Mark Reads ‘Shatterglass’: Chapter 6

In the sixth chapter of Shatterglass, Tris and Keth begin training. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Circle Opens.

Stuck Together

I honestly feel like this book is 200 pages long at this point, and I mean that as a compliment. So much has happened, and I can barely believe I’m only on the sixth chapter. There’s been a monumental amount of character development for Keth and Tris, and I’d like to begin this review talking about.

“So we’re stuck with each other,” he said carefully.

I love that Keth gets to this point earlier rather than later. I know that he does argue with Tris and he constantly struggles with accepting her teaching. I appreciate that Pierce doesn’t gloss over this, and I won’t either. But in the early part of this chapter, Keth has a necessary revelation: Trisana Chandler is his teacher, and there is no use fighting it anymore. It’s not like he has a choice of another teacher, and as he later puts it, he’s now closer than ever to gaining control of his life. It’s a strong motivating factor for him, but it also means that he’s… overeager?

Which I get! The man has spent years feeling lost and inadequate, so I understand why he’s so eager to fix everything. But he mistakenly believes that Tris and her teaching is a quick fix. That’s not the case, and he’s still got to deal with his phobia of lightning before he can ever get the hang of his complex set of powers. That’s a logistical problem, though, and I think Pierce builds a good case for another problem that Keth needs to overcome: accepting that just because Tris is younger, she’s less qualified and less smart.

Over and over in these last four years she had seen it: adults always believed they knew more than younger people. Normally this was true, but magecraft always turned the normal world on its head.

It’s not just about memorization and knowledge, as Keth mistakenly believed. Tris learned to accept and manage her power, and that’s one of the main reasons she was allowed to become a mage by fourteen. Keth simply doesn’t get this; he used to a world of apprenticeships and age hierarchies and knowledge of facts, which doesn’t exactly translate well to the learning of ambient magic, let alone the complicated mage work that he will eventually do. The entire process, then, becomes an exercise in patience, something that Tris already needed to work on.

AND MY GOD, SHE HAS CHANGED SO MUCH SINCE THE LAST QUARTER. Her patience levels have already skyrocketed; she’s getting better at coping with her temper, even when Keth says things that Tris could justifiably get angry at; and she learns to pick her battles. That’s such a challenging thing for anyone to learn, and Tris does it gracefully here. THERE IS SO MUCH CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, Y’ALL. Years ago, would Tris have let Keth’s awful respectability line go past her without a verbal reprimand? Nope. She knows that she can rip him to shreds later for it (AND I HOPE SHE DOES), so she lets the moment pass in order to get Keth to focus on the task at hand.

I did like that Pierce did not make Keth a complete fool. He is definitely the most advanced student out of the Circle Opens novels, and I don’t doubt that at all. He’s quicker to learn to meditate properly – since he’d already learned it glassblowing – and he manages to spread his magic out to identify different types of glass with his eyes closed, all linked through his lightning magic. I know, I know, broken record at this point, but it’s so great that all four of these books have a recognizable pattern that is subverted in each following novel! Keth is far beyond the other new mages, and yet? He’s got so far to go. It was sad to read about his “failures,” knowing he so desperately wanted to blow glass properly again, and Pierce went ahead and made the whole thing even sadder:

“No,” he told her stubbornly. “You don’t know the yaskedasi. I do. I’ve been living with them for eight months. The Ghost is killing their sense of, of excitement. Of fun, joy…” He fumbled to express his thought. “Khapik was the first place I’ve been where I c-could forget what h-happened to me. The, the Ghost is killing Khapik.”

I knew he had this connection to these people, but it was a bit shocking to see it expressed so plainly and emotively. Keth is one of the few people who genuinely cares about these women, you know??? And that matters! So when Dema arrives, it’s doubly disappointing that his latest globe reveals no new clue and that he learns about magic reserves. Namely? That he has none. Again, he completely disbelieves Tris and only comes to do so once an older man – Dema – confirms that Tris is right. That is something Keth cannot do beyond this, especially if he’s going to gain Tris’s respect. Being young and being a woman do not negate wisdom or knowledge, and he better learn that quick.

The original text contains use of the word “crazed.”

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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