Glove of Satin Glove of Bone
I had such high hopes for this book. Witches, grimoires, ex-lovers rekindling their relationship – this sounded promising to me. Unfortunately, the book doesn‘t deliver at all because the romance is underdeveloped and the rest of the plot is boring and implausible.
Enne Datchery and Muriel vas Veldina are given a task they can’t refuse by the Witches’s High Council; to repair an old grimoire about which they are given no information. As the grimoire is stolen – twice – it dawns on them that the book might hold more secrets than they thought. While chasing down the thief, they stumble upon Natasha, a wicked witch from Muriel’s past, who has just finished a prison sentence.
I don’t want to go into too much detail concerning the plot. All I’ll say is that the whole set of characters do not seem to be very bright and the whole plot about the thief, their motivations and the High Council’s involvement and role in it doesn’t ring true. Decisions and behaviour are obviously orchestrated and completely unnnatural.
I had hoped for more from the romance because I actually thought it was pretty cool to be reading a story about two people who had been in a relationship for eight years, had broken up, and who were falling in love again. It’s a story which is not told all that often. But the problem here is that we don’t really get to know why their relationship fell apart, and that over the time of the book, we don’t see what is changing for them and why they want to try again. We only get the idea that Enne and Muriel still have feelings for each other and that they think it will help if they talk more with each other. As a result I just couldn’t believe in a future in which they are happy together.
I had also thought that the premise allowed for some (unfulfilled) sexual tension, but again, I was disappointed. There isn’t any tension, and there is no build up to their first kiss, either. There is no cuddling or sense of intimacy – which is just another lost opportunity to make me believe in their romance.
Given the underdeveloped romance, it seems the main focus of the book is supposed to be the magical plot, but it‘s neither gripping, interesting, nor smart … or anything really. There is, however, a very minor side plot that also focuses on two lovers finding each other which is much more believable and charming.
The central characters didn’t appeal to me. The constant bickering between Enne and Muriel didn’t make me like them, their thirteen year-old apprentice was boring and whiny, the villain is narcissistic and evil. Everyone is plain and simple – as is the world building. A solid sense of time and place is missing, and the magic, as well as witches’s relations and politics, remain quite superficial.
Additionally, I was upset about the recurring mentions of thirty being an old age. What? And at one point we’re told that witnessing a man cry is embarrassing. Say what? Seriously, I want to take points off for this because of the awful underlining of gender roles and stereotypes.
Despite all this, Glove of Satin, Glove of Bone was somehow a quick and sometimes even entertaining read. But all in all, that’s just not enough to like or recommend it.