What I’m Reading: The Glass Arrow

The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons was the very first book chosen by the Bloggers’ Book Club and my 100th book of 2015 (I’m recording everything this year, even picture books and short stories).

As I began writing this review, I quickly realized that if I started nitpicking I would end up demoting this book to ⭐ ⭐ and disliking it, like I did with The Time Traveler’s Wife. I’d also end up writing a very spoiler-y review. 😛 So, I’m going to stick with my biggest issue with this book: Simmons breaks one of the biggest rules of writing. She tells rather than shows.

Generally, world building works in one of two ways. The first is full immersion – the reader enters an existing world, one that is extremely familiar to the protagonist, and has to fumble around figuring everything out as s(he) reads. The second occurs when the main character gets thrown into an unfamiliar setting and the reader learns about the world along with the MC.

This book does neither of these. The MC, Aya / Aiyana / Clover, is torn from her family in the mountains and sent to the city (not a spoiler – it’s on the dust jacket) where she spends months before the reader catches up with her. Half of the world building consists of “Daphne told me such-and-such when I got here”, “I remember this-and-that from the trip here”, and “I met so-and-so back then”. I found this clumsy and frustrating.

On the plus side, I thoroughly enjoyed discovering the significance of the title, and felt that the conclusion was strong. For these reasons, I gave The Glass Arrow ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

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