I loved Shades of Milk and Honey, the first book in Kowal's Regency era fantasy series, and I mostly loved this one, too. Like, 95% loved it.
I continue to adore the magic system: It's quiet and somewhat sedate, but in creative, inventive hands, allows for WICKED COOL USAGE.
I love that in addition to the fantasy, it works very much as historical fiction—Jane and Vincent are in Belgium for their honeymoon, and Napoleon figures in heavily—and as a romance.
More pluses: The language and the writing, the attention to detail and the pure, awesome geekery of the author. In the Author's Note—DO NOT MISS IT—Kowal talks about how she created a dictionary comprised of Jane Austen's books and ran her manuscript of Glamour and Glass against it. She researched the history of every single word that the dictionary didn't contain, and she lists some that surprised her (and some that she kept anyway). She also talks a bit about how her world diverges from our own, and about what anachronisms she knowingly included. (Which is so much cooler than a blanket "IT'S ALT-HISTORY, ANYTHING GOES!" attitude. Ahem. In my opinion, anyway.)
You know that storyline where the heroine gets deliriously happily married and everything is awesome and so on BUT THEN she starts thinking OH NOES, MAYBE HE DOESN'T ACTUALLY REALLY LOVE ME? It's one of my least favorite storylines, and that's much of what goes on with the romance thread in Glamour in Glass. To be fair, Vincent is EXTREMELY withdrawn and irritable and distracted—which is especially bad considering they're on their honeymoon—so it's understandable that Jane would have those feelings, but it's not my fave. That is, of course, MY STUFF, and it totally works in terms of characterization—even drawing on the first book, because for various reasons, Jane doesn't have loads of confidence in herself as A Lovable Person—so really, unless you also dislike that storyarc, it's not much of a Con at all.
Also, while I love that the cover art incorporates bubbles (there's a whole important thread about using spheres of glamour), I can't help but feel that the model is WAAAAAY more conventionally attractive than Jane. I loved the cover art on the first book because I felt that it really captured that. Her dress, though, is BEAUTIFUL, and I have no beef whatsoever with it. Except that I don't own one.
Fans of the first one, fantasy-loving fans of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, anyone who likes fantasy that really delves into the mechanics of magic systems, fans of any of the above who also have an interest in artists and their techniques.
I finally, finally got around to the sequel to Incarceron! Finn is now outside the prison, but is not really any less of a prisoner: he's suddenly living in a world of strict social protocol and every misstep he makes acts to further convince everyone—including Claudia, who until now has been his strongest supporter—that he's an impostor, rather than a long-lost prince.
Meanwhile, Finn's allies within Incarceron are still searching for a way to escape: they're hunting for Sapphique's magic glove, which might not even exist... but the prison is working against them, and it wants to find a way to escape itself.
Like the first book, the world-building is HUGE and RICH and DARK and COMPLEX. The cultures on the inside and the outside of Incarceron are distinctly different, but it's always clear that regardless of what side of the wall each character resides on, every single one of them is a prisoner in some way. Including Incarceron itself, which is a mindbleep and a half.
In addition to the world-building, the storyline is exciting, and the characters are worth caring about, the pacing is, like, BREAKNECK, and the whole thing is BANANAS in the best kind of way. Incarceron was super, but Sapphique was even better.
Erm. None for me, though it's not going to be an across-the-board crowdpleaser: see above about the DARK and BANANAS.
Fans of the first one. I wouldn't recommend it as a stand-alone.
G&G: ILLed through my library.
S: ARC provided by the publisher a looooong time ago.