The Glass Town Game
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.

The Glass Town Game Details

TitleThe Glass Town Game
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 5th, 2017
PublisherSimon & Schuster
Rating
GenreFantasy, Childrens, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Fiction, Historical, Historical Fiction

The Glass Town Game Review

  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    Because this is a Valente book, the writing is stunning. And, because this is a Valente book, The Glass Town Game is very... odd. I'm rounding up to three stars for this combination of one of today's best fantasy authors and the juvenilia of some of my favourite authors of all time, but I struggle to know who to recommend it to.The Glass Town Game goes back to the childhood of the four Bronte children - Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne - and explores their inner world in a strange tale that b Because this is a Valente book, the writing is stunning. And, because this is a Valente book, The Glass Town Game is very... odd. I'm rounding up to three stars for this combination of one of today's best fantasy authors and the juvenilia of some of my favourite authors of all time, but I struggle to know who to recommend it to.The Glass Town Game goes back to the childhood of the four Bronte children - Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne - and explores their inner world in a strange tale that blurs fantasy and reality. When Charlotte and Emily must go back to their dreaded boarding school, their father instructs Branwell to guide them there, and take young Anne with him. However, their journey is disturbed by a bizarre turn of events - their childhood toys and stories have come to life.I found myself torn between a stunning literary display of vivid imagery, metaphor, whimsy and nods to the Bronte writings and a story that was way too juvenile for my tastes. Who is this book for? Many adults and older teens will surely be put off by the quirky story that consists of toy soldiers coming to life and taking the children on an adventure. I must confess that I found exploring the fictional worlds created by the young Brontes to be a bit boring. If you are an adult/YA looking for a children's story with a touch of whimsy and that classic feeling, I'd recommend Rooftoppers instead.What’s strange, though, is that while the plot itself is very juvenile, the writing and literary references feel far suited to an older audience. Will many middle-grade readers appreciate the metaphor and literary nods? I'm doubtful. Though beautifully-written, I struggle to imagine the kind of reader who will fully enjoy this book. It seems too young for adults and older teens; too mature for the target middle-grade audience.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
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  • Catherine
    January 1, 1970
    Valente could write the backs of ketchup bottles and I'd read them.
  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    January 1, 1970
    3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2017/09/04/...As a relative newcomer to Catherynne M. Valente, having only read my first book by her earlier this year, I’ve grown increasingly curious about her other work especially her Middle Grade/Children’s projects. And so when the opportunity to read The Glass Town Game came to me, it sounded like it could be the perfect place to start.Inspired by the fantastical stories and worlds created by the Brontë siblings as children, this 3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2017/09/04/...As a relative newcomer to Catherynne M. Valente, having only read my first book by her earlier this year, I’ve grown increasingly curious about her other work especially her Middle Grade/Children’s projects. And so when the opportunity to read The Glass Town Game came to me, it sounded like it could be the perfect place to start.Inspired by the fantastical stories and worlds created by the Brontë siblings as children, this novel follows Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne as they are spirited away to a land populated by the creatures and denizens of their own imagination. The book opens with the two oldest girls preparing to leave for Cowan Bridge School, a situation none of the youngsters are happy about, considering how their two older sisters had just recently died from a fever contracted from that very same place. As the only brother, Branwell is instructed to accompany them to the carriage station, while also bringing along Anne. In town, however, the children are distracted by the sights and sounds, and instead of continuing on to Cowan Bridge, they find themselves unexpectedly carried off on a magical train bound for another realm.To the children’s surprise and excitement, the place they find themselves is Glass Town, a perfect replica of the world they have created in their imaginations during play sessions, complete with all their dolls and wooden toy soldiers come to life. Unfortunately though, as they soon find out, the rules they’ve come up with during their fun and games have also become binding, and innocent joy quickly turns to worry as the siblings begin to wonder if they’ll ever find their way home.At the beginning of this review, I posited that The Glass Town Game might be a good jumping on point for readers curious about Valente’s Middle Grade books. However, after finishing this novel, I’ve started to rethink that initial assessment. The truth is, I’m having a hard time figuring out its audience. The publisher’s recommendation is for children between Grades 4-7, which ostensibly makes sense, considering the ages of the main characters as well as the silly and somewhat juvenile nature of their adventures. Kids who delight in wild, whimsical descriptions and situations (like Napoleon Bonaparte riding to war on a giant chicken, for example) will no doubt eat this one right up.However, linguistically and stylistically, I feel that the writing in this book is actually geared towards readers much older than the ages recommended. The story’s pacing suggests this to me as well, with large swaths of the book that could have been cut down or scrapped completely, for they added no real substance to the plot. While adult and young adult readers might gain some appreciation for all this exposition by finding value in the character or relationship development, I have to wonder if the majority of Middle Grade readers will have the same amount of patience for these slower sections, not to mention how the double meanings behind many of the “punny” jokes might go over their heads.Honestly, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with this book. Characters and storytelling are topnotch. The writing is as gorgeous and technically sound as it can be. At the end of the day, I think I liked The Glass Town Game. Still, as I went back and forth between thinking like an adult and thinking like a middle schooler while reading this, I just couldn’t figure out who would benefit the most. Other questions that went through my head were, would this book hold the average nine-year-old’s attention for 500+ pages? Or, would an adult fantasy reader be able to look past all the silliness? Because of this, the novel strikes me as a bit confused as to what it wants to accomplish, and that was what hurt it the most, ultimately affecting my overall enjoyment and rating.But for fans of Catherynne M. Valente, I doubt they’d want to miss this. The mixed feelings I have for The Glass Town Game notwithstanding, I can’t fault the beautiful prose, the fanciful imagery, or the author’s magnificent talent for bringing the Brontë children and their world to life. This book is getting filed under “Interesting Experiences” for now, but I’ll definitely continue keeping my eye out for Valente’s future work.
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  • Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of those wonderful children's books that adults can enjoy even more than children because of the backstory. The four Bronte children invent a game called Glass Town in which their toy soldiers fight against Napoleon. Unexpectedly, the children find themselves in a real Glass Town, which is much like their own creation, though some things are oddly different. Then two of the children are taken captive by Napoleon's men, and the other two much find their siblings before it is too late. This is one of those wonderful children's books that adults can enjoy even more than children because of the backstory. The four Bronte children invent a game called Glass Town in which their toy soldiers fight against Napoleon. Unexpectedly, the children find themselves in a real Glass Town, which is much like their own creation, though some things are oddly different. Then two of the children are taken captive by Napoleon's men, and the other two much find their siblings before it is too late.What a fun ride. It is witty and clever and surprising and delightful. The children and the other historical figures in the tale are just as I've always imagined them, and the plot is filled with little surprises.
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  • Lenna • Sugar Dusted Pages
    January 1, 1970
    So I accidentally fell head-over-heels in love with this book.Recently I read The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Valente, and I thought it was pretty much perfect, (as you can see in this casually self-promoted review, if you would like.) Well. This one was even better, which is saying a lot.5 Things About The Glass Town Game1. The writing is gorgeous. I'm convinced it is actually made out of magic and I would like to go live in it, thank you. I love Valente's So I accidentally fell head-over-heels in love with this book.Recently I read The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Valente, and I thought it was pretty much perfect, (as you can see in this casually self-promoted review, if you would like.) Well. This one was even better, which is saying a lot.5 Things About The Glass Town Game1. The writing is gorgeous. I'm convinced it is actually made out of magic and I would like to go live in it, thank you. I love Valente's writing so, so much. If I could live in it I would. I like it because it's magical and descriptive without being so verbose and dense it's aggravating. (Dramatic, I know, but I get annoyed by aggravatingly verbose writing.) Here are some of my favorite snippets:* Hatred felt like the terrible burning lye soap they used for laundry splashing up onto her heart instead of onto her hands. Well, I would have said books, too, you know, but books are just obvious. That's like saying you like air! Charlotte's lies spooled out like perfect, silken thread, and whatever they touched stuck together fast. I should like to love someone who makes me feel the way I feel when the thunder storms on the moors. You couldn't ever really fix a sad story. You could only make another. And another. And another, until you found the right one at last, the one that ends in joy.Okay, I'm going to stop now before I quote the whole book or start crying again. But seriously. The whole book is a work of art and PLEASE you need to dive in and get lost in the writing too. *All quotes are from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication blah blah etc.2. This book is, admittedly, a tiny bit strange. Okay, um, maybe more than a tiny bit. This book is strange and odd, but I actually think that is one the best things about it. I'll admit I was a little lost for the first couple hundred pages BUT that was because a) I was suffering a major reading slump and b) I was really overwhelmed with school and wasn't letting myself take time to enjoy reading. But! I finally broke out of my reading slump two days ago, and I read 300 pages of this book in one sitting and loved every single word, so I don't think this book was too weird that it wasn't enjoyable. I liked the weirdness and the whimsy. This book isn't odd in a weird way; it's odd in a happy, carefree, whimsical way.  It made me feel happy. But do know that this story is, well, different; there are talking suitcases and wooden soldiers and a Napoleon who rides a rooster. A lot of whether you like this book will depend on just how much whimsy you can handle.3. This book is loaded with metaphors and little Easter eggs that were SO FUN to find. Like all the metaphors about the Napoleonic battles and England. And the way the author discusses death. Another fun thing was seeing famous figures from throughout literary history pop up. The way the Valente portrayed Jane Austen was hiLARIOUS and I am still laughing. We also see Lord Byron who is this brooding eleven-year old poet who quotes himself and falls in love with Emily Bronte. It was all so much fun. At one point there is this cute little exchange: No, Ellis - Emily! I would love you! I would be your husband!" "I'm ten!"  "So?" shouted Lord Byron desperately. "I'm eleven! Emily, my darling, don't be so dramatic. You would be a Baroness, and dance every night, and never want for a single thing!"4. The characters were phenomenally developed.  I'm not an expert on the Bronte kids, but I've read (most of) Jane Eyre and I loved Wuthering Heights, so I know a little bit about Charlotte, Emily, Branwell, and Anne. I think the author did a perfect job of showing us a way they might have been when they were all little. Charlotte's character felt like a person who could grow up to write Jane Eyre, for example. Plus it was SO COOL to see how their magical adventures in Glass Town would affect their books - and lives - later on.5. This book feels really old, even though obviously it is not. The writing style and story style reminds me of the classic Victorian fairytales, like Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan and The Secret Garden. It's not like it's dense or hard to read like classics sometimes are; it's like it's timeless and like it's been here forever. There's just something magical about feeling like you're reading something that was written 100 years ago.One more quick thing: This is a middle grade book, but I think adults would like it just as much (or maybe more) as the target audience. I know I like it much more now than i would have at age 10-12. That's not to say kids won't like it, I just think this story has the potential to resonate deeply with anyone, even though on the surface it may just look like a kid's book.
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    The Bronte siblings go to Fairyland! THE GLASS TOWN GAME is rich in imaginative detail and brimming with Valente's wit and verve. She blends fantasy and historical fiction with ease, creating a thoroughly readable adventure for young and old.
  • Jenna (Falling Letters)
    January 1, 1970
    New middle grade by Valente? Okay, if you insist on twisting my arm so much, I'll read it. :P
  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC from Edelweiss Above the TreelineI was hoping that this would be a book that would make the Brontes appealing to a younger generation, but the language and general characterizations didn't quite work for me. I'm not seeing my readers putting up with Branwell or getting into the imaginary game. That said, fantasy is a really hard sell in my library, and I have few students who like Little Women, much less the work on the Brontes. If you have students who have watched PBS' To Walk Invisible E ARC from Edelweiss Above the TreelineI was hoping that this would be a book that would make the Brontes appealing to a younger generation, but the language and general characterizations didn't quite work for me. I'm not seeing my readers putting up with Branwell or getting into the imaginary game. That said, fantasy is a really hard sell in my library, and I have few students who like Little Women, much less the work on the Brontes. If you have students who have watched PBS' To Walk Invisible or have worn out your copies of Jane Eyre, definitely look into this one.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    I MUST HAVE IT
  • Marzie
    January 1, 1970
    I was fortunate to receive an Advance Review Copy of this book. And I mean way fortunate because my requests on both Net Galley and Edelweiss Plus are still "pending" (i.e. in limbo) for the past two months. Luck was mine with a paper ARC! Also to note: This book was reviewed without the accompanying artwork.So if you know me, you know I have loved Cat Valente's works ever since I first opened The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden in 2007. To be honest, I would read her cereal box blurbs if sh I was fortunate to receive an Advance Review Copy of this book. And I mean way fortunate because my requests on both Net Galley and Edelweiss Plus are still "pending" (i.e. in limbo) for the past two months. Luck was mine with a paper ARC! Also to note: This book was reviewed without the accompanying artwork.So if you know me, you know I have loved Cat Valente's works ever since I first opened The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden in 2007. To be honest, I would read her cereal box blurbs if she wrote them and I would listen to her soothing voice read the telephone book (yellow pages, please). Whether her lyrical Orphan's Tales, the whimsy of her Fairyland books or the clever Russian folklore meets Soviet Russia mashup Deathless, I've loved just about everything she's put her keyboard to, including her Twitter feed. With that said, this is a very odd book to me. It's marked as Middle Grade Fiction, ages 10 and up. I can't really see it as a book for a 10 year old, however, as its structure and language seem far too sophisticated for a ten or eleven year old child. It might not be picked up by young adults, either, because let's face it, toy soldiers are not popular with many teens these days. As I say below, I settled on its being a book for families.The Glass Town Game features a fictionalized story about the four real-life Brontë siblings, Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell. As Judith Shulevitz said last year in The Atlantic , the amount of related work, whether biographical or fictional, related to the Brontës is something of a cult. This book might well be a get 'em early story, to hook children's interest on this famous literary family. It is like a story (their creation, a world of make-believe) within a story (Valente's creation), and is quite clever and beautifully written. I can't wait to hear it read aloud. It begs to be read aloud. There are aspects of a truly classic children's story here, a kind of portal fantasy with the depth and complexity that you don't often see. What I'm not sure of, however, is whether it works as a piece of juvenilia for its target audience. I think a lot of the book is largely going to be lost on children, but I'm not sure adults, especially Brontë-loving adults, will pick the book up for themselves and enjoy it as the very sophisticated children's book that it is intended to be, either. My conclusion is that this is the sort of book that you read aloud to and with your children, and intersperse with little details like Charlotte wrote Jane Eyre and Villette, Emily wrote Wuthering Heights , Anne The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Branwell was an artist, and here, have a look at their house in Haworth, look at this picture of Charlotte, etc. The beastly Cowan Bridge School (which sadly lived on well into the 21st Century as Casterton School, rather than falling to the fate the children envision or create) can be pointed out as informing Jane Eyre's miserable experience at Lowood School, and the death of her beloved friend Helen was clearly an expression of the deaths of Charlotte's sisters Maria and Lizzie. And so on... Hopefully enough of it will lodge in the brains of a middle schooler that they will feel a familiarity when reading the Brontë sisters' works later on. Goal accomplished!In conclusion, this book and its plot structure and language are everything I love about Cat Valente's writing. I'm not sure it's a read-alone children's book, though, even for Middle Grade children. So I hope enough grownup readers will share it with their children to help it gain the appreciation it deserves. It's truly the perfect family reading night book.
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  • Shoshana
    January 1, 1970
    Valente's writing is a thing of sheer beauty. I noticed a lot of other reviews expressing concern about the ages this book is marketed toward, and their comprehension of the material. One thing I love about this book IS its flexibility to its readership. Will 10 year-olds understand all the puns and literary references woven into the text? No, probably not. But his/her parents will, if they're reading with them, or an adult can if s/he decides to pick it up (which they should, because it's magni Valente's writing is a thing of sheer beauty. I noticed a lot of other reviews expressing concern about the ages this book is marketed toward, and their comprehension of the material. One thing I love about this book IS its flexibility to its readership. Will 10 year-olds understand all the puns and literary references woven into the text? No, probably not. But his/her parents will, if they're reading with them, or an adult can if s/he decides to pick it up (which they should, because it's magnificent). The 10 year-old, instead, will enjoy the adventure, the characters of the siblings and the soldiers, and the plot of two warring kingdoms and a magical substance. And yes, it will take an advanced/sophisticated young reader to appreciate the language, as the writing does have a certain density to it, but that is another thing that makes Valente's children's books so great. A precocious young reader, who maybe whips through chapter books daily, will be slowed by "The Glass Town Game," and get a real taste of the variety of writing voices that exists. I know I frequently sell the Fairyland series to advanced young readers because the text is clean of "content" (graphic violence, sex, drugs, and other very dark subjects) but will still present a challenge. Personally speaking, my only qualm with this book was how vilified Branwell was - he had an air of Edmund, from the Narnia series. I've done a lot of reading on the Brontes, and feel that Branwell is frequently over-simplified into a negative character, when he was really more complex. That said, I think Valente did a great job illustrating how his selfishness warred with his feelings of goodness in a way that will be very relatable for children.
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  • Clare
    January 1, 1970
    My favorite living author writing a story about my favorite historical authors. There are no words for how in I was from the word go.And yet upon completing The Glass Town Game, I'm of two minds about it. I completely loved it. I have yet to read a Valente novel I didn't find beautiful and strange and compelling. And I've read the collected works of the Bronte sisters, watched documentaries, read biographies, wrote an undergraduate thesis. I love these women, and it gave me so much gratification My favorite living author writing a story about my favorite historical authors. There are no words for how in I was from the word go.And yet upon completing The Glass Town Game, I'm of two minds about it. I completely loved it. I have yet to read a Valente novel I didn't find beautiful and strange and compelling. And I've read the collected works of the Bronte sisters, watched documentaries, read biographies, wrote an undergraduate thesis. I love these women, and it gave me so much gratification to see all the references to history and their stories.But. I'm not sure how much this book would work for people who don't fangirl/fanboy the Brontes. It's still beautiful and strange, and a compelling narrative of four children coming to terms with the loss of their mother and sisters, and with death in general as a fact of life. But there's a lot of moments where I can't help but think a reader not in the know will get the idea that they're missing something and find it irritating.That didn't stop me from purchasing a second copy to slip into my classroom library, though. Have some confusion, kids.
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    Electronic ARC provided by NetGalley. "The Glass Town Game" is a new children's fantasy from Catherynne Valente, author of the gorgeous Fairyland series. The book follows the young Bronte siblings--Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne as a routine trip back to school detours into something far more exciting. Suddenly, the worlds that the children have imagined in their games are real, and what results is an adventure reminiscent of Narnia, Oz, and Valente's own Fairyland. This is an odd book. As Electronic ARC provided by NetGalley. "The Glass Town Game" is a new children's fantasy from Catherynne Valente, author of the gorgeous Fairyland series. The book follows the young Bronte siblings--Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne as a routine trip back to school detours into something far more exciting. Suddenly, the worlds that the children have imagined in their games are real, and what results is an adventure reminiscent of Narnia, Oz, and Valente's own Fairyland. This is an odd book. As other reviewers have said, there is a sometimes strange mix of maturity and childishness. The writing is beautiful and magical and everything we've come to expect from Valente. The story skews far younger, with the young protagonists dealing with situations such as toy soldiers come to life. There are a lot of literary references that might go over younger children's heads, but are fun to read as an adult. I don't know much about the Bronte's as children, and so it was also fun to see Valente's conception of what their personalities might have been. There are some wonderful family moments scattered throughout the book as well. Readers who enjoyed Valente's other books, especially her Fairyland series, should give "The Glass Town Game" a try. I think that it would be an especially good book for reading aloud to children, since the language is beautiful but perhaps slightly complicated for younger readers.
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  • Angie
    January 1, 1970
    Confession time...I have never read an entire Bronte book. Nope, not a single one. I know what they are, but I am just not really a fan of that era of fiction. Maybe I should give it a try again sometime. So I went into this book not really familiar with the Brontes or their stories. And I found it fascinating!The Glass Town Game is not so different from Valente's other books. It is beautifully written with such lyrical prose that you just want to soak it up and read it aloud. This book has the Confession time...I have never read an entire Bronte book. Nope, not a single one. I know what they are, but I am just not really a fan of that era of fiction. Maybe I should give it a try again sometime. So I went into this book not really familiar with the Brontes or their stories. And I found it fascinating!The Glass Town Game is not so different from Valente's other books. It is beautifully written with such lyrical prose that you just want to soak it up and read it aloud. This book has the added bonus of all these made up/mixed up/mashed together words the toy soldiers create. It is a fabulous book, but one that will have to find the right reader who will appreciate it. Charlotte and Emily Bronte are headed back to school. The dreaded school that killed their two older sisters. They are escorted by their brother Bramwell and youngest sister Anne. At the train station the see an amazing man made of books and follow him on to the Glass Town Express. This train takes them into their wildest imaginings. In fact, it is their play stories come to life. Glass Town is their invention as are the twelve wooden soldiers and the battles between Napoleon and Wellington. Except they aren't exactly their stories, the stories have been twisted and become literal interpretations. They must navigate this world and their creations and find a way home. So not knowing a whole lot about the Brontes I didn't realize they had actually created Glass Town in their youth. Valente is a genius who took the stories of the Bronte's real lives, the stories they created in their youth, and the stories they published as adults and made them into one amazing tale of adventure and intrigue and war. I will admit to reading up on the Bronte family and their writings while reading this book. I will also admit that I am tempted to read Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre to see how The Glass Town Game borrowed bits of those stories. Not sure I will, but I am tempted. I loved this book as I love all of Catherynne Valente's books; however, I can see where not all readers will be as enamored as I was. It is clearly meant for middle grade readers, but those same readers will definitely not be familiar with the work of the Bronte family. Older readers more familiar with the Brontes will probably not want to read a book about toys coming to life. This is a book certain readers will treasure and others will discard, but those who find its magic are in for a treat.
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  • ☘Tara Sheehan☘
    January 1, 1970
    I found myself transported back to the way literature used to be written, to the world of Bronte, Alcott, and Austen. The words are more vivid prose than simple narration and for that reason I’m not sure which audience is going to get the most out of this without getting lost or bored. You shouldn’t feel that way but in a world of constant tweets, Instagram and ADD I’m afraid some parts of literature have become a lost art.Valente does weave a sense of whimsy and fun into the journey these kids I found myself transported back to the way literature used to be written, to the world of Bronte, Alcott, and Austen. The words are more vivid prose than simple narration and for that reason I’m not sure which audience is going to get the most out of this without getting lost or bored. You shouldn’t feel that way but in a world of constant tweets, Instagram and ADD I’m afraid some parts of literature have become a lost art.Valente does weave a sense of whimsy and fun into the journey these kids take that causes metaphors and imagery to pop off into the page and dance across your mind like an old fashioned children’s movie. It is that youthful fancy that although the writing level may appeal more to adults, the plot points may miss their mark. It was a truly confounding story because although I enjoyed it quite well I am of that rare breed brought up by 2 parents who read voraciously and insisted that I educate myself to the likes of Shakespeare and Dickens instead of Seventeen magazine. I read all of Louisa May Alcott while my peers studied Tiger Beat. Since far too many fall into Cliffs Notes and movies as their go to for literary works I don’t know that the audience this is probably intended for will actually appreciate the amount of depth and work Valente put into this lyrical novel.I truly hope people will give this a chance because her characters are vivacious, the plot tempered with surprises that will bring a smile to your face and the ease in which she blends fantasy with history will make your brain feel as if it’s getting treated to a deliciously warm bath of clever wit – something too often missing in literature for the young audience today.
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  • Adam Maloney
    January 1, 1970
    Full disclosure: Catherynne M. Valente is my favorite author, and I own almost every book and short story collection that she has released. Reading one of her books is like eating the most delicious, moist chocolate cake in the world. Each word drips with lyrical succulence. Each sentence is dense, rich, and toothsome in its construction. The Glass Town Game, her newest novel, is another such wonderful delicacy.This is the tale of the young and talented Bronte siblings (yes, those Brontes) and t Full disclosure: Catherynne M. Valente is my favorite author, and I own almost every book and short story collection that she has released. Reading one of her books is like eating the most delicious, moist chocolate cake in the world. Each word drips with lyrical succulence. Each sentence is dense, rich, and toothsome in its construction. The Glass Town Game, her newest novel, is another such wonderful delicacy.This is the tale of the young and talented Bronte siblings (yes, those Brontes) and their journey from gray, 19th century England to the place not found on most maps or globes. Though it is technically a middle grade book (i.e. written for children ages 8 to 12), do not let that stop you from cracking the cover. Inside you will find a wonderland that would make even Lewis Carol envious. Each chapter is a sumptuous component of the book's complete meal. As with her Fairyland series, Valente may have targeted this book at a younger audience, but she never talks down to her reader. The language is engaging and challenging. The adventures are whimsical and dangerous. The characters are beautiful and flawed. Valente recognizes that children are intelligent, that children feel deeply, and that children are strong enough to handle life in all its tumultuous majesty. Whether you're looking for something for your young one to devour (replete with fire breathing chickens, wooden solders come to life, and the most accommodating luggage ever), or whether you are just looking for something beautiful and different for yourself to enjoy, you can not go wrong with The Glass Town Game. Crack the cover and take a bite; I promise you'll be pleased by what you discover.
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  • Alison C
    January 1, 1970
    The four Bronte children - Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne - are used to entertaining themselves by making up adventures for their dolls and toy soldiers, as well as creating worlds such as Glass Town in which those “people” can exist. Charlotte and Emily, however, are to be sent to the dreaded Clergy Daughters’ School, a boarding school far away from home; but when that Beastliest Day arrives, they are surprised at the train station to see a man apparently made out of a book - and a couple The four Bronte children - Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne - are used to entertaining themselves by making up adventures for their dolls and toy soldiers, as well as creating worlds such as Glass Town in which those “people” can exist. Charlotte and Emily, however, are to be sent to the dreaded Clergy Daughters’ School, a boarding school far away from home; but when that Beastliest Day arrives, they are surprised at the train station to see a man apparently made out of a book - and a couple of soldiers who are searching for him. They scramble onto the train carrying this man, and soon find themselves in Glass Town, for real! But the book man is worse than he seems, and their troubles have only just begun…. As it happens, the real Bronte children *did* create “Glass Town” as a place for their active imaginations to run wild, and there are other details in Ms. Valente’s book that are also based in fact, but the worlds that she creates are just as vivid and remarkable as those of her characters. In her writing, I am reminded of both Jasper Fforde’s world and C.S. Lewis’ Narnia (Branwell, in particular, strikes me as very Edmund-like, while Anne can sometimes be a ringer for Lucy), but Ms. Valente’s creations are purely her own and absolutely wonderful. Although this might be marketed as a book for, say, 9 to 12 year olds, it can be enjoyed at any age; highly recommended!
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  • Paula
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Goodreads and Simon and Schuster Canada for a free copy of this book.The Glass Town Game is the story of Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne, the Bronte children, as they go on a magical adventure to a fantasy world created from their imaginations.Right from the beginning when they boarded the train to Glass Town and Leftenant Gravey is trying to figure out what to call them, using such terms as "breathers", "bleeders", "meat sacks", and "weepers", I knew that this was my kind of fant Thanks to Goodreads and Simon and Schuster Canada for a free copy of this book.The Glass Town Game is the story of Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne, the Bronte children, as they go on a magical adventure to a fantasy world created from their imaginations.Right from the beginning when they boarded the train to Glass Town and Leftenant Gravey is trying to figure out what to call them, using such terms as "breathers", "bleeders", "meat sacks", and "weepers", I knew that this was my kind of fantasy. The writing is quaint. It so reminds me of the fantasies that I used to read to my daughter when she was much younger, like Amy's Eyes, The Mennyms, The Better Brown Stories, Half Magic, but especially The Phantom Tollbooth. For example, when the children bring Brunty, an animated book, to Mr. Bud at the P-House, he says "Well, I am Mr. Bud, all right, and this is my house, and it is where we keep the baddies. You know, the typos and the misprints, the damaged copies and the rough drafts...". There are so many clever plays on words and imaginative happenings but sometimes, it takes a silly turn. I would highly recommend this book as one that a parent read to their child, as the parent would appreciate the clever writing more and the child would appreciate the goofy sense of humour.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Someday the Brontes will be famous writers, but for now they are just Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne, four children enlivening their dull parsonage-bound lives with epic tales of adventure and danger from their imaginary kingdoms of Angria and Gondal. Then, just as Charlotte and Emily are shipped off to a beastly boarding school where they will likely die of consumption, the quartet find themselves whisked away to Angria instead, where all their toys have come to life and wage perpetual wa Someday the Brontes will be famous writers, but for now they are just Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne, four children enlivening their dull parsonage-bound lives with epic tales of adventure and danger from their imaginary kingdoms of Angria and Gondal. Then, just as Charlotte and Emily are shipped off to a beastly boarding school where they will likely die of consumption, the quartet find themselves whisked away to Angria instead, where all their toys have come to life and wage perpetual war with Gondal. It's all topsy-turvy fun until Branwell and Anne are kidnapped by Napoleon. Beautiful prose stuffed with Bronte allusions that will probably elude the intended audience entirely.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book as a goodreads winner. I was intrigued by this book as I am a fan of the Brontes, especially Emily. How true would the author be to their lives and history of England during their lives? I am quite pleased with how both points came about seemingly effortlessly throughout the whole novel. There is a history lesson as well as biographical informatoin within this book which any teacher would appreciate. I think this would be a great introductory book to young people.
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  • Aviva Rosman
    January 1, 1970
    I picked up this book after reading an interview with Catherynne Valente on Vox. I love the Brontes, I love Narnia, and so this seemed like an indelible combination. Perhaps this is simply a book meant much more for children but I found the prose overwritten, the characterizations weak, and the overall plotting very strange. It was hard to buy into the stakes of Glass Town and some characters simply disappear halfway through. I wanted something that could echo my love of the Brontes and the worl I picked up this book after reading an interview with Catherynne Valente on Vox. I love the Brontes, I love Narnia, and so this seemed like an indelible combination. Perhaps this is simply a book meant much more for children but I found the prose overwritten, the characterizations weak, and the overall plotting very strange. It was hard to buy into the stakes of Glass Town and some characters simply disappear halfway through. I wanted something that could echo my love of the Brontes and the worlds they created. I think I would have been better off re-reading Wuthering Heights.
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  • Kimberly
    January 1, 1970
    This is a whopper of a MG novel - my ARC is 528 pages long. I fear that only the most voracious readers in the targeted age group will pick this novel and see it through to the end. That said, I did so enjoy this wildly quirky and imaginative story! I am a bit sad to be saying goodbye to the many wonderful characters (except for Bran - I do need a break from that kid!) And I wonder...will there be a sequel?
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  • Kelby Carlson
    January 1, 1970
    This novel is typical of Valente. It has the relative advantages and flaws of all of her novels: that is to say overwrought but charming prose, a story that fascinates, and yet enough elements that make little sense to make the overall experience frustrating. Better than the latter Fairyland books, the work is still too caught up in trying to be clever to really succeed.
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  • Joella www.cinjoella.com
    January 1, 1970
    So I don't think this type of book is meant for me. I didn't love it. The mixture of real people with the made-up-world just was a little too bizarre for me to really be able to embrace the craziness and love the book.
  • Annaka F.
    January 1, 1970
    It is a really interesting concept for a story, as the children are transported into their imaginary land of Glass Town. Personally, it was just a bit too fantastical for me. The plot was a bit all over the place and slow sometimes, but it is an overall fun read.
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  • Kelsey
    January 1, 1970
    A cute book about the 4 Bronte siblings who are traveling their way to school and get taken away to a town made up of all their toys and stories.
  • Sheila
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not sure what age group would like this book. Clever wordplay and literary references good for adults or teenagers very fond of classics - great for fans of the Brontës. Childish story.
  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    Very Narniaesque, in that it's a children's book that can be read and enjoyed by any adult. It's gorgeously written and hard to put down.
  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to much to love this (Brontes!) but it was a DNF due to the Amelia Bedelia-esque nature (think: Napoleon's army are frogs) and the fact that all of that needed to be explained to readers. ARC provided by publisher.
  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Goodreads Giveaways and Simon & Schuster for a free copy!The Glass Town Game is for those of us who enjoyed the Fairyland series, all the clever imagination is there, and you're never quite sure what Valente will throw at you next.
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