Templeman, McCormick. The Glass Casket. New York: Delacorte, 2014. 978-0-385-74345-7. 336p. $17.99. Gr. 9 and up.
Nag’s End is just a quiet village on the edge of the kingdom until the day five of the king’s soldiers thunder through town bound on an unknown mission. When the soldiers are discovered brutally killed, many frightened villagers want to write off the incident as a wolf attack, but others, like Tom and his brother Jude are not so sure. Tom’s best friend Rowan is meanwhile preoccupied with her own mystery. Fiona Eira, a cousin Rowan never knew she had, has recently arrived in the village. But instead of welcoming family with open arms, Rowan’s father has forbidden her to speak to her cousin. Rowan is further conflicted by the interest Tom begins to express towards Fiona. These situations collide when Fiona is brutally killed like the soldiers. Could the traditional villagers’ tales of witches, ghosts, goblins and sprites be true? As Rowan, Tom and Jude investigate the evil seemingly stalking their village, they will be forced to confront their beliefs, their friendships and their familial bonds. A tale that effectively mixes elements of fantasy, fairy tales, romance, mystery and horror.
Fantasy (Fairy Tale) Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg HS/MS
While this book may have taken a chapter or two to get going, once the action started, it did not let up, and I was fully engaged in the story. There were many twists and turns in the plot that keep the reader guessing as to who is behind the evil that kills the soldiers and then starts killing villagers. The story is told through the viewpoints of several of the main characters, though mostly from Rowan’s perspective. While I categorized this book as a fantasy/fairy tale, as the review above mentions, it also incorporates elements of romance, mystery and horror. Therefore, it has the potential to appeal to a wide audience of students, not just fantasy lovers.