Tomes of Other Realms

Welcome to the lands of swords and sorcery, where people live and die by the sword and only the bravest of souls stand between the common folk and the forces of darkness. Join me as I wander different planes and hear the stories of their greatest defenders and the sagas of their worthiest warriors.

W A R N I N G !

This review does not represent the opinions of the general public. It reflects my personal thoughts and opinions on the book.

That said, on to the review!

Title: The Glass Prison
Author: Monte Cook
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Format: Paperback
Copyright Date: 1999

Vheod, a half-demon born and raised in the Abyss, has found a portal into the world of his human ancestors. Continually taken aback by the beauty and peace that fills this new world, he finds himself drawn in a specific direction. Whether by instinct or magic or something more, he is headed directly towards the burial place of a wizard named Chare'en. Also headed in that direction are a brother and sister team of adventurers seeking to end a curse on their family. Circumstances bring them together, but their purposes are different. Who is Chare'en, really? Was he a wizard from ages past as Melann and Whitlock believe? Or is he an imprisoned demon, who incidentally happens to be Vheod's great-grandfather? Chased by gnolls, hounded by the Ravenwitch, and torn by confusion, will Vheod succeed in stopping his companions from releasing his ancestor, or will Chare'en renew his drive for conquest?

The Glass Prison may have been written several years ago, but I only just read it, and as a result, the claim the publisher offers on the back, "a new kind of hero," is a novelty to me. I have occasionally seen honorable criminals featured as the heroic protagonists of novels, but never before a demon--all right, half-demon--who, by all accounts, is supposed to be evil. In this sort of novels, demons are always evil: if they do anything "good," it's for their own black motives.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about this novel is the comparison Vheod makes between the world he left behind--the Abyss--and the world he has come to. It's amusing in a way to see how he jumps at things which look so much like things he left behind, like blood-thirsty thorn plants. It's also disheartening, when you transfer those same experiences to things in the real world. I don't know if the author intended it, but Vheod is in many ways like an abused child who has little experience with kindness and gentleness. Then he's transported into another world filled with those things, which his experiences have taught him to suspect and be wary of, much like an abused child might be distrustful of any displays of kindness or love. Okay, maybe I'm reading way too deep into this, but that's the way it struck me.

The Glass Prison starts off somewhat slowly, and it may take a while to "get into it," as it were. Once you do, though, I think you'll find it hard to stop, because that's how much the action picks up. You'll just have to read it yourself and see how it affects you. So what are you waiting for?

Rating: Thumbs up! Is a half-human/half-demon a demon or a human?

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This page posted April 1, 2003.

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