Halan, the heir to the Magi Kingdom, is different. Unlike every royal before her, she has no magical powers. Her parents fear that without magical powers, she will be unable to protect herself against a dangerous rebellion that is festering. Halan, on the other hand, is certain that she has nothing to fear and that her father will be able to reunite the Magi Kingdom in peace.
Nalah, a glassblower’s daughter, is an outcast among her peers. In New Hadar, she must hide her magical powers because magic is outlawed. Despite her efforts, her power is growing, and she is fighting the battle to control it. When an old family friend appears, Nalah begins to wonder if using magic is the only way to improve her and her father’s lives.
Two girls’ lives come crashing together when Nalah steps through a magical mirror that takes her to the Magi Kingdom. Each girl must overcome their fears and learn to trust each other before both of their worlds are shattered.
Full of magic and suspense, Sisters of Glass is a new series that is best suited for more advanced readers. At the beginning of the book, the plot is complicated and confusing. The chapters begin with a history of each girl’s world and alternate between each girl’s point of view. Changing between points of view may be difficult for younger or struggling readers. The story also has graphic violence and the king kills several people in an effort to gain their magical powers. The death scenes may be disturbing, especially when Nalah watches her father die and then is stuck in the dungeon with his dead body.
Unlike most stories, Sisters of Glass, does not have a romantic interest. The platonic relationship between Nalah and her friend Marcus is refreshing and endearing. Readers will be able to connect to Nalah as she struggles with being obedient to her father. Nalah’s strong personality and her loyalty make her a character that readers can look up to. Unlike Nalah, Halan comes off as a bratty princess who thinks that she knows best. Even when her actions endanger others, her remorse is almost nonexistent. The contrast between the two girls is interesting, but Nalah is the character that readers will come to love.
There are several messages in the story. One message is treating everyone—no matter his or her station—with respect. This message ties in with the message of bringing peace to a kingdom. Only with justice, understanding, and cooperation can peace ever be realized.
- When Nalah meets a boy, her friend says, “He likes you,” and then makes a kissy noise.
- Each world contains a person who is a tawam. Nalah is Halan’s tawam; however, they have different fathers. They discuss which of the two has a biological father that they don’t know about. Nalah wonders, “Could it be true? Could Zachary Tam have been my real father?”
- Halan sees her mother kiss a man who is not her father. “ . . . He was leaning into her mother, his lips pressed to hers.” Later she discovers that this man is her biological father.
- A metalworker makes a magic circlet. To demonstrate its power, the metalworker puts the circlet on a servant, which causes “the servant to cry out in unbearable pain and crumple to the floor, clutching at the metal around his head.”
- Nalah’s father is attacked. “Mr. Bardak doubled over and Tam turned and brought his fist up in a swing that caught Nalah’s father across the temple, making him stagger. His knees bent and he fell to the floor.”
- A man uses a mirror to travel to another world and kill another man. “He silently unclasped the sheath, raised the blade above his head, and brought it down into the back of the old Tam’s neck. . . The rumpled man didn’t make a sound. He spasmed once and fell forward off the chair onto the wooden floor, the papers by his feet scattering like a flock of started doves.”
- Halan is kidnapped. When she is kidnapped, a cloak is thrown over her head. Later, she is tied up. She tricks a boy into untying her binds, and then “she brought her arm around in a wild swing, and her balled fist struck him hard on the side of the head. He reeled, and she reached up and grabbed his shirt, pulling him down to the floor so his head hit the stone with a horrifying thunk. He lay still.”
- Nalah goes to the dungeon. “There were sounds coming from the murk. Crying sounds, wails of pain and distress, the low chatter of angry voices, the odd rattle of chains or clang of metal against metal.”
- A guard throws Marcus to the ground and draws his sword. Nalah grabs the sword, and “suddenly the sword bent under her hand like it was made of clay.” Nalah’s glass bird swoops down and attacks the soldier; Marcus and Nalah get away.
- In order to return to the palace, Halan must get away from her captors, so she “scooped up a chunk of sandstone, and clunked him on the back of the head . . . Marcus slumped to the ground with a groan.”
- The king goes to Nalah’s world and kills several people’s tawams so that the tawams in his world will gain more power. Their deaths are not described.
- The king kills Nalah’s father. “The king struck like a snake. . . A metal ball, about the size of a plum, flew from inside his flowing sleeve and struck Nalah’s father in the forehead. It stuck there, and immediately crackled with tiny fingers of white lightning, sending them climbing all across his body. Amir Bardak’s eyes grew wide with surprise, and his arms and legs spasmed uncontrollably . . . Nalah’s father went limp and fell forward, lifeless in the dirty straw.”
- The king attempts to hang Nalah. An old man throws an orb at the executioner, “sending out a plume of blue smoke that curled around his foot like the tentacle of a sea monster, dragging him off stage and engulfing him in a pulsating cocoon of smoke.”
- There is a battle between the common people and the king’s soldiers. The action takes place over a chapter but is not described in detail. When a guard attacks Nalah with a sword, a glass bird, “raked them [his talons] across the guard’s face,” saving her. The king grabs his daughter and threatens to kill her, but Nalah saves her.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Halan goes to a bazaar where two men walk by “drunkenly.” At the end of the night, very few people are still outside, but there are a “few, argumentative drunks.”
- Thaumas have magical powers that allow them to make things with one element—glass, metal, tapestry, wood, etc.
- Several of the characters use a mirror to travel to another world. When Nalah goes through the mirror, “it felt like she didn’t have hands—or any physical body at all. She felt herself hanging, suspended in an in-between place, wonderstruck and trembling with fear.”
- Nalah has several magical powers. She can make metal bend. When she touches a tapestry, she has a vision of the events depicted in the tapestry. “. . . The tapestry in front of her was coming to life, as if every individual thread had a mind of its own.”
- Nalah’s captors put a Veil of Strangers on her. The veil changes her appearance. When she tries to remove the veil, “it squeezed tight around her temples, her head filling with throbbing pain.”
- “Some people exist in both worlds, like twins—except they call them ‘tawams.’ . . . there’s a mirror version of me living here.”