The Glass Master is dying. Worse yet, he doesn’t seem terribly bothered by it. As a craft master, Minel knows the dangers of the lung evil. It’s stripped him of his ability to work with glass and, in his remaining days, he wants only to create designs that perhaps another, future master, might fully realize. There’s a way to arrest the disease, but being pair bound to someone of the Council’s choosing is no life at all. And for Minel, there has only ever been Falcon, the warrior he has known and loved since he was a child. Death is preferable to being bound to a man that is not Falcon.
The Warrior Guild and Craft Guilds rarely mix, but when Falcon discovers that Minel is ill, he travels to the city, risking the wrath of the Council who sees him as a threat to their plans for Minel. As Falcon cares for Minel, they discover the city itself is suffering. With time running out and an enemy working against them at every turn, Falcon and Minel must find a way to forge steel and glass to save themselves and their city.
Healing Glass was one of those books that took me by surprise in an absolutely wonderful way. It’s elegant and beautifully written and from page one it drew me in and kept me fully engaged. The world building is excellent, if complex, and it’s substantial enough that it made me stop and really think through what I was imagining. It’s not always an easy book to read because the imagery created isn’t commonplace. The author does an excellent job giving us a frame of reference, but it takes effort on the part of the reader to build their own relatable concept of the world. But there’s joy in the effort and I found myself re-reading passages just to take my time savoring them.
Minel and Falcon are beautiful characters and while their relationship feels a bit out of sync at first, once they finally bond, everything slips into place. Their history is perhaps the only part of the story that isn’t fully developed and I wished it had been. But we get the impression that prior to Minel’s illness, they were only able to see one another a handful of days a year. So it makes their initial romance feel somewhat lacking compared to its evolution. It certainly doesn’t stay like this for long and eventually Minel and Falcon are perfectly in harmony.
Healing Glass was wonderful from start to finish. It’s a book that challenges its readers and makes them step outside what they know as a matter of course. This is the first in a series, so I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment. I heartily recommend this one.