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Valour and Vanity (Glamourist Histories #4)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,431 Ratings  ·  231 Reviews
Acclaimed fantasist Mary Robinette Kowal has enchanted many fans with her beloved novels featuring a Regency setting in which magic--known here as glamour--is real. In Valour and Vanity, master glamourists Jane and Vincent find themselves in the sort of a magical adventure that might result if Jane Austen wrote Ocean's Eleven.

After Melody's wedding, the Ellsworths and Vinc
Hardcover, 405 pages
Published April 29th 2014 by Tor Books
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Olga Godim
Jun 20, 2014 Olga Godim rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
Big publishers (like Tor, who published this book) have an annoying custom to let their marketing departments dictate their titles. Sometimes it works, but other times, it doesn’t. It didn’t work for this novel. The title the marketers came up with – Valour and Vanity – is too generic, while the novel is not generic at all. Its distinct writer’s voice, original magical system, and unique protagonists can’t be mistaken or even compared to any other in the fantasy genre.
A fast and enjoyable read,
Jun 14, 2015 Nikki rated it really liked it
These books seem to be just perfect for my brain at the moment. I read this on the train, more or less in one gulp. You’ve got to love that one of the most important threads of the story is the love between Vincent and Jane, and how it gets them through everything, no matter what. And despite how far their acts of derring-do have come from their Austen-esque beginnings in Shades of Milk and Honey, the development is clear. This time, the trouble they get into grows out of everything before (rath ...more
May 22, 2015 Sunil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2014
"Jane Austen does Ocean's Eleven." Stop. Read no further. That is all you need to know about this book. If you have not read the first three Glamourist Histories books, go read them now just so you can read this book (you don't actually have to, but it makes for a richer experience, as with any series).

In Valour and Vanity, Jane and Vincent, professional glamourists, journey to Vienna to hang out with Lord Byron (LORD BYRON) and continue studying Glamour in Glass (the technique, not the book).
Full disclosure: Mary is a dear, dear friend of mine, in addition to writing books that are aimed DIRECTLY AT ME as a reader. I would have a very difficult time not enjoying this book.

Every book in this series pleases me more. Not just because this is a romance novel with a heist plot, WHICH IT IS. (She describes it as "if Jane Austen wrote Ocean's Eleven"). It reminds me very much of the TV show Leverage, but with glamour (magic in this world), pirates, Lord Byron, nuns, boat chases, and a stre
3.75 stars

Jane and Vincent are traveling in Italy with her parents, Melody and Melody's new husband. The time has come to part. While the Ellsworths, Melody and her husband will go on exploring the Continent, Jane and Vincent are headed to Murano to continue their experiments with glamour in glass. Mrs. Ellsworth is terrified their ship will be set upon by pirates. Jane is sympathetic but Vincent knows there's no such thing as pirates in this part of the world. Imagine everyone's surprise when c
Nancy O'Toole
May 14, 2014 Nancy O'Toole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, fantasy
Valour and Vanity is the fourth book in Mary Robinette Kowal's Glamourist History series, which I can officially say has really become one of my favorite series. In this book, Jane and Vincent travel to Venice, only to be robbed by pirates on their way. Left destitute, Jane and Vincent must depend on the charity of others to survive an reclaim their status.

One of the things I really like about this series is the strength of its characters. Jane and Vincent are pretty much my favorite couple in f
Apr 30, 2014 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, april, 2014
With each entry in the Glamourist series, Mary Robinette Kowal keeps getting better and better. We the reader can enjoy a large cast of wonderfully drawn characters, a deep look at Regency-era society, military intrigue, the most intricate of daily life details, magic and wonder -- and here, a lovely spin on the caper novel. Not to be missed.
Renee Babcock
A pretty decent addition to the series although the ending was just too much of an infodump for me. I never feltI had a chance yon figure things out but rather it was all well you know here's what our plan was all along and oh yeah we figured out these details without letting you the reader in on how we did it.

Also for some reason I found the interactions between Jane and David annoying. She expresses concern, he tells her he's fine, she gets frustrated and we repeat the whole series again, seve
Apr 28, 2014 Jaylia3 rated it it was amazing
My review of Valour and Vanity, Mary Robinette Kowal's new fourth book in the Glamourist History series, is now up on the wonderful AustenProse website.

It begins:

I have thoroughly enjoyed the first three books of the Glamourist History series which has only gotten better as it goes on, but when I read the description of the fourth book I wasn’t positive that improving trend would continue, at least for me. Pirates? The Regency version of a heist film? Those may appeal to many but aren’t my prefe
Jan 30, 2016 Cindy rated it liked it
I thought both of the Vincents were a little irritating in this one, mostly David with his insistence that he was just fine. It wasn't really much fun until the end. Hope the next one is better.
Jun 02, 2014 Priscilla rated it it was amazing
The blurb speaks truth. All you need to know to determine whether or not this book is for you is "Jane Austen does Ocean's Eleven." It's every bit as delightful as those five words suggest! I would recommend reading the prior three books in the series first, because they're excellent, and they're full of more instances of AWESOME LADIES BEING AWESOME IN REGENCY PERIOD-APPROPRIATE WAYS.

I adore this series, and I adore Mary Robinette Kowal for giving us a courageous, intelligent, sympathetic, hero
Jessica Strider
Jul 22, 2014 Jessica Strider rated it really liked it
Pros: gut-wrenching scenes, interesting situation, fun characters

Cons: they’re helped a surprising amount

Vincent and Jane head to Murano to try to make their verre obscurcie with a local glassmaker. But their ship is waylaid by pirates and things go downhill from there.

This is the fourth book of the Glamourist Histories, and is a great continuation. The couple fall upon bad circumstances and must work hard to regain their former standing. As with the other books there’s a personal mystery that
Kathy Martin
Oct 09, 2015 Kathy Martin rated it really liked it
In this adventure, Jane and Vincent are on the their way to Murano to work with glassmakers to further develop the process they invented in Glamour in Glass. However, on the way they are beset by Corsairs, robbed of all their possessions and Vincent is concussed. They find themselves in Murano destitute. Luckily, they are taken in by a fellow victim of the Corsairs named Sanuto. He claims to be a wealthy banker from Venice.

Jane writes to her parents for assistance but her parents are traveling
Apr 27, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
Favorite part on this book was Vincent’s and Jane’s relationship. With all the trials and tribulations thrown at them this volume, their strong love and support for each other stand out in stark relief. I love how it didn’t take the entire book to reach the point where both parties are confiding in each other and coming to workable solutions to their problems. Both are honest for most of the book, a refreshing change from other romantic relationships out there.

It was interesting to see a Venice
Feb 01, 2016 wishforagiraffe rated it it was amazing
The heist storyline for Valour and Vanity sweeps you along, it was incredibly hard to put down. Mary talks a bit about her writing process in the back of the book, and all I can say is that the intent she had to make it read the way that a heist movie watches definitely worked. The historical figures and the Venetian setting were a definite highlight of the story as well.
Jun 20, 2014 Alexandra rated it it was amazing
I continue to adore these books. That's all you really need to know, right?

Valour-and-VanityThis is the fourth book in the Glamourist Histories, in which Mary Robinette Kowal creates an alt version of the English Regency period and gives it 'glamour', a form of magic that is generally used to decorate the sitting rooms of the gentry but which can also (we discovered in the last book) be used to create cold, and which maybe just might have military uses as well. I think this book could stand by i
Despite the fact that I generally am not a fan of heist movies (and similar-type books), I think this was my favorite of the series so far.

The combination of a maturing relationship between Vincent and Jane, plus valor in the face of true adversity is what did it for me. Oh, and puppets! :D
Dec 22, 2015 Charlene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Jane and Vincent have to be one of my favorite fictional couples EVER. There's something about the two of them together that makes me all melty inside. They are just perfect. And in this book, their relationship takes a strain but that only makes them stronger. It's wonderful!

The story has the premise of Jane Austen meets Ocean's Eleven. The Regency romance aspect recedes into the background when the Vincents are taken advantage of by some unscrupulous thieves and they have to find a way to get
Amanda Cook
Jun 30, 2014 Amanda Cook rated it it was amazing
Kowal has done it again. Each book in the Glamourist Histories is better than the last, partly because her magic system seems more developed with each story.

When I first heard this book described as "Jane Austen meets Ocean's Eleven...with magic," I thought "What?!?" But it's true! Somehow, Kowal has managed to mix a historically accurate setting (and one real-life character) with a fantastical plot and created pure magic. I found myself reading the twists (it's a heist story; there will be twi
Nov 10, 2015 Cheryl rated it it was ok
Shelves: magical-realism
I'm torn about how to rate this one. I was thoroughly enjoying it at first, but I got stuck around 40% of the way through and put the book aside for a few weeks before I was able to continue. I probably should have learned my lesson with the previous two books, because in each of those, there came a point where something truly awful happened to Vincent and Jane, and those events really upset me. (Full disclosure: I struggle with depression, so I may be overly sensitive to bad things happening to ...more
Jan 04, 2015 Bookworm rated it it was ok
A letdown from her previous efforts. Jane and Vincent are are still married, still together and still using glamour. This time, their adventures take them to Italy, Lord Byron (yes, THAT Lord Byron), and more mystery, intrigue and possibly scandal.

The book starts off with a bang as the ship Jane and Vincent travel on are boarded by...PIRATES! Oh no! Stripped of their possessions, there's not much they can do but travel on to Italy, where they hope to meet with Lord Byron and perhaps find their w
I feel like my reviews should also come with some notes on behavior. I have 4 other things sitting around that I've been meaning to read and yet I finished this the day I got it.

This was definitely a higher 3 star than the previous one. I was less bothered by the language because there were fewer characters who were ostensibly speaking English.

Also, the nuns. The nuns were excellent. So was Byron. (view spoiler)
colleen the fabulous fabulaphile

The best part of this story, I think, is that the annoyingly stupid Emma-Jane from the last book is no more! Yay!

Also gone is most of the historical and political bits from the last book, which is a little less yay - which isn't to say the story's not still grounded in the alt-history, as the Venice portrayed is suffering post Bonaparte and heavily taxed, and this does play an important part of the story - but it's less involved than the last story.

Anyway -

As the blurb says, while previous bo
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
Jane and Vincent have been accompanying Melody and her new husband on their wedding tour of the continent. Leaving the newlyweds with their parents, Jane and Vincent head to Murano. Lord Byron has given the Vincents an open invitation to visit him in Venice, which is a nice cover for what they what to do in Murano. They have long wanted to visit the famed glassmakers there after their discovery about weaving magic into glass to make it portable and not tethered to the earth. The couple hope that ...more
Nov 21, 2013 Seawood rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I received a copy direct from the author, since I'm helping out with a beta read later in the series and this wasn't available in my country at the time. In fact I don't think it's out yet at all so no real detail, sorry.

This is fantastic. I've read books 2-4 in the series one after the other - I would say "like sweeties" but it's more like "amazing cake that you can't say no to and doesn't make you feel sick". Mary is doing a wonderful job of growing the characters of Jane and Vince
Jul 09, 2015 Leilani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
My attention wandered a bit during the final heist-related part - heist stories just don't interest me. But the rest of the book was a wonderful portrait of two strong characters in a healthy, passionate marriage, working through life's twists & turns together, in a fun exotic setting. Highly enjoyable!
Tasha Turner
Was pretty good. I still enjoy the characters and the world. This book didn't work for me quite as much as previous books in the series but I can't put my finger on why. At one point I did wonder what the plot was... Possibly reading the book jacket and knowing it was a heist would have helped... I did enjoy how the couple works together or not as the case may be. Plenty of humor. As always great descriptions and the author always does her homework. Regency is one of my favorite time periods but ...more
Henry Lazarus
Jun 12, 2014 Henry Lazarus rated it it was ok
Mary Robinette Kowal sends Glamorists Jane and Vincent to Venice where they intend to work with glass makers to improve their process of putting glamour into glass. Alas an attack by pirates leaves them penniless until they can contact family. Then, using after using loans, they find their work stolen and them accused of being thieves. It’s all a scam, or course. Valour and Vanity (hard from Tor) is the fun tale of how they turn the tables on their scammers aided by the poet Lord Byron who also ...more
Hannah (Filia Libri)
Again, the series got clearly better after the pretty mediocre first installment though it's still pretty shallow - but entertaining nevertheless!
Aug 06, 2014 Robert rated it liked it
A writer who can toss French and Italian around with ease and doesn't know the difference between "lie" and "lay". A sign of the times, I suppose.

I didn't like this book as much as the previous three. Can't put my finger on it. A fiendishly complicated plot with lots of excitement plus several twists at the end, and an exciting start too, but there seems to be a lot of not very much in the middle. I'm still hooked n this series, but I understand either this is the end or at best the penultimate
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Feb 16, 2015 02:05AM  
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Mary Robinette Kowal was the 2008 recipient of the Campbell Award for Best New Writer and her short story "For Want of a Nail" won the 2011 Hugo. Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov’s, and several Year's Best anthologies. She is the author of Shades of Milk and Honey and Glamour in Glass (Tor 2012).

Mary, a professional puppeteer and voice actor, has performed for LazyTown (CB
More about Mary Robinette Kowal...

Other Books in the Series

Glamourist Histories (5 books)
  • Shades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories, #1)
  • Glamour in Glass (Glamourist Histories, #2)
  • Without a Summer (Glamourist Histories, #3)
  • Of Noble Family (Glamourist Histories, #5)

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“Then Sister Aquinata abandoned the nonviolent methods and produced a rolling pin from somewhere.” 1 likes
“Mama! They must take ship. It is an island. One does not simply walk into Murano.” 0 likes
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