Book Review: Glass Rhapsody by Sarah Chorn

Book Synopsis

Five years ago, the Boundary fell. Now the Union is coming to claim Shine Territory as its own.

But not everyone wants to live under their heel.

In a hidden town run by women with rough pasts, life remains untouched until greed paves the way for conflict. Faced with few choices, Grace Hart must stop the Union to protect the women under her care.

Elroy McGlover has spent the past five years running from what he’d done in Matthew Esco’s name. Haunted by ghosts from his past, he returns to where it all went wrong. Enlisted to help Arlen Hobson fight against Union control, Elroy soon finds himself in the middle of a war for the heart of Shine Territory.

In the fight for the soul of the West, no one is innocent.

Glass Rhapsody is the second book in the Songs of Sefate series by Sarah Chorn (I have previously reviewed the first book, Of Honey and Wildfires) and it very much continues in the same pattern. It is a tale of pain and grief and I warn you: you will need the tissues on hand throughout.

This focus on our character’s grief post Of Honey and Wildfires is clear from the first page. The consequences of the previous book have been deeply impactful for our characters on a deeply personal level, as well as on a more societal level. This leads to a great deal of internal conflict for our main POV characters, Arlen especially, as they are not only dealing with what has happened to them but society’s expectations for them in this new world. Overall, exploring how people deal with their personal trauma is, for me, the main theme of this book and is something Sarah Chorn does exceptionally well. As someone who has suffered bereavement of a brother, I can tell you that the way she writes survivors guilt sure felt a little close to home at times!

Now, I mentioned Arlen in my previous paragraph ad he is one of two returning POV characters. The other being Cassandra. These two provide a really strong juxtaposition on how people deal with loss. On the face of it, Arlen is dealing with his grief far better. Cassandra spends much of her time locked away in her room or at gravesides and openly grieving for Ianthe and her father, whereas Arlen never truly lets himself grieve – he has thrown himself into his work with gusto so that he never has time to properly process what has happened to him. And it is his internal monologue and thoughts that truly highlight the damage this is doing to him.

The other POV characters are Grace Hart and Elroy McGlover, a returning character from Of Honey and Wildfires but a new POV. Often, I find myself wanting repeating POVs in a series as it gives a sense of continuity, but I have to say that Grace was my favourite in this book. I believe she featured in an earlier novella by Sarah Chorn, and I will definitely be looking that up as she is a great character. An excellent example of a strong female character – she isn’t an ass-kicker, she is strong in her own way and does what is necessary to look after her son and her friends.  

One of the standout things about Of Honey and Wildfires was its prose, and the same is true here It is almost poetic and very cutting at times. Sarah Chorn definitely leans towards the more purple prose side of things, with heavy and beautiful descriptions of things. And she does it really well, but it doesn’t make this a fast-paced novel. I don’t say this as a negative – it is wonderful to get lost in the writing and feeling immersed in the world and the character’s thoughts – but it won’t be for everyone, certainly not those who need things to be constantly moving. I think it is safe to describe both this book and Of Honey and Wildfires as slow-burners.

Overall, I 100% recommend Glass Rhapsody. If you’re looking for a book to get lost in and feel strong connections to your characters, then it will be perfect for you. As I said at the start, though, you’ll need the tissues as Sarah Chorn repeatedly hits you right in the feels.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Glass Rhapsody by Sarah Chorn

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Oh, That Shotgun Sky by Sarah Chorn – Book Reviews | Jack's Bedtime Reading

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