Adventures in Glass Town
Oh, hello! This post contains spoilers about one of my newest all-time favorites, The Glass Town Game by Catherynne M. Valente. I bought this book a month ago and was immediately surprised to see that the quantity of the pages the book possesses. It is supposedly Tween/Teen, but it seemed more Teen than Tween because the metaphors and references plus the description were really intense and children will not, under any circumstances, understand it. Unless you’re a child that loves to read 500+ page books that contains imaginary worlds and wars, then this book is for you.
“Charlotte and Emily must enter a fantasy world that they invented in order to rescue their siblings in this adventurous and fiercely intelligent novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.
Inside a small Yorkshire parsonage, Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne Brontë have invented a game called Glass Town, where their toy soldiers fight Napoleon, and no one dies. This make-believe land helps the four escape from a harsh reality: Charlotte and Emily are being sent away to a dangerous boarding school, a school they might not return from. But on this Beastliest Day, the day Anne and Branwell walk their sisters to the train station, something incredible happens: the train whisks them all away to a real Glass Town, and the children trade the moors for a wonderland all their own.
This is their Glass Town, exactly like they envisioned it…almost. They certainly never gave Napoleon a fire-breathing porcelain rooster instead of a horse. And their soldiers can die; wars are fought over the potion that raises the dead, a potion Anne would very much like to bring back to England. But when Anne and Branwell are kidnapped, Charlotte and Emily must find a way to save their siblings. Can two English girls stand against Napoleon’s armies, especially now that he has a new weapon from the real world? And if he escapes Glass Town, will England ever be safe again?
Together the Brontë siblings must battle with a world of their own creation if they are to make it back to England alive in this magical celebration of authorship, creativity, and classic literature from award-winning author Catherynne M. Valente.” – Goodreads.
I love how Valente creates magical worlds and draws people in, and for being a first-time reader of her work, this book was absolutely fantastic.
This novel tells the story of four siblings, Charlotte, Emily, Anne, and Branwell Brontë, the authors, poets, and painter whom are well-known in the British literature.
But instead of being in their early teen years, we see them as their child forms. They recently lost their two older sisters, Maria and Lizzie, to a horrible illness.
The only escape they had was playing a game where they created a whimsical place, called Glass Town. There’s a war going on—with Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington.
But that war already ended back on England and in the normal world.
The Brontë siblings used their wild imagination to create a wonderful world full of magical people—Duchesses and Ladies with rather unimaginable names. For example, take Lady Zenobia Elrington of Verdopolis, betrothed to one of the wooden soldiers the siblings received for Christmas.
They imagined things that nobody would ever create, imagine, or believe in. The youngest sister, Anne, created a story—where she and her little doll made of rags who was part of the English Royal Family, were best friends.
However, Anne didn’t share her story with any of her siblings. She wanted her little Princess Victoria story just for herself—because she didn’t want Branwell to kill Victoria or spoil her game by doing stupid things.
One day, the Brontë siblings get the bad news that Charlotte and Emily have to go to a boarding school—the same school their own sisters died a while ago.
Charlotte and Emily are highly terrified of that school. Why couldn’t they be homeschooled like Branwell? Did they do something wrong to cause such a dreadful thing?
On their way to the train station, where the two girls had to take the train and go to that school, the train station transforms into somewhere unbelievable.
There’s suddenly a magical train that whisks them away to their own creation, Glass Town, that contains an entire army full of wooden soldiers. Their wooden soldiers—the ones they received for Christmas.
There was a battle where they found out Napoleon had strange arms and fire-breathing porcelain rooster.
And then, something fantastic happens.
One of their wooden soldiers died dramatically, but then came back to life by a potion called Grog.
All the fallen wooden soldiers (plus Branwell) come back to life, much to the girls’ relief.
Then, the story develops more and more—the four siblings are separated by a Magazine Man called Brunty, Charlotte and Emily have to go to a ball, Emily has a crush on a young Lord Byron, and Charlotte dances with the young version of the Duke of Wellington.
Now, since I don’t want to spoil the entire book, I’m going to move towards my opinion of it…
This book, as I mentioned before, is totally magnificent. Younger readers will absolutely not understand that the Brontë siblings were the creators of the greatest works of art the classic English literature holds.
On the ball scene, we can clearly see that Valente uses Currer and Ellis Bell (Charlotte and Emily) as their fake names while passing as aristocracy. Those are the small references she tries to imply into the book, and older readers can feel highly delighted because of that.
The only flaw I found inside this book, was Branwell Brontë’s portrayal. I found him selfish and annoying—as he always wanted to be the older sibling and be more “manly”.
I mean, at the end of the book, he betrayed his sisters while they were going to rescue him and Anne, who were currently imprisoned on a cell.
He bloody betrayed them.
Sheesh, I wanted to throw the book across the floor, and ruin it, but I, like many other bookworms, do not want our sacred copies to be ruined by anger and hatred towards only one character.
But other than Branwell, I, like many other readers, felt delighted towards Charlotte, Anne, and Emily. They were one of the most beautifully written characters I have read in my entire life as a bookworm.
Therefore, my friends, I feel like I’m going to give this book 9.5 stars.
It would be 10 stars, but I just didn’t like Branwell that much.
Actually, I felt annoyed when I had to read the chapters he was in, when Brunty kidnapped Anne and himself.
This book is magnificently well-written and came to me as a delightful read. It was surprising, because this was my first time reading Catherynne M. Valente books, and I felt like I was falling in love with each and every one of the characters (even Brunty—not Branwell, though).
Congratulations The Glass Town Game; you passed the Pink Smoothie-Confirmed Book Process. This means you are Pink Smoothie-Approved! You won a Pink Smoothie Sticker.
Pink Smoothie is a young author with great imagination. Through her works, she'll entertain her readers like a refreshing drink. It is very gratifying and exciting for Pink Smoothie to be a MindPlay young author. She feels very honored for helping improve reading skills. Be part of an unusual and unexpected journey through her posts!