The Girl of Hawthorn and Glass
by Adan Jerreat-Poole
- Genre: Fantasy
- Publisher: Dundurn
- Length: 328 pages
- Available: October 6, 2020
About the Author: Adan Jerreat-Poole is a reader and writer who loves all things fantasy and feminist. They study disability and queerness in popular culture. Adan lives in Kingston, Ontario.
Summary: Eli was made to kill, an assassin created by the witch coven of the City of Eyes for one purpose and one purpose only—to rid the human world of ghosts. With her arsenal of deadly daggers, she is near unstoppable, that is until a hunt goes wrong, and everything she thought she knew about herself and where she came from is questioned. No longer able to go home, she is forced into an uneasy alliance with two humans, Eli and Cam, and a clan of witch defectors. In order to prove herself, Eli and her unlikely companions must travel back to the City of Eyes to face her witch-mother and recover the Heart of the Coven, a task that will put every ounce of her skills to the test.
There is little doubt that The Girl of Hawthorn and Glass is an ambitious novel, and that Adan Jerreat-Poole has managed to put together, from a grab-bag of YA fantasy tropes, something that flirts with originality. But, while the innovation is worthy of praise, this approach has backfired more often than not, leaving behind a busy, hodge-podge of a novel that is more convoluted than it is complex, and often too much of a chore to even follow. On a grander scale, stretched over many more books, much of this universe could have really taken shape, but so much information is revealed at such an accelerated rate that much of it gets lost, leaving behind a world crumbled under the weight of too many trivial elements. The writing is there, poetic and sharp, but that alone cannot give direction to a novel that seems to have lost its way in the early pages.
While the world and its rules might have been lost in the shuffle, there is still some success to be found, most notably in Eli, the girl of hawthorn and glass herself, and her two unlikely companions—Cam, the lovably bumbling comic relief, and Tav, the mysterious, non-binary James Dean whose motorcycle-cool manages to shine despite it all. Not only is it refreshing to see queer characters of color on the shelf, but they really come alive with their dialogue and interactions, even despite a very busy backdrop. The effort at character development is hard to miss in this story, and there is no doubt that there is room for these three to shine as the series progresses—which it is already scheduled to do—but, for all the good these characters have to offer, it is still difficult to carry all the weight on their shoulders without stumbling.
With The Girl of Hawthorn and Glass, Adan Jerreat-Poole might have bitten off much more than they can chew, creating a tangled universe that forces too many elements far too quickly for the reader to ever really get a chance to settle in for the ride. But, while this introduction to the series has fallen somewhat short, the cast of characters has managed to shine, providing hope that the next book will embrace their potential and give them the story they really deserve.