The Glass Demon – Helen Grant
Published: June 2010, Penguin UK
Acquired: Sent to me by Penguin
The first death: Seventeen year old Lin Fox finds a body in an orchard. As she steps away in horror, she steps on broken glass.
The second death: Then blood appears on her doorstep – blood, and broken glass.
The third death: Something terrible is found in the cemetery. Shards of broken glass lie by a grave.
Who will be next? As the attacks become more sinister, Lin doesn’t know who to trust. She’s getting closer to the truth behind these chilling discoveries, but with each move the danger deepens. Because someone wants Lin gone – and won’t give up until he’s got rid of her and her family. Forever.
My summary: When Lin Fox found out she’d be spending a year of her life in Germany while her father searched for the legendary Allerheiligen glass (a revered stained glass window worth millions if found but cursed by a demon, as the rumours go) she had low expectations to put it mildly. However, when Lin arrives in Germany she quickly begins to realise that things are far from boring in the small village which is to be her home for the next year.
As the bodies begin to pile up and the mysterious broken glass makes more and more sinister appearances, Lin slowly begins to realise that the rumours and hearsay of the glass demon who haunts the Allerheiligen glass may have more truth in than she first thought.
As her family fall apart around her and things become more and more dangerous for Lin, will she find solace in the enigmatic farm boy, Michel, or is he just another puppet in the glass demon’s quest to destroy her?
What I liked: The main thing that made this book stick out for me was the original plot. I haven’t come across a story like this before and I was excited to read something so different to my normal choice of book. Luckily, the plot didn’t let me down and I think the story is the strongest part of this novel.
Books about demons fill the bookshops these days and you can’t move for paranormal love stories but there’s something about The Glass Demon that makes it stand out against its competitors. The mythology may have something to do with this, as this is one intelligent book. References to artists, architects and medieval craft are threaded throughout this story and I did end the book feeling like I’d learned a little something, which is never a bad thing.
Although I didn’t feel the characterisation was particularly strong in this book, one character who stood out a mile from the others was Lin’s ghastly stepmother, Tuesday. Part fashionista and part pantomime villain, I absolutely adored Tuesday from the outset and she just gets better and better (or worse and worse as the case may be). She’s one of those characters you love to hate and, to be honest; the glass demon has nothing on her.
What I didn’t like: As I mentioned before the characters are something which I think let this great story down. Lin is a likeable girl and I could relate to her feeling of isolation in a foreign country but aside from that there wasn’t really much to her. I didn’t particularly care about the trauma she was going through and I didn’t care much for her relationship with Michel, who wasn’t a very strong male lead at all. I think there was potential for these two to be great but, sadly, the author didn’t quite deliver the personalities I was hoping she would.
Another slight grumble I had was that there is a certain about of German in this novel which isn’t translated for the readers, which is fine if you speak German but if not (like me), you’re left either typing sentence after sentence into freetranslation.com or making up your own translation based on a rough guess at what the words mean – never a wise idea.
Final thoughts: The Glass Demon is a unique story of murder and obsession and is worth a read, solely for the great plot.
Read if you liked: The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant.