As readers have probably guessed, I read a LOT of YA and middle grade books, particularly in the speculative fiction areas. It’s not often I come across a book as unusual and fresh in its concept as The Glass Sentence by S E Grove. Grove is a historian as well as an author so it’s not surprising that she’s written a historical fiction work, but it’s historical fiction with a quantum sci-fi twist. Heroine Sophia lives in a version of Boston in 1891 that exists after a major global disruption where time has been fractured and different areas of the globe exist in different time periods. Sophia comes from a line of explorers and “cartologers” who both travel and map the realms outside of Boston. They learn about different cultures and time periods and confront various religious sects who have differing ideas about if, and indeed whether, the world can and should be put right. Was the time disruption the earth’s destiny or was it an aberration that should be fixed?
Sophia soon finds herself embroiled in a quest to find a missing object – a legendary mythical map that has the power to explain the past and perhaps will unlock the secrets to the future. She’s pitted in a race against various adversaries and works alongside potential love interest, Theo, who comes from another time and place and tells a lot of lies so she doesn’t know if she can really trust him.
Her uncle, the famed cartologer Shadrack, has been kidnapped by a religious sect and it’s up to Sophia to try and save him and find the map before she’s out of time. Its exciting and engaging and a truly original YA tale. Younger readers shouldn’t be put off by the length of the book. Once you’re under it’s spell, it’s a fast and easy read. I couldn’t put it down.
I hope this isn’t the last book in this world, or the last we’ve seen from S E Grove.