Mark Reads ‘Shatterglass’: Chapter 12

In the twelfth chapter of Shatterglass, HOW DARE YOU END THE CHAPTER THERE! HOW DARE YOU. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Circle Opens.

Trigger Warning: For death/murder

OH MY GOD, HOW CAN YOU DO THIS TO ME??? Right when we are CLOSER THAN EVER to the identity of the Ghost, bam! Chapter over. Of course, I could just read this book like a normal human being and find out what the hell is going on but NO. This is the life that I have chose.


I’m glad we’re still getting to see what Khapik is like outside of the horrific murders that plague the city. The butterfly festival is fantastic, and I got a sense for the resilience of the yaskedasi. But I imagine they have to be that way. Life’s never been easy for them. So they give their all to a celebration, a momentary distraction from the nightmare unfolding around them.

I also started wondering when we’d get the first clue to the Ghost’s identity, and I thought that Tris’s conversation with the prathmuni would be the start of it. Unfortunately, Tamora Pierce is actively concerned with my suffering, so Tris gets no closer to the truth. Well, at least not what she wanted. But her conversation sheds light on the role the prathmuni continue to play in the city. Their cynicism is necessary, and I appreciate that while Tris gets the two prathmuni to talk, they don’t show her any affection or appreciation. The risk of getting whipped for talking to someone above their class is too big, and Tris still is an outsider, even if she does show some concern for them.


Ahhhh, Keth is learning control!!! This has been a long time coming, and it certainly makes me wonder what it’s going to be like when he can control his own magic like Tris can control hers. I admit that Shatterglass has made me appreciate and respect Tris’s control over herself more than I did previously. I’d argue that none of her foster siblings have to control themselves at quite the same level as she does. So it’s fitting that she’s paired with a student who not only requires as much control, but struggles to maintain it. She’s uniquely qualified to help Keth, which she does beautifully here.

I think Pierce does a fine job describing such a mystifying process to us, too. While I read this section, I realized that I wasn’t question what precisely was happening. I understood what Keth’s magic looked like to Keth, and I understood what he was attempting to do as well. Now that he’s in a better place and since he’s got a teacher who is willing to work so closely with him, his confidence is completely different from what it used to be. I wonder, then, if Keth could create a perfect magical globe that would fully predict the future if he mastered his own control. We see later in the chapter the affect his current state of magic has on a globe, so… maybe???

Well, he absolutely needs to work on his sense of capacity on top of this. Keth is so arrogant about his own ability that he refuses to accept that he needs to exercise self-care. He often invokes sexist language or logic whenever Tris tells him to rest and stop using magic, despite that magical exhaustion has nothing to do with gender. Hell, even Tris experiences a moment of drain after meditating in this very chapter since she’s working so hard on wind scrying. (With no progress, unfortunately. I mean, I knew it was a difficult ability, but wow, it’s a lot more challenging than I expected.) I think more than any of the other students in this quartet, Keth is still dealing with his issues around being taught. By this point in the other three novels, each of the students had already accepted their mentors’ expertise, but Keth is still fighting it.

And now he’s passed out from exhaustion. Hopefully, he’s learned his obligation to take care of himself the hard way.

The Chase

There was progress here – namely in Keth’s scenes – so I felt like the novel had inched a little closer to its endgame. And then Keth’s newest globe cleared, sending Dema and two of his arurimi to the debate arena in Heskalifos, AND KETH DID IT. OH MY GOD.

Dema looked at the globe, where the image was rapidly fading. Keth had done it, Dema realized. He’d made the invisible visible before the Ghost could display his victim. His success wasn’t complete – what Dema wanted was a look at the murderer himself – but Keth had come a long way toward their ultimate goal.

I could barely contain myself, y’all. I’m aware that I read the remainder of this chapter at lightning speed because we had never gotten this close to the truth. And yet, even when Dema realized that they were still to late, that the Ghost had disposed of his latest victim in a different location, I still held on to the hope that there were no priests around, no one stopping him from seeking out the Ghost, no one to prohibit him from using stepsfind to track down the killer, who leads Keth to:

The killer had vanished into the bowels of the Heskalifos temple of the All-Seeing. He had carried his pollution into the temple’s foundations, where the guardian spells erased all trace of him. Once more he’d managed to be a ghost in fact, vanishing from a trail so plainly marked Dema could have followed it blindfolded.

HOW? HOW??? Did the killer work in the temple? Is any person allowed within the temple? THIS IS THE WORST THING POSSIBLE, I WAS SO FRUSTRATED. How could Dema get so close, only to ultimately fail to learn anything about the Ghost at all? But y’all, I’m STILL reeling from what happens after this because WHAT THE HELL. Dema has so consistently faced resistance from the priesthood in Tharios that I was utterly shocked when Aethra Papufos, the actual high priestess of the All-Seeing, gave Dema her blessing, promising that he can do his work unhindered in the city for the first time ever.

After he caught the Ghost.


Mark Links Stuff

– The Mark Does Stuff Tour 2015 is now live and includes dates across the U.S. this summer and fall Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be the remainder of The Legend of Korra, series 8 of Doctor Who, and Kings. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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