okay, so maybe the book isn’t half-bad. it’s actually quite a fast read, which is a good thing: because it engages the reader, and you can’t put the book down. but i’m not quite happy with how it all sorts itself out.
now, my biggest problem is this:
“THE VISITOR WAS ALREADY THERE. It was enormous. There was a fitful moon that was rushing through smokelike clouds and Aidan could see the visitor against the sky, towering over the woodshed, stooping and strange. It reached out a piece of itself….”
i’ve put off buying this book because of the blurb, which you can find at the back of the book. and you know what? aside from the name aidan, nothing from that blurb appears in the book. not even mentioned in passing. that scene does not take place at all.
which is a good thing, i guess.
ENCHANTED GLASS has an interesting mix of characters. you get the accidental-hero in andrew hope, who comes into everything through an inheritance left by his magician grandfather; there’s the subject of everyone’s attention in aidan cain, the young boy who travels across england for sanctuary from strange creatures chasing after him; and then there’s the mysterious mr. brown who seems to be trying to take over the land that was left to andrew hope.
the three are joined by a series of supporting characters who, for the most part, are not very integral to the story. we have stashe, the token love interest, who seems to have been saddled with the job of moving the plot along; we have tarquin as the wizened not-quite-old man who is tasked to be the encyclopedia of all things magical; there’s mr. and mrs. stock who aren’t married nor are related and are just there; and, well, quite a lot more.
i’m actually sad that i didn’t like the book. it has so much potential, but i felt everything was quite rushed and never fleshed out. the plot is interesting enough, and each character does have enough in them that you’d want to find out more, but nothing gets explored much–which is weird considering the fact that the book has quite a few chapters wherein andrew and aidan are doing nothing but walking and exploring.
and, i think, that’s ultimately my problem with this book. it’s all about exploring, and looking for something that used to be there, and things that are supposed to be there, but nothing ever gets found. and during the times that things are found, or remembered, there is no actual pay-off because you never actually saw the journey of finding it–or remembering it.
i loved HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE, CASTLE IN THE AIR and HOUSE OF MANY DOORS. these three books make up the castle series, and they make up the bar to which i hold my expectations for any other diane wynne jones books. but with ENCHANTED GLASS, i’m not very confident i will like any of her other books.
but we’ll see.