up to my—admittedly high—hopes for this trilogy’s finale. It is still a good book, but for me left so many loose ends that it seems obvious that Ms. Snyder is leaving room for more books in this series; and while I don’t truly have a problem with that I would have liked in not to come at the expense of this series having a more polished ending. Overall I would give this book three out of five stars ¿¿¿
I still think she sill should haved stade with kade he never hurt her like devlen did