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July 21, 2018
A Make-Believe World Made Real
by Page Turner

The Glass Town Game by Catherynne M. Valente

Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne Brontë live in a small town in Yorkshire. There, they play the Glass Town game, in which wooden toy soldiers fight Napoleon Bonaparte and never die. Lately, the children they have been upset. Bran’s drawings are suffering, Emily can’t imagine the Arctic Circle to play Polar Exploration, Anne’s kingdom is subdued, and Charlotte’s beautiful handwriting has become messy. The Beastliest Day is coming, when Father will force Emily and Charlotte to go to School. School is a terrible place where their sisters Lizzie and Maria caught awful fevers and died. Soon, they must leave Bran, Anne and Glass Town behind.

There is still hope, however. On the Beastliest Day, Bran excitedly takes his sisters to see the train, a wonderful technological marvel. The children are confused, because there is a man made of books and newspaper running around the station, and the adults don’t seem to notice. The train is different than they had imagined – made of plants and roughly hewn rubies and a star for the headlight. Their own toy soldiers whisk them away to Glass Town for an exciting adventure.

Glass Town is a bit different then the Brontës had created. The soldiers can die, but a magical potion called grog brings them back to life. Glass Town’s inhabitants are fighting a war against Napoleon, or Boney, for possession of the grog. As the children travel through the amazing world they created, they must fight against their own imaginations to help Glass Town win the war.

I love Catherynne M. Valente’s books. She creates worlds with an outstanding level of imagination. The characters are so real, and the worlds are rich in history and nobility. The Glass Town Game is an amazing story, and will inspire anyone who reads it.

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