The Glass Casket, by McCormick Templeman

McCormick Templeman's novel The Glass Casket swipes most of its truly memorable images from various classic fairytales: twin rose bushes, a girl in a red cloak, the titular glass casket. The rest of the story feels equally cobbled together, resulting in an ambitious but flawed mash-up of horror, romance, and magic.

When five soldiers are mysteriously killed near the isolated mountain village of Nag's End, the village elders insist that they must have been attacked by a wolf. Lifelong friends Tom and Rowan doubt the official account, but Rowan is distracted by her dream of becoming a scholar, and Tom is distracted by his sudden infatuation with Rowan's recently-discovered cousin Fiona. But when the soldiers' deaths prove to be just the first of a series of grisly, inexplicable murders, Rowan and Tom realize that the deaths must be the work of something much stronger than a wolf or a man—something evil and impossibly powerful.

While The Glass Casket is a decided improvement over Templeman's first book, The Little Woods, it's still far from perfect. The author introduces way more plot elements than she bothers to tidy up, and I was constantly getting thrown out of my reading zone by her use of contemporary phrases (the book is FULL of Pre-industrial villagers trotting around saying stuff like “Okay!” and “Yeah, sure.”) Still, The Glass Casket is a creative, atmospheric story blessed with plenty of action, more secrets than you can shake a stick at, and some reasonably effective romantic angst. It seems likely to appeal to readers who want their retold fairytales darker than Gail Carson Levine or Shannon Hale's books, but more teen-friendly than, say, the straight-up creepiness of Robin McKinley's Deerskin.

Review based on a publisher-provided copy.
Posted by: Julianka


No comments yet. Be the first!

No new comments are allowed on this post.