If you're a fan of fantasy novels, drop everything and go find this book. I picked up S.E. Grove's The Glass Sentence on a whim in my local bookstore over the holiday weekend and it's turned out to be one of my favorite reads this year. Our main character, Sophia, lives in a world that's very different from the one that we know today. Almost a century before Sophia's present day, the Great Disruption shattered time and cast different parts of the world into different ages. The United States was torn apart by two ages: the western half of the country becoming The Badlands, while the eastern half was cast into the 19th century and renamed New Occident.
Sophia was born and has lived in Boston her whole life, and when the story opens, it's the year 1891. Sophia, whose parents went missing while out of a rescue mission in another age, has been raised by her beloved uncle, Shadrack Elli, who just happens to be the world's most renowned cartographer. Mapmaking is perhaps the single most important academic pursuit in Sophia's world, as maps help people to navigate the many different ages while traveling. Maps come in all different forms, and just as Sophia is being introducing to cartography, Shadrack is kidnapped. Sophia soon finds herself relying on a band of very unlikely friends as she pursues her uncle and the truth behind the world's greatest secret.
While reading, I fell quickly into Sophia's world and, in particular, loved every one of the characters. They were fantastically imagined, with such distinguished features that it was easy to see them in my mind, and with just enough mystery left to them that I want to know more about their histories. I also have to commend Grove on the world building in this book. It was the best (in a children's/young adult series) that I've encountered since Harry Potter (yes, that good!) and it was astonishing to me how many little details were so naturally introduced to the reader. The Great Disruption is really one of the more creative ideas that I've seen in the fantasy genre and it so uniquely brings together elements of fantasy, mythology, time travel, and adventure. I loved reading this story so much that I immediately went online and wasted no time pre-ordering the second in the trilogy, which came out this week and which I am so looking forward to reading this weekend! The book is YA, but in the same way that Harry Potter appeals to all ages, I think that readers both younger and older than the target YA audience will enjoy this trilogy.
Bottom-Line Rating: 5/5