Book Review: The Glass Dagger by M.D. Presley (Sol's Harvest #3)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Never passing up the opportunity to speak about himself in the third person, M.D. Presley is not nearly as clever as he thinks he is. Born and raised in Texas, he spent several years on the East Coast and now waits for the West Coast to shake him loose. His favorite words include defenestrate, callipygian, and Algonquin. The fact that monosyllabic is such a long word keeps him up at night.

Publisher: M.D. Presley (July 13, 2022) Page count: 435 Formats: ebook, paperback

Solace Graff, Render extraordinaire, is a creep. A huge, clumsy bloke with a glass eye, insane powers, and a total lack of interest in personal hygiene or well-being. His lifelong obsession to become the greatest living Render living on Ayr made him stark raving mad. Obviously, there’s much more to it than we suspected and Graff’s dark past hides many surprises.

In The Glass Dagger, MD Presley brings important plot and character arcs to a satisfying and surprising conclusion, while simultaneously opening new ones.We learn who Caddie is and why the future of Ayr may depend on whether she lives or dies. We learn who and why made the civil war start and how key characters’ pasts intertwined and converged off-page. New reveals blew my mind and attest to MD Presley’s impeccable plotting skills. I love the way he orchestrates timelines and characters’ arcs while moving between them.

The real joy of the book is how well the magic integrates with the rich Ayr’s mythology. The result feels compelling and immersive and every chapter draws the reader deeper into the dark and disturbing story. The plot, while mostly journey- and hunt-based (Graff and Luca follow Marta and Caddy) has enough twists to remain compelling even after the characters and world are established. Add to this cinematic fight sequences and enjoy the ride.

The Glass Dagger stumbled only with characterization. An autistic, overpowered, and single-minded Graff, while intriguing lacks complexity. Marta, Luca, and Isabel lost a sense of direction (a deliberate choice of the author before the final book, I think) and turned into feral animals that fight, bite, and destroy things.

Especially Marta. A pity as I always loved her as a character. Killing is her second nature. Caddie awakened her maternal instincts. When someone threatens Caddie, their life ends in seconds. Speaking bluntly, for most of the story characters feel flatter than in previous installments. Although their relationships still have much growing left to do, many of the later scenes in the book between them (and in various configurations) felt emotionally rushed. That said, Marta and Carmichael’s confrontation was excellent and showed a genuine development of Marta as a character. It also hit her where she’s always been most vulnerable.

While this book won’t make you sit back and feel good about the world, it’ll make you reflect and wonder (about politics, religion, beliefs, and ambitions) and that’s the power of a good novel. MD Presley doesn’t provide a salivating cliffhanger, but he sets the stage for final reveals I can’t wait to discover. After this ending, I have little doubt that the ultimate book will be anything less than breathtaking. I can’t wait to see how it wraps up.

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