Skip to main content

Falcon in the Glass

Review

Falcon in the Glass

If you’re like me, you grew up reading childhood fantasy favorites like Susan Fletcher’s Dragon's Milk series. Now, that same author is penning modern-day classics for the next generation of middle schoolers. Her latest, FALCON IN THE GLASS, brings readers to Renaissance Venice, amidst the backdrop of glassmakers’ golden globules of glassmaking and magnificent piazzas.

"Susan Fletcher is a master of middle-grade literature...Dive into Venice with Renzo and his friends, and you won’t want to leave."

Twelve-year-old Renzo has hit rock bottom. His father, a master glassmaker, was killed not long ago. In addition to losing the parent he loved, Renzo also lost a master from whom he would learn his trade. He’s now a low-level drudge, or servant, in another man’s glassworks. His master, or padrone, has given him a year to learn all the skills of an apprentice --- and far more than that, Renzo thinks. If Renzo passes the test the padrone gives him, then he can sign on at this glassworks; if not, Renzo doesn’t know what he’ll do.

By the time the story starts, Renzo only has two months left before his test --- and he’s nowhere near prepared. No matter how much he tries to learn every glassmaking skill he can, staying after hours to practice, he can’t master the techniques like he should. What he needs, he thinks, is someone to help him with the menial tasks --- as the padrone’s son sneeringly puts in, “a drudge for a drudge.”

Renzo thinks he’s found what he’s looking for when one of the “bird children,” itinerant kids who have remarkable bond with avian companions, shows up in the glassworks in the middle of the night. Before he knows it, he’s hosting a hawk, along with a skinny girl his own age, and is tied to a group of youngsters that have a deeper, darker connection to the city than he could ever have imagined...

Susan Fletcher is a master of middle-grade literature. With every word, she evokes the intricacies of glassmaking, Renzo’s family heartbreak, the bird children’s mysterious nature and the political complexities of long-ago Italy. Her descriptions are poignant, not too complex for a young reader to understand, and she includes fascinating insights into a long-gone world. Dive into Venice with Renzo and his friends, and you won’t want to leave.

Reviewed by Carly Silver on August 5, 2013

Falcon in the Glass
by Susan Fletcher

  • Publication Date: July 9, 2013
  • Genres: Youth Fiction
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • ISBN-10: 1442429909
  • ISBN-13: 9781442429901