By Katharine Orton (Walker Books)

Glassheart By Katharine Orton

Aryan's review
The book is extremely enjoyable due to its realistic, flawed characters and vibrant settings. I personally found most of the book fun and impactful, although I do think that the book hit a low point at the mid-point. My favourite characters were most likely Nona, Castor and the Soldier because they had interesting backstories and they felt like regular flawed people that had their own motive that was important to them. It was intriguing to see how being in a war and surviving a war takes such a toll on the mindset of any person. Especially right after a war when the book takes place. I would definitely recommend the book my my friends. It is a great mix of fun and tense. As I said, the middle of the book is a bit of a low point because the story slows down but I think the story picks back up when Nona and Castor meet Will.

Overall, I would give Glassheart by Katharine Orton an 8.5/10

Julia's review
Glassheart is set in the aftermath of World War II, following the journey of an 11 year old girl called Nona, who lost everything when a bomb destroyed her home. She found comfort with her polish “uncle” Antoni while travelling together fixing stained-glass windows in war-torn buildings. Throughout the book their bond grows stronger, and despite not being blood relatives, Nona dedicates all her strength to defeat the evil to protect him. Alongside the theme of family is also the theme of magic and paranormality, interwoven with the ruins left by the war and the chilling setting of the Dartmoor Church surrounded by forest.

Early on in the plot, a sidekick is introduced to Nona, named Catsor who is from beyond the realm of the natural world, he helps Nona break her uncle’s spell, while adding to the mystical side of the story. There is also an antagonist, nicknamed “the soldier” who wants to exchange Nona’s life for that of his son’s, she makes sure to stay clear of him whilst learning the possibilities of her own power. 

Although it takes a while for the pace to pick up, following the story right from the start helps build the understanding and imagery needed to immerse in the book. Being set in post-mortem war England supports the protagonist’s character arc and backstory. However including more details about the uncle’s story could aid with the reader being able to sympathise further for the two of them, as both of the characters have fallen victim to the war, and there are so many things that could be said on the effect of the war on the uncle, especially since he is of polish descent and the book mainly focusing on England’s disarray.

Ami's review
The book is about a girl who lives with someone who she calls Uncle, after her family died. Uncle used to work in the war and had an injury. He was sent home and got a job of fixing stained glass windows from churches, One night the girl let her curiosity get the better of her and followed Uncle who appeared to be in some sort of trance. She followed him and peaked through a key hole just to see uncle talking to the mirror... A mirror with another girl talking to him.

I found Uncle quite interesting as he is constantly out into mysterious stances. I don't particularly like the 'soldier'. I am not sure why he just gives me bad vibes.

I have learnt about the past that some injured soldiers got sent home to fix churches broken stained windows. I was really drawn to the time it was set in as it was an intriguing time with lots going on in the world. 

The plot is a bit of a combination between exciting and serious.

I think the thing that stands out the most is just everything, honestly really good. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy witchcraft and the World War time period. 

I didn't learn any new words but it's still very interesting. Overall, I found the book amazing and interesting.

Amelia's review
Setting: Nona and her uncle go to Dartmoor, she notices he has not been acting in his usual way but does not ask any questions until they get to their destination which is a bombed out church from World War Two (Glassheart is set just after the end of ww2). They have gone there to replace the stain glass windows but when they go inside Nona finds some strange creature imp thing called castor who can explain to her why her uncle was acting so strange and the two become unlikely best friends. Then they visit Alesea a spirit who has spelled Nona’s uncle. She soon realises that Alesea actually spelled him to protect her from the soldier, the evil guy who is trying to kill Nona to bring back his son who died in the war, because Nona is supposedly ‘the chosen one’. She also had a shard of glass in the shape of half a heart that she found the night her mother and brother died which has powers and the soldier has the other parts of the glass heart and he is trying to get her piece.

A character that I don’t like is Nona because she is kind of annoying and very unusual that she just comes to terms with everything so quickly, she literally just came from an ordinary life and then she just transforms into a bird without really thinking about it. Somehow everyone believes her and what she says which just doesn’t make sense for an eleven year old in the late 1940s or early 1950s, no one would really care what she had to say. On the other hand my favourite character was Serafin (Alesea’s sister) because she was wise, had healing powers and could transform into an eagle, she was the most reasonable one in my opinion. 

Something I learned about the past from this book was how much children were affected by the war with grief for their families and I never thought about that aspect of the aftermath of the war. 

I don’t see any target audience for this book because for me it was very difficult for my mind not to wander whilst reading as it was very fast paced and hard to keep up with, although the story seemed quite young, more for an eleven year old. It would be quite challenging for an eleven year old to read though so I see this book better as an animated film for children. The dialogue was quite cheesy and a bit cliché as after Nona defeated the soldier there was a party of random people who had no idea why they were celebrating. 

I think that Orton should’ve added more detail about when it was set for example add more bombed out houses into the scenery or even just into the background.

I definitely would not recommend this book to anyone unless I wanted someone to see how bad it was, in conclusion I’d give Glassheart two stars.

Asher's review
I found Glassheart a very interesting read. It combined magic and history and was able to explore events of the past through unnatural beings such as fairies. I found the character of Uncle Antonio very interesting to read as you wonder what his past to do with the war was and feel sorry for what has happened to him. I did not like the soldier as he was power hunger and greedy by trying to sacrifice an innocent child to get his dead son back. Even so, you must feel sympathy for him as he is lonely and lost without his son.I learnt about the impact the war had on some children and how they had to find new families, and many would not want to take them in. The time it was set was quite interesting as it was not set when the war was happening but when the war had been over, this helped me realise the detrimental effects the war had even when it is “finished”. What most stands out to me in the book is the themes of bravery and courage, having to face the demons instead of hiding from them.

I would have liked the book to dig deeper into the history and elaborate on certain events of the past more. I would highly recommend the book to pupils as it is more a historical fiction which you can subconsciously learn from but it was an altogether very interesting read. 

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