by Sarah Chorn
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.
The much awaited sequel to Sarah Chorn’s emotionally devastating Of Honey and Wildfires is here! Get your tissues handy.
Sometimes it can be be hard for sequels to live up to their fiery origins, and Of Honey and Wildfires certainly ended with a bang. However, I feel like Glass Rhapsody is a true sequel in the sense of the word. After the events of Of Honey and Wildfires which left our two main protagonists of Cassandra and Arlen shaken and their lives completely upended, the sequel takes on a more pensive tone as they both struggle to deal with the aftermath. For Cassandra, she’s shouldering a world-ending amount of grief, and for Arlen, he’s coming to terms with his new identity and the consequences of his past actions. Both are nurturing open wounds and guilt, and as I would expect from Sarah Chorn’s prose, these emotions are explored with depth, care, and a poetic flair. A true fragile rhapsody.
In this sequel, we’re also joined by new POV characters including Elroy, an ex-company man who is entangled in Cassandra and Arlen’s life, for better or worse, and also being haunted quite literally by his own ghosts. And we also have Grace from the novella Oh, That Shotgun Sky, who offers a more outside perspective on the goings on across the territory as the Union thugs of the big city start moving in to claim land for themselves. This story builds on the wild west frontier feel of the first book as these characters begin to piece together their lives and decide the future of shine territory.
What I’ll whine about:
There are a few characters here making their appearance from the novella, including Grace who takes the stage as a POV character. You can learn some of their past in context through the story, but I think you’ll need to read Oh, That Shotgun Sky to really understand how these characters fit in the world. So if you haven’t read it already, I’d recommend you read that first!
What I’ll gush about:
This is a book full of confessions, guilt, forgiveness, and healing. The relationships take centre stage here and are the main focus of the story. I can’t think of many books which really dig deep into the heart of their characters like this series does. The author is an artist who paints in emotion, and these colours are carefully applied throughout, from the more muted and subtle darker tones of the characters dealing with their pain and trauma, to the more dramatic and explosive colours of these characters clashing and bleeding out their emotions. But there’s also some bright pastels dotted here and there, especially between Grace and her son, which show there’s plenty of good worth fighting for in a world which otherwise seems hopelessly bleak.
The end reveals that this world will carry on in a new way, which I’m excited to see. I’ve not read much wild west-inspired fantasy, but I’ve been truly drawn into this world and can’t wait to explore more of it.
Glass Rhapsody begins with a mournful dirge that takes the reader on a journey through a gamut of emotion but the ending will leave your soul healed and satisfied. A fitting end to this series.