Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Author: Steven Savile
Released: December 5th 2017
Glass Town is a standalone novel written by Steven Savile (you may recognize the name from the credits of Doctor Who, Torchwood, or Stargate). It’s about a young man who inherits a mystery from his father, who inherited it from his own father. The mystery? Eleanor Raines’ disappearance. The elder Raines’ (yes, you read the name correctly) never got over her going missing, and he passed the obsession down through the generations. Now it is Josh’s turn to try and figure out the puzzle left for him.
Glass Town is absolutely full to the brim of good ideas; the application is where I found it to be lacking. I love the concept of Glass Town, how it got to be there, the mystery that got handed down for generations, all of that is brilliant. Despite these wonderful moments though, Glass Town is a relatively slow paced read, sometimes going on for chapters before another revelation or break in the plot occurs.
I loved the characters introduced here, with few exceptions. The obsession the Raines men have for Eleanor Raines is fascinating. First we have Isaiah, whom stared it all. He was so obsessed with this woman, that when it became clear she was never coming back, he married her sister and took her name (how messed up is that?). He never stopped looking for Eleanor, and bid Boone to do the same. So upon Isaiah’s (early) death, Boone picked up the hunt, adding new pieces of information to the puzzle, which he then passed off to Josh upon his death. The cycle they have is really quite fascinating, and I imagine had Seth Lockwood (our antagonist, more on him later) not acted rashly, it likely would have continued on in this manner for countless more generations. At least in theory.
Seth is a pretty impulsive antagonist, all things considered. He doesn’t take the time to think things out, to see the ultimate repercussions to his actions. For example, had he left Josh alone there’s a chance that he may have let the whole mystery drop. But by going after him he forced Josh into action, thus putting everything he was hoping to gain at risk. Pretty silly, when you think about it. Still, he’s a classic mobster type, where he lets his emotions rule over everything. He makes for a pretty good foil, when you think about it (after all, can’t we argue that all of the Raines men were likewise fueled by their emotions? What else is obsession?).
There is one character that I feel was sorely underdeveloped, Eleanor Raines. I know, how ironic? To all the men in this novel she’s seen as nothing more than an object, so she’s simply represented as just that. If it weren’t for the fact that she was one of the only females in this novel, I might not have picked up on it so quickly. But she’s one of four (and that’s if you count a non-human succubus creature as a woman). It’s ironic, she’s the whole reason for this plot, but I feel like I barely know her (other than to know that she’s so beautiful men can’t stop thinking about her).
My final complaint is one I’m going to have to dance around, as I don’t want it to be too big of a spoiler. I feel like the promise for this novel was broken. From the start, everything in this novel had been about Eleanor Raines, Seth Lockwood, and Glass Town. Certain expectations/promises are made because of this, and I feel like they just were not met by the end. It was disappointing for me, to say the least.
I still can’t get over some of the core concepts for this novel; they’re so intriguing and different from what I’ve read and seen before. If the direction had gone slightly any other way, I think I would have enjoyed this novel a lot more than I did.