I am not going to write very much about The Heart of Glass Tales from the Five Kingdoms by Vivian French. If you have read the first and second books then you will already be hooked on this series and I probably do not need to convince you to read on. If you have not read the first two books you should do this before you pick up this book.
The Heart of Glass is another highly imaginative story. I marvel at the way writers like Vivian French can conjure such terrific characters, adventures and scenes.
In this third installment Marcus and Gracie have travelled to the Unreliable Forest of Flailing on a dwarf-spotting expedition. This should not be dangerous except that they have set out at a time of high activity in the dwarf world. Princess Fedora is about to marry Prince Tertius and the dwarfs have a huge order for gold. They are having some difficulty reaching this gold because time is short so the dwarfs have called on the trolls for assistance. In particular the dwarfs have called on King Thab and a bargain has been made. King Thab wants a Princess in exchange for supplying one troll as a laborer for the dwarfs. King Thab also wants power but so does Mullius Gowk who is in an Old Troll. Mullius is the last of the Old Trolls. “The High King of the Old Trolls had never known the meaning of the word mercy. He had lived for hundreds of years and had never once done a good deed. … after his death there had been stories … of his unrelenting cruelty and unceasing quest for domination.”
There is also a prophecy about power involving a Trueheart :
When Trueheart’s life in ended here
The High King’s heart will beat once more
And power come to those who reign.
A King of Kings will rule again
Trolls, dwarfs, Gracie (a Trueheart), bats, underground tunnels, greed, bargains and silly royalty are the perfect ingredients for a rollicking adventure. Good will of course triumph over evil but you will be so absorbed in the characters and twists and turns of the plot that by the end this hardly seems to matter.
As with the first two books in this series I read The Heart of Glass in just one sitting. It is good to see Vivian French has included a character list this time so you can keep track of everyone. I highly recommend this series for Middle Primary readers. Read an extract here.