Book Review: ‘Blood, Glass and Sugar’ by Lyndsay E. Gilbert

Reviewed by Associate Editor Sami Clara

Blood, Glass and Sugar is the debut novel by writer and English teacher Lyndsay E. Gilbert. Written when she was just nineteen and then self-published, I’m honestly astonished by the quality of storytelling and deliciously metaphoric language used throughout Blood, Glass and Sugar. It is an extremely exhilarating read that I would recommend to young adults and adults alike.

Blood, Glass and Sugar follows the life of the seemingly ordinary sixteen-year-old Evie Edlin on her path to discover fate, fae and a dangerous other world that lies in the streets of London. We are immediately thrown into this other world, making for an engaging read from the novel’s very first pages.

It is here that we discover the wonders of an intricate and twisted fairytale, in which Evie is key to breaking a curse cast years ago on the handsome and mysterious Bran. We also learn of Evie’s connections to this other world and Bran’s secrets. 

Our protagonist, Evie, is one that I welcome warmly into the world of young adult fiction. Evie is a complex character with both strengths and weaknesses that stretch far beyond the story’s male counterparts. She is, without a doubt, the strongest and most likeable female lead I have read in a YA novel to date. Her loyalty to her friends and family, as well as her ties to Bran filled me with intense joy and compassion.

Evie’s best friend Trix is similarly strong, and this is displayed in her unique personality which shines through Blood, Glass and Sugar’s pages, along with her loyalty to Evie and her mission. She is an immensely real character who I crave another dose of in the sequel.

Aside from stellar characters and beautifully-bold storytelling, Blood, Glass and Sugar’s pacing is where the story’s strength shines. The novel’s pacing managed to keep me satisfied, yet always hungry to read more. The ending chapters in particular were phenomenally well-paced, leading up to a massive climatic event that changes everything for our characters’ lives as we know them.

As mentioned briefly in the opening in this review, the author’s use of metaphors and similes is a force to be reckoned with. In fact, the novel is filled with indulgent language that becomes richer and juicer as you turn each page.

It occurred to me upon finishing Blood, Glass and Sugar that the author had been feeding me this invisible drip the entire way through – a deliciously moreish feeling, that kept me engaged and ever-present in this world. I only became aware of this drip at the very end of the novel when she tore it out of my veins, ending on a cliffhanger, causing me to gasp out loud and curse the air that I didn’t have the sequel in front of me in that very instance. And that is where my only criticism lies: because upon finishing this book, I challenge any readers to not crave more of this world, and these characters.

Rating: 5/5

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Between Worlds Zine is a quarterly short fiction magazine, publishing fantasy, horror and sci-fi tales of alternate worlds and the doorways that lead there.
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