The place is Boston, in what is now called New Occident. The year is 1891.
The world has changed. Nearly a hundred years ago, an event known only as the Great Disruption cracked the world apart into many known and unknown Ages, from the distant past to the far-flung future. Old maps can no longer depict the world as it is, so new ones are made with different and mysterious materials, using what can only be seen as magic. Cartographers and explorers provide contact between places once connected in other ways, but now eschewed by the void of time.
Sophia Tims’s parents, two skilled explorers, disappeared on a voyage many years ago, so she’s been raised by her uncle Shadrack Elli, one of Boston’s most famous cartographers. She’s always wanted to eventually follow them, but never known if she can; Sophia, to her chagrin, has no internal clock, and easily loses track of minutes or hours, believing only seconds to have passed. Despite these things, her life is peaceful—until Shadrack is kidnapped, and Sophia leaves home with only a mysterious glass map to guide her.
She finds unexpected allies: Theo, a boy from a foreign age; a pair of flamboyant pirates; a botanist with little common sense. But as she is perused from age to age, she discovers the true motives of her enemies—and the secrets of the map she carries, secrets which may be much more dangerous than they seem…
Full of adventure and tension, The Glass Sentence was one of those books which I picked up with no expectations and couldn’t put down. What immediately struck me about this book was the worldbuilding, which I think would appeal to fans of The Golden Compass and Ink, Iron and Glass. Our world, fractured by the Great Disruption, made this an even more interesting read, intriguing me as I learned more and more about this alternate universe. But the layers of The Glass Sentence goes far beyond its setting. The plot was brilliant and unusual, and there was more than one point where it completely surprised me. And the characters—from Sophia and Theo to the brilliantly fascinating villain—were also spectacular. Overall, I highly recommend The Glass Sentence to fantasy fans ages eleven and up.