I received this book for free from Book Sirens in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Under Glass and Stone by A.N. Willis
Series: Byrne House #1, Bryne House #2
Published by Observatory Books on August 4, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Source: Book Sirens
Includes both books of the bestselling Byrne House duology: Under Glass and Stone and Doors of Gold and Rust.
Two disappearances, over a century apart...The truth waits inside Byrne House.
For five generations, Evelyn's family has lived in the same small brick house, shadowed by the mansion across the street. Her Nana filled her childhood with stories about Byrne House: tales of missing children, of lovers gone mad. The mansion loomed every night in her dreams. Even now, at seventeen, Evelyn watches the sprawling Victorian from her second-floor bedroom, unable to explain her obsession with a house she's never been inside.
Then one of the boys in Evelyn's senior class disappears. Evelyn is the last person to see him--just a pale face in Byrne House's tower window.
The police don't believe her. Even her friends think she just imagined the face in the window. Only Alex--a handsome newcomer with his own ties to Byrne House--shares her suspicions. Alex believes that this latest disappearance is tied to the mansion's long-buried past. But there's more that Alex isn't telling her. Evelyn has no idea how far she'll have to go to find the answers. Or what she'll have to remember.
My top thoughts:
I have such mixed feelings about this duology. There’s some aspects that are pretty cool – but it really dragged on SO LONG. I think I would have enjoyed it a bit more from an adult perspective too, maybe. The YA love triangles – yes, there is one for each book – weren’t my favorite element. I think I just never really got to love the characters. But there was something about it that did keep me interested and I just wanted to see how it would end up.
What I liked/didn’t like:
Book 1 – Under Glass and Stone
This was the better of the two books… in fact, I think this would have been best as a stand alone, because where it ended things were resolved enough for me. The mystery surrounding the house was very interesting and the fantasy elements were pretty cool. The love triangle in this book wasn’t a central or as harsh. And I enjoyed the way things were resolved – it had a bit more intensity and anxiousness. There were also these really cool letters from the ancestors of Bryne House that propelled the story and mystery forward in fascinating ways.
Book 2 – Doors of Gold and Rust
What I liked about this book was the way it didn’t disregard the impact of the previous book’s events on the characters. But I was not as invested in the mystery. I felt like in the first book, they was a reason for their involvement in the mystery – it was natural that they were being propelled forward and mixed up in the problems. But in this book, they were seeking out trouble. And the absence of the letters meant the story progression rested much more on the magical/fantasy elements that were less compelling for me. Also, the love triangle was harsh – from both angles – and I just didn’t enjoy the angst. I wanted to see how things would end, so I didn’t quit, but I think I would recommend reading the first book and stopping at that.