The first in a new fantasy duology, The Glass Spare is a gorgeously told tale of love, loss, and deadly power from Lauren DeStefano, the bestselling author of the Chemical Garden series. Perfect for fans of Shannon Hale and Renee Ahdieh. Wilhelmina Heidle, the fourth child and only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.
Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, though, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.
But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with Wil’s power.
With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?
Fifteen-year-old Wilhelmina "Wil" Heidle is a "spare," fourth in line to the throne of Arrod behind Owen the heir, gifted alchemist Gerdie, and the unrelentingly cruel Baren. During an attack by a ruffian, Wil discovers that her touch can turn people into gemstones, killing them. She's horrified, and Owen warns her that their father will surely use her for his own purposes. Hoping to gain the king's favor, Wil sets out on a spying mission but accidentally kills Owen. Exiled by her father, a grief-stricken Wil sets out into the world, hoping to find someone to help her; when she meets the mysterious Loom, she is shocked to discover that he's immune to her touch. Wil is sympathetic, and her power (although limited) is terrifying, but DeStefano (the Chemical Garden series) doesn't imbue the larger cast with many standout characteristics. The worldbuilding is thinly sketched, as well: telephones, dirigibles, data goggles, and digital technology exist alongside traditional fantasy elements in a way that makes it hard to get a full sense of the setting. Ages 13 up.