#SPFBO Review : A Sea of Broken Glass (The Lady & The Darkness #1) by Sonya M. Black

ASeaofA Sea of Broken Glass is the second finalist I’ve picked up as part of the SPFBO competition.  Ultimately, this was a fast paced read with some very good ideas but it didn’t quite work as well as I’d hoped, particularly after an intriguing start.

As the book opens the main pov character, Ris, has been sentenced to death for witchcraft, a sentence that none of the townspeople believe but their dissenting voices are quickly squashed in a very no-nonsense fashion.  Fortunately Ris escapes with the help of friends and finds herself not only on the run from the Inquisitors but also on a quest to find an object that can save the world.  Basically, this isn’t a witch hunt as such, Ris may be the town healer but her true secret is that she is the ‘vessel’ of the Lady of Light and she needs to find a certain object that both the ‘light’ and the ‘dark’ are seeking.  This is a struggle between good and evil and it is made interesting by the fact that some of the players have themselves been tainted meaning Ris, and indeed the reader, is never really certain who she can trust.

So, world building.  This is the area that I struggled with.  To be fair, the author does provide some background information as the story develops and I imagine that more information will be forthcoming in future instalments, but, I must say that I found myself very perplexed by the world, the people, the history and the whys and wherefores of why Ris found herself in the predicament she was in at the start of the story.  At one point I actually went to check if this was perhaps a book that was set in a world established in a previous series but I don’t think that is the case (I could be wrong though).  I simply found myself struggling to envision either the people or the place.

There are four povs although Ris is the main character.  There are two paladins who for want of a better description act as Guardians.  These characters have lived for hundreds of years and over the centuries have protected other vessels of the Lady of Light.  They have unique magical abilities such as shapeshifting and they have raised Ris, protecting her in their roles of Shield and Cloak.  The other pov is Michel who takes on the role of ‘sword’ and is given the role of taking Ris out of danger and delivering her to a specific meet up point, but the best laid plans, etc,.

The story is very fast paced and I had no trouble making progress but there’s a superficial feel somehow – I can’t really put my finger on it to be honest, I think I simply didn’t connect with, or particularly like, any of the characters and this is a real stumbling block for me and on top of this it started to feel a little repetitious with the main characters having constant fights with barrages of ghouls and other creatures, barely escaping with their lives, progressing a little further and then facing another attack.

Okay, criticisms aside, I think it’s highly likely that other readers will enjoy the constant action and the swiftness at which the story unfolds and I seriously don’t mean to be overly negative because in spite of my issues I did find this a very easy book to read.  I had no issues at all with the pacing but it just didn’t quite work it’s magic on me. Which reminds me – I must also mention the magic system. It’s not explained in depth but it is interesting and involves both music and elements such as air, water, fire and earth.

Overall, I found this a light but easy read. I would have liked to feel more grounded and to form attachments to the characters but the writing was good and there were some interesting concepts, it just needed a little more development for me.

My thanks to the author for a copy for review.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 6 out of 10