Monday, February 24, 2014

Review: All That Glows by Ryan Graudin

All That Glows by Ryan Graudin
Series: Standalone
Published: February 11th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
300 pages (eARC)
Genre: Young adult urban fantasy
Acquired this book: From the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
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Emrys—a fiery, red-headed Fae—always embraced her life in the Highlands, far from the city’s draining technology, until she’s sent to London to rejoin the Faery Guard. But this isn’t any normal assignment—she’s sent to guard Prince Richard: Britain’s notorious, partying bad boy and soon-to-be King. The prince’s careless ways and royal blood make him irresistible for the dark spirits that feed on mortals. Sweet, disheveled, and alive with adventure—Richard is one charge who will put Emrys’s magic and heart to the test.

When an ancient force begins preying on the monarchy, Emrys must hunt through London’s magical underworld, facing down Banshees, Black Dogs, and Green Women to find the one who threatens Richard’s life. In this chaos of dark magic, palace murders, and paparazzi, Emrys finds herself facing an impossible choice. For despite all her powers, Emrys has discovered a force that burns brighter than magic: love.
I love books about faeries, so when I heard about All That Glows, I was really excited. While I didn’t love the book the way I’d hoped to, I also didn’t hate it…it was pretty middle of the road for me. The story started out fairly strong and drew me in; I’d say I was really enjoying it up until about the 25-30% mark when things started to unravel somewhat.

There were quite a few aspects of this book that were unbelievable. I realize it’s fantasy so there are going to be some things that obviously suspend belief, but considering it was set in the real world, surrounding the British monarchy (albeit fictional royals), there were a few things that seemed really unrealistic, especially toward the end. One of the things I found hardest to believe was when Richard discovered Emrys was a faerie and that he’d had a Faerie Guard his whole life and he was basically like ‘okay sure’. I don’t know about you, but if I found out faeries really did exist, and that they’d been watching me my entire life, I would freak the hell out. But not Richard…he was all tra la la, business as usual.

There was also a major case of the dreaded instalove in All That Glows. Emrys and Richard met and fall almost instantly in love. Richard was a pretty bland, one-dimensional character, so it was hard to imagine why Emrys fell in love with him, let alone instantly and to the point of being willing to give up everything. She was hundreds of years old, seemed fairly intelligent and worldly, and yet she meets a cute boy and completely comes undone. Because of that and a few other things, it was hard to believe she was actually a centuries-old faerie - she seemed very much like a normal teenage girl except with magical abilities.

There were times I thought the writing was really beautiful, but then other times it was so flowery it made me roll my eyes. I don’t mind a well-placed metaphor - in fact, I like them, and even really enjoyed some of the ones in All That Glows - but it felt like almost every other sentence was a metaphor. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with so many metaphors before.

Things I did like about the book: the fae aspect. There was a bit of faerie lore and some explanations about how things worked, which I really enjoyed. In books, faeries seem to either be portrayed as good or evil, but All That Glows we got to see both kinds. I thought the parts with the Green Women, Banshees, and Black Dogs were really interesting. There was also some great action in the book, and I liked the suspense woven throughout. It kept me guessing, and the climax of the book had me really engaged and wondering what was going to happen.

Overall, All That Glows was just an okay read for me. It had a great, unique-sounding concept, and while it was well executed in some ways, it fell short in others. I think it could have been stellar if the characters were fleshed out more, and if we’d gotten to see Emrys and Richard falling in love instead of just being told they were in love and never really understanding or seeing why. As always, I encourage readers to make their own decisions - if you enjoy faerie stories, or even stories about monarchy, give this book a try. 


Have you read All That Glows? What did you think? If you haven't read it, is it on your TBR? Do you like books about faeries?


  1. Well I love urban fantasy and the synopsis sounded great but if Richard is totally blah and there's instalove. No. I'll pass.

  2. Marie, I felt the same way you did on the romance. You know how much I love a good romance in my story, but I was sad that Emrys was portrayed the way she was. She fell in love with Richard too soon, and was willing to give up everything for him. In the beginning there was glimpses of how amazing she was, as part of the Faerie Guard. I did love the writing and setting of the story though. Great Review :)

  3. I love fairies too, but eye rolling give me a headache. Hoping if they do another it will be better.

    Crossing my fingers.

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

  4. This one didn't work for me either. The eye rolling was definitely getting tiresome. Glad I wasn't alone :)


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