Saturday, April 9, 2011

Book Review: All Just Glass by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

All Just Glass by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Release Date: January 11, 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Pages: 256
Received: Library
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars 
Goodreads Page

There are NO spoilers in this review!
You can read this review even if you haven't read the previous books in the series.


From Goodreads:

Sarah Vida has given up everything for love. From a legendary family of vampire-hunting witches, Sarah was raised to never trust a vampire, to never let her guard down, and to avoid all tricky attachments of the heart. But now Sarah IS a vampire—changed by the boy she thought she loved. Her family has forsaken her, and Sarah herself is disgusted by her appetite for blood.

Aida Vida is Sarah's older sister, the good, reliable sibling who always does her family proud. But when Aida's mother insists that Sarah be found and killed, Aida is given the one assignment that she may not be able to carry out.

Taking place over just twenty-four hours, ALL JUST GLASS tells the story of a game-changing battle that will forever change the world of the Den of Shadows. And at its center is the story of two sisters who must choose between love and duty. Dark, fully-imagined, and hard to put down, ALL JUST GLASS will thrill Amelia's fans—old and new.


This is the sequel to Shattered Mirror and book 7 in the Den of Shadows series, but DON’T STOP READING YET! I promise this review doesn’t have any spoilers for the previous books.

But let me just gush about Shattered Mirror for a minute

Shattered Mirror was published in 2001 when Amelia was a teenager, but you’d never guess her age based on her book. I devoured Shattered Mirror and have been singing its praises for years. Two hot vampire brothers—one good, one seductively bad—and the girl in the middle of the two (sound familiar?). Only in Shattered Mirror, the girl is a witch and vampire hunter, which adds in a whole level of delicious forbidden love and conflict.

The vampire and witch lore is so thorough I feel like that world could actually exist around me. Her characters were real and likable. I care about those people. I squeaked with joy when I heard there would be a sequel.

Time Gone By

While ten years have passed in the real world, practically no time has passed between Shattered Mirror and All Just Glass. The events of this book take place over the course of a mere 24 hours. I thought this was gimmicky and unnecessary, adding nothing at all except mild annoyance. I suggest just ignoring the time stamps at the beginning of each chapter. You won’t miss anything.

Who the heck are these people?!

All Just Glass features almost all of the main characters from the first book and throws in a few more. The cast is HUGE and I had a hard time keeping track of everyone. I could barely tell the difference between a bunch of characters, having to rely solely on superficial traits (that one’s the witch with vampire blood, that one’s the witch with psychic powers, etc).

Even worse, the characters I knew and loved from the first book had nothing in common with their versions in this book. Nikolas had such a strong and distinct personality in Shattered Mirror, but here he’s completely different and barely present. This was the biggest let down for me.

The other characters from the first book met the same fate. They all felt washed out and incomplete, relying solely on the development of the first book (which in many cases contradicted their actions in this second book). As the characters stand in this book, I don’t care at all about any of them and they all score a big whopping ZERO on my WWMCD Test.

Where am I? Who am I?

The plot pacing felt uneven, jumping around with repeated promises of interesting events and then fizzling out. The tight plotting and steadily building pace of Amelia’s earlier books was absent here. Instead events seemed to meander around without coherent form or goal. I wanted to chuck the book across the room at the epically anticlimactic ending.

Making matters worse are all of the competing narrators. The book is written in the third person, but the focus shifts from character to character with little rhyme or reason. Some characters’ focuses are returned to again and again, while others only have one or two scenes (scenes, not even whole chapters). This felt sloppy and convoluted, especially since most of the characters all sounded the same.

Secrets were revealed for many characters, presumably to create depth and “shades of gray.” I ended up disliking them even more. I also felt like this added confusion because none of their secrets are revealed coherently. Ever run text through a translator and eventually you get the gist of what was written but the details are missing and you’re left with a jumble of broken English? That’s what this felt like to me.

Whatever tension there might have been was completely killed for me after numerous letdowns and the realization that even my memories of these characters couldn’t make me care about what happened to them now.
Bottom line

Read Shattered Mirror! And, really, all of the first four books in the series. Each ends as a standalone, so you can pick one up and not have to worry about reading a whole series or dealing with loose ends. I’m very disappointed with All Just Glass, especially since I know the author is capable of much better.

 Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 

Other books in the series--Each can be read as a standalone! (click on their covers to go to Goodreads): 



  1. I can't believe it has been so long!
    I started to read Amelia Atwater-Rhodes when Hawksong first came out - I have the small hardcover edition - and then I sort of went to her back list (Which at the time was mostly the first four books).

    I've only read Demon in my View (which my then teenaged male cousin recommended to me - so rare since he claims to 'hate reading'), and Midnight Predator. I skipped Riska's book because I thought she would annoy me, and Shattered Mirror sort of didn't catch my attention.

    But you made me want to go back and read that one. I don't think I would read this one though. It lost me when you mentioned that it's happening over a 24 hr period was just go gimmick and not for plot or anything.

  2. Hawksong! That's how I recognized the name. I hemmed and hawed over that one at the bookstore but ended up not getting it.

    It's so disappointing when a series crumbles like that. I have two mystery series that I began severely disliking at least three books ago ... but I STILL read the new ones, either out of masochism or guilt or both. Sad.

    I'll give Shattered Mirror a try under such high praise!

  3. Whooooa I have never seen you give such a low rating! But I get it! If the MCs don't make sense, it messes up everything for me!! And competing narrators?! Yikes...I'm glad you enjoyed the others in the series!

  4. I've never heard of this series before. It's so sad when you've enjoyed a series so much and the latest book is a real let down :( What a shame.

  5. That's a disappointment. I've only read one Atwhater Rhodes book. I liked it but didn't love it. It's hard when books get so big that they're confusing and uneven.

  6. Uh Oh. A 1.5 is no good at all! It's always so disappointing when characters you really enjoyed in previous books just don't work this time around. I haven't read this series, but it sounds like this was clearly not the most successful installment!

  7. I loved Shattered Mirror too but have avoided picking up this one after I found out that all the events take place within one day. Plus, it's been so long since I read Shattered Mirror that I'm pretty sure that I don't remember anybody other than Nicholas, Christopher and Sarah.

  8. The Persistance of Memory has always called to me. What's your opinion? I knew how you felt about this one. Glad you were honest. Maybe the author will see a few of these reviews and go back to her successful style of writing. Sorry you were so disappointed though.


  9. Oh this sounds like a series I would enjoy! I love the twist in the "triangle" that you talk about in the beginning. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Alex, I’m shocked it’s been that long too! I’ve been reading her books since the very first one was published. It kind of makes me feel old realized how long ago that is :P Riska annoyed me in Demon in my View, but I liked her more in her own book. I remember liking her book, but not as much as some of the others. Still, I liked it. None of her books are “great literature” but I think for what they are they’re good. If you liked Hawksong, Midnight Predator, and Demon in My View, then I think you’d also like In the Forests and Shattered Mirror. I didn’t really like any of her books after Hawksong (Snakecharm was ok…)

    Logan, I liked Hawksong. Not amazing, but a good solid read. I also read it years and years ago though. I am really so disappointed with this author’s latest books. I keep reading them in the hopes that they’ll be good again but I won’t buy them anymore. I hope you enjoy Shattered Mirror though!

    Lazy Girl, I gave one 1 star rating, but, yeah, this is one of my lowest ratings. I would have given it one star instead of one and a half, but I can’t shake the last dregs of nostalgia. I’m so disappointed and confused! It’s like a different person wrote this book, and that person only had the barest familiarity with Shattered Mirror.

    The Slowest Bookworm, It really is sad. At least this is the type of series where every book is a complete standalone, so I don’t have any loose ends.

    Alison, It’s not even that it got too big, but more just that there wasn’t all that much attention to developing the characters. In a lot of ways the book felt like a draft that wasn’t developed enough yet.

    Jenny, Not good at all, especially since that half star I only gave due to nostalgia. I haven’t enjoyed the most recent three installments and I have the same complaints for all of them. It’s such a shame.

    A Canadian Girl, I think you’d really have to re-read Shattered Mirror to refamiliarize yourself with some of the other characters then. But, then again, the characters are so completely different, that it almost doesn’t matter. I can understand if the characters changed over time, but this book is supposed to take place the very next day after Shattered Mirror ends, so the characters shouldn’t have undergone any major personality changes…and yet they did. If you loved Shattered Mirror, you might be happier not reading All Just Glass.

    Heather, I liked Persistence of Memory better than All Just Glass, but I still had a lot of problems with it. Maybe a 2 star or 2.5 star book for me. I had similar complaints about character and plot development, consistency, and the plot making sense. It also felt very much like a psychology student trying to weave in what they learned in class, but not doing a convincing or accurate job of it. If you do read it I would be very interested in reading your review. I wish she would go back to her older style of writing. This new style just seems undeveloped. If she had put in just a little more development and time into fleshing out the plot and characters and double checking for inconsistencies, then these books would have been just as good as her earlier ones.

    Book Geek, Definitely check out the first four books then! They were so much fun and her world building was great.

  11. Oh no thanks then on the Persistence of Memory. I'm not wasting my time on a bad book. I'm still trying to get to the Adoration of Jenna Fox. I think I saw that there is a sequel called the Fox Legacy or something like that or else it was a dream. Haven't followed up on that.


  12. Heather, That’s what I thought you’d say about Persistence :) I loved The Adoration of Jenna Fox, but be ready with tissues. I can imagine that as a mother the book would impact you even more than it did me. There is a sequel, but Jenna Fox ends perfectly fine as a standalone book. I’m not sure yet whether I want to read the sequel. Jenna Fox is so precious to me and it ends fine that I’m not sure I want to taint the experience with a possibly inferior book. It was that good. I’m pretty sure the title is The Fox Inheritance.


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