Toys Comes Alive | Book Review: The Glass Town Game by Catherynne M. Valente

Book Review

Illustration: Rebecca Green
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: September 4th, 2018 (first publication: September 5th, 2017)
Genre: Middle-Grade Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Buy Links: Kinokuniya Malaysia | MPH Online
Source: Huge thanks to Pansing Distribution for the review copy in exchange for an honest review.


Charlotte and Emily Brontë enter a fantasy world that they invented in order to rescue their siblings in this “lovely, fanciful” (Booklist, starred review) novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.

Inside a small Yorkshire parsonage, Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne Brontë have invented a game called Glass Town, where their toy soldiers fight Napoleon and no one dies. This make-believe land helps the four escape from a harsh reality: Charlotte and Emily are being sent away to a dangerous boarding school. But then something incredible happens: a train whisks them all away to a real Glass Town, and the children trade the moors for a wonderland all their own.

This is their Glass Town…almost. Their Napoleon never rode into battle on a fire-breathing porcelain rooster. And the soldiers can die; wars are fought over a potion that raises the dead, a potion Anne would very much like to bring back to England. But returning is out of the question—Charlotte will never go back to that horrible school.

Together the Brontë siblings must battle their own imaginations in this magical celebration of authorship, creativity, and classic literature from award-winning author Catherynne M. Valente.


The story follows with the four children name - Charlotte, Emily, Branwell, and Anne - where they create their own imaginary game called The Glass Town Game. Each of them has their own toys and creating their own story and play among themselves. However, the Beastliest day has reached which Charlotte and Emily have to go back to their school while Branwell and Anne stay at home with their father, aunt, and the maid. During the day of going back to school, their father has instructed Branwell to sent Charlotte and Emily along with Anne and that's when the weird things happened to them at the train station which they jump to that opportunity. When they start their journey, they realize that it is the town that they invented. All the toys come alive and they very much excited but things do not how they imagine. Charlotte and Emily have to find ways to save their brother, Branwell, and sister, Anne who has been kidnapped. 

The Glass Town Game is honestly an interesting story. It brings out your inner child. Remember when we all are kids, we invented our own stories from the toys we played with. Ahh, those days was seriously wonderful. Reading this made me remember those days and it was exciting though I, honestly kind of struggling to follow the story. At one time I finally get to connect with the story and the characters but then, somehow, I don't. Somehow, I did find the story a bit dull to me. There's one time I felt like I want to just skim through the pages but I don't. It's all because I need to know the whole story and I made it! 

The writing style was so beautiful and I love the way Valente uses the literary allusion but sometimes, I don't really get what it means so that slows me down a bit in which, I think the younger reader might encounter this such problem otherwise, it was a wonderfully written. I was star struck with Valente's writing even though this is my first reading book written by her.

Overall, the story is fascinating enough that excites me here and there. The writing was wonderful. It just that I may the one who a bit struggling to get really connected with the story and the characters itself. To be honest, I was annoyed with Branwell for the first half and it's getting better after that. Personally, I think I'm going to re-read it sometime soon. Who knows this time I might connect with the whole story and characters. I truly want to give it a second chance. But for now, this is what I felt and I want you to know, this is a wonderful story and you should consider to read it.

1 comment

Hannah Bailey said…
Four children find themselves in a magical world. Sounds familiar? Not when the children are Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne Bronte, and the magical world is the one they created playing with their toys! Hilarious in places, sad in others, absolutely textured and beautiful worldbuilding. Lots of easter eggs for people who have read the Brontes!