Saturday, January 28, 2023

Today's read... Children of the Black Glass by Anthony Peckman

Today's read slides back into an ancient world, somewhere between the Stone Age and Iron Age, but swishes in magic and adventure. It's advertised as being a Howl's Moving Castle mixed with Neil Gaiman, which caught my attention since I'm a huge fan of both. But I also see this as a very dangerous comparison because you're talking about a masterpiece and a master, at the same time. Lofty expectations. 

Let's see how this read stacks up against those two.

by Anthony Peckham
Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Tween Fantasy
368 pages
ages 10 to 14

MARCH 7th!!! 

In an unkind alternate past, somewhere between the Stone Age and a Metal Age, Tell and his sister Wren live in a small mountain village that makes its living off black glass mines and runs on brutal laws. When their father is blinded in a mining accident, the law dictates he has thirty days to regain his sight and be capable of working at the same level as before or be put to death.

Faced with this dire future, Tell and Wren make the forbidden treacherous journey to the legendary city of Halfway, halfway down the mountain, to trade their father’s haul of the valuable black glass for the medicine to cure him. The city, ruled by five powerful female sorcerers, at first dazzles the siblings. But beneath Halfway’s glittery surface seethes ambition, violence, prejudice, blackmail, and impending chaos.

Without knowing it, Tell and Wren have walked straight into a sorcerers’ coup. Over the next twelve days they must scramble first to save themselves, then their new friends, as allegiances shift and prejudices crack open to show who has true power.



With quite a bit of tension and plenty of secrets mixed with adventure, this is a fast-paced read with very high-stakes.

Ever since their mother's death, Tell and Wren have been doing their best to help keep their family and the village supplied with enough food to survive, while their father mines for valued black glass. When an accident leaves him blind with no chance of recovery without expensive, Tell and Wren are forced to venture down from the mountain to sell the glass themselves. Little do they know that they are about to land in the middle of a dangerous, magical rebellion run by sorcerers.

This is definitely a quick-paced, high-tension read. The world is raw and brutal, making it just right for the upper end of the middle grade audience and lower young adults. Tell and Wren have a wonderful sibling relationship and work very well together, and will need to, considering what they are up against. There are darker tones throughout but also inspiring moments of friendship and hope. The writing flows very well, and there is never a boring moment. It sticks to the high fantasy end and builds a rich world with promise of tons to come. For readers who enjoy rich fantasy and aren't faint-at-heart, it's a grabbing read.

And here he is...

Anthony (Tony) Peckham is a South African–born screenwriter, surfer, and farmer who now lives on an island in the Pacific. Decades ago, while exploring a remote, high-altitude landscape with his children, he came upon a mountain made of black glass which inspired his debut novel. His other work includes Clint Eastwood’s Invictus and Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes. He is a Writers Guild of America Award winner and an NAACP Image Award nominee. Children of the Black Glass is his novel-writing debut.

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