Opal Cowen is working in the glass shop when a messenger comes to bring her back to the Keep. Opal is given a mission: She must help the Stormdance Clan make orbs for their magicians. The magicians then use the orbs to harvest storms. The clan’s attempts have been with bad glass, causing them to break. When an orb breaks, a Stormdancer is killed. Zitora, the second magician, will be traveling with Opal. During their trek, they are awoken by a sword blade at their necks. The masked man in charge doesn’t want the Stormdance clan to be helped. Zitora has Opal prick their attackers with Curare to keep them paralyzed until the guards could come pick them up. The Stormdance clan shows Opal where they create their orbs and their mixture of sand. When Opal sees one of the old orbs, she realizes magic is trapped inside. (She can both see it and hear it). Unlike when she blows glass at home, the new unused orbs do not sparkle. Opal thinks that one of the raw ingredients in the glass may be tainted. Opal, Zitora and Kade (the Stormdancer that’s left) and Varun (one of the glass blowers) decided to go to see Opal’s father. Later, Kade asks Opal what she had heard in the orb. She says Kaya. He assumes that Zitora has been listening to his thoughts. This of course causes tension between Opal and Kade. Zitora sends Opal to the market near their camp alone. While at the market, their attacker returns and demands Opal comes with him. Kade saves Opal from Blue Eyes and stays behind to find out who he really is. Opal and Zitora go on to Booruby promising to meet back with Kade. When they arrive, they give Jaymes, Opal’s father, the mixture of sand. He continues to examine it throughout the night. He finds brittle talc which lessens the density of the glass. The brittle talc looks and feels like lime. Opal visits a fellow glassmaker and finds he showed an interest in brittle talc. Zitora suspects he is a magician because his glass sings out loud. Opal and Zitora then continue back to the Stormdance lands. But only after Zitora sends Opal’s friend to the Keep. They arrive just in time to test the orbs before Kade must go out to capture storms. Opal learns that she can go into the glass orbs. After she comes out, Zitora asks Opal what happened but she just wants to drop it. On the way back to the Keep, after successfully completing their mission, Opal is under arrest for robbery. The police found a vase that Opal “stole” in her saddlebag. Zitora comes to save Opal but she quickly finds out that it is not really Zitora. When they arrive in the Kyrstal lands, Tal (the man who sabotaged the lime) was there with some of the other original captors. They want the Stormdance recipe for glass. Opal escapes and finds a couple who takes her to the local magician. He contacts Zitora who says come back to Thunder Valley. They finally arrive safely back to the Keep. This gets you up the first 200 pages.
Even though this is the first book in the glass series, I would recommend reading the study series about Yelena first. It would clarify things and the magicians at the Keep are introduced more. Opal isn’t in the first two study books but they are great too.
I loved this book. I hope Maria Snyder continues to write about these characters. These are such quick reads. Definitely one of my new favorite writers. If you love fantasy and romance books then you must read this book. I wonder who the next series will revolve around?
***Book two (Sea Glass) is already released and book three comes out Fall 2010***
Study Series is order