Review Blog

Mar 04 2011

The glass demon by Helen Grant

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Penguin, 2010. ISBN 9780141325767.
(Age 14+) Recommended. Mystery/thriller. The vanishing of Katharina by Helen Grant is one of my favourite mystery reads so I was thrilled to get a copy of The glass demon. I was not disappointed in this dark portrayal of evil and fear. Seventeen-year old Lin and her family are in Germany where her father is on a campaign to find the Allerheiligen stained glass. On their way to the castle where they are to live, Lin finds a dead man in an orchard and steps in broken glass that was near the body. More broken glass and bodies appear and Lin's baby brother is almost impaled by a spear while sleeping in his cot. Terrified for the lives of her family, Lin doesn't know where to turn for help. Together with Michel, a young boy from a neighbouring farm, she sets out to find the murderer.
Grant builds up the suspense in The glass demon and it continues right until the terrifying climax. The chilling plot revolves around a legend that the Allerheiligen glass is cursed by a demon. I found the descriptions of Lin's fear that there may be a supernatural cause to the deaths quite eerie, and at times was convinced that a real demon was responsible for the murders.
In addition to an exciting plot, well-rounded characters make the story even more engrossing. I loved Lin's growth from a rather selfish teen to a deeply thoughtful and caring adult. Her crush on a beautiful young priest and gradual realisation of Michel's worth add a dash of romance to the story. The descriptions of her family life with a selfish father, ineffective young stepmother and ill older sister made me feel as if I knew all the people in the story very well.
This is an exceptionally well written, exciting and engrossing mystery that will appeal to both teens and adults. I can't wait for Grant's next novel.
Pat Pledger

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