"I can tell you nothing about my mother's death. Not because I didn't see it, but because I did. I sometimes say, when people ask, that she died of the sickness. But that is a lie and I don't want to lie to you. What I will tell you is that just before she died she told me to be brave and in my childish way I decided that she meant I shouldn't cry. I didn't. Not then, nor in all the years that have passed since her death. Not once have I cried. I no longer know how."
"I am Anya and I am nothing."
Girl in the Glass is a story about two girls, Anya and her Shadow Eva. In this world, Shadows are people who aren't human, but look mostly like us. As far as I can interpret, they look human, but give of an air that makes it obvious they aren't. They are a little reminiscent of the demons from Philip Pullman's Northern Lights series. However, not everyone in this world has a Shadow and a lot of prejudice follows them around. The main similarity is that Shadows are like a conscience, always doing the right thing and ever practical, but with no emotions to cloud their judgements. This makes for very interesting reading, watching the differences between how the two girls react and change depending on the situations they're presented. Eva is always steadfast, but Anya (in a very human way) is corrupted and can sometimes even be unlikable and cruel.
Set in the desert town of Darkan, the story starts with a 12 year old Anya and spans a few years. It's broken into three parts and in each one of these the two girls have a new identity. In the first part, Anya is dealing with the deaths of her parents from the plague and now lives with a very abusive family, with her aunt at the head. We follow her through her journey of not only growing up, but also watching her try to find her freedom and happiness.
One of the main praises I have is the writing style, specifically the descriptive writing. The scenes are laid out so well, the imagery is fantastic and the emotions weaved in are amazing. This is one of the few books I have read where I could feel the tension throughout. Whether it be from fear of a person, fear of discovery or even something as simple, but terrifying as poverty. As well as this tension, there is also a constant feel of defiance throughout, against the people who hurt her, against harsh environments and against life itself. The unwillingness to give up or give in that makes Anya such a great character to follow.
Overall, I really enjoyed this read. It is the first in a trilogy and the second (Love of Shadows) came out this month. You can bet I will be following the progress of this series to its conclusion.
Disclaimer: I was sent this book by the author through a giveaway. This is not a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% my own.