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Falcon in the Glass

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  286 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
A boy risks his life to save some very special children in this fantasy adventure rife with “moments of real beauty and mystery” (Kirkus Reviews), set amidst the rich backdrop of Renaissance Venice.

In Renaissance Venice, the secrets of glassblowing are guarded jealously. Renzo, a twelve-year-old laborer in a glassworks, has just a few months to prepare for a test of his ab
ebook, 320 pages
Published July 9th 2013 by Margaret K. McElderry Books (first published July 1st 2013)
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The Styling Librarian
I just love how vividly Susan creates the setting for her books. I always feel like with her imagery I can step into the community/time period and really view the world. I was quite excited to read her newly released, yes you can get this fantastic book NOW!! book, Falcon in the Glass.

My thoughts on Falcon in the Glass: What an experience, to go back in time to life in Venice in the 15th century and experience life through a glass maker laborer’s existence. I always love how Susan Fletcher can s
Apr 17, 2013 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review

Falcon in the Glass by Susan Fletcher
302 pgs.
Target audience: Middle Reader
Rating: Wizard

In the late fifteenth century on the island of Murano, Italy, Renzo longs to be a glassmaker like his father before him. When his father is murdered, Renzo’s only option is to work as a drudge in his uncle’s studio until he can prove his glassmaking skills enough to pass a test in just two weeks. If he fails not only are his dreams shattered but along with it any hope of supporting his mother and sister. He
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Actual Rating: 2.5 stars

During my junior year of college, I was lucky enough to get to travel to Italy. Part of the trip was Venice and a quick jaunt out to Murano. Ever since I’ve been unable to resist any book set in Murano, not that it’s easy to resist any book set anywhere I haven’t traveled or want to travel. Still, Murano, for some reason, has a special place in my heart. Thus, though I’d not really heard much about this middle grade title, I could not resist it. While I did enjoy the sett
Oct 07, 2013 Terri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in Venice during the Renaissance, "Falcon in the Glass" is a work of historical fiction. Susan Fletcher's meticulously researched Young Adult novel does a nice job of bringing the period to life for the reader.

Renzo lives with his mother and younger sister, Pia. Renzo's father, killed by an assassin,left him the lasting legacy of being a glassmaker. As the story begins, Renzo is working tirelessly late at night to prepare for his padrone's test. Should he pass the test, he will be taken on a
In 15th century Murano, Italy, Renzo yearns to be a glassmaker like his father. However, because his uncle Vittorio dared to leave the island--glassmakers are forbidden to leave in case they might spread the secrets of the glass--Renzo's father was killed in retribution. Now Renzo works as a drudge in another glassmaker's shop, hoping to prove himself good enough to become an apprentice. What he doesn't count on is the bird children. No one quite knows who they are; a gaggle of green-eyed childr ...more
Cindy Hudson
Sep 12, 2013 Cindy Hudson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Renzo dreams of becoming the greatest glassblower on Murano, the island near Venice where many beautiful glass pieces are created each day. But since his father’s death he has been forced to prove himself early in the hopes that he can become an apprentice and help support his mother and young sister.

His task is much harder, because he’s not allowed to have anyone help him learn what he needs to know before he is tested. When he happens across a band of children who have a mysterious connection
Jun 29, 2014 Alexis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Younger teens
Shelves: ya
I'll rate this book a solid 4/5. I liked the characters and the premise. The bits of glassmaking knowledge in the book and the fact that in the beginning it largely focuses on glassmaking made me thoroughly enjoy reading.
I honestly found myself waning towards the end of the book. Renzo's hesitancy to get up and DO SOMETHING drove me pretty crazy. Towards the beginning he is strong in what he wants to do and takes steps to accomplish that goal. In the end he becomes hesitant and fearful of the c
Jennifer Heise
Jul 12, 2013 Jennifer Heise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fantasy
There's only a sniff of magic in this volume, but the glassblowing story and history is magical enough to make up for it. I liked the complex motivations of all the characters, but I admit they were more told than shown (probably par for the course for a middle grade book). The boy struggles with questions of loyalty and what it means to do the right thing, especially when doing the right thing could endanger your family. Other males in the story struggle with similar issues, a bit darker. The m ...more
It's not the most memorable of plot lines or characters, but the commitment and appreciation of setting is a tremendous boon. Set in a Renaissance Venice glass blower-y, The Falcon in the Glass captures a young adult's struggle to find their place in a world that doesn't involve a single school (but has a big chunk of teaching), that has no cliques, but definitely deals with class and sectarianism.

It's rare to find really well done historical YA fiction, let alone historical YA fiction that delv
Feb 21, 2014 Kris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Falcon in the Glass was a surprisingly sophisticated and well researched novel. Fletcher mixes historical fact with light fantasy (children who speak to birds) and has crafted a creative and adventurous story. She also intersperses details of life in Italy during the 1200s as well as the art of making Venetian glass and the witch hunts that occurred during that period in time.
May 13, 2017 Annette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've recently had the pleasure of stumbling across two good YA fantasies. First, the excellent Stoneheart trilogy by Charlie Fletcher. And second, this little gem by Susan Fletcher (and not coincidentally just next door to the first on the library shelf!)
Set in 13th century Murano, "Falcon in the Glass" follows would-be glassmaker's apprentice Renzo as he struggles to earn his place in the glassworks after his father's murder. This was challenge enough, but then a group of freezing, starving or
Michal Hope
Renzo is the son of a murdered glassblower and is striving to be as good a glassblower as his father. He works for a new padrone as a drudge, almost lowest on the totem pole. He practices glassblowing at night and meets a group of children led by Letta, green eyed girl with a bird (kestrel). Renzo earns Letta's trust and Letta becomes his apprentice, giving him "sight" to form glass falcons. This talent is what earns Renzo his apprenticeship at the glassworks, but it comes at a price. The childr ...more
Nov 22, 2015 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Cool setting with interesting details about glassmaking, which I find fascinating. But -- good grief, the characters! Renzo is utterly spineless the first half of the book. Urchins who aren't even supposed to be around the studio (see earlier incidence of spinelessness) smash expensive goblets for which Renzo could lose his precarious job and all future prospects. Yet a couple of quelling comments from the lead girl later, and he's convinced that he is the one being selfish. Um. I know 13 year o ...more
Oct 08, 2013 Ariel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: histfic, mg
I enjoyed the historical aspect of this book. It's about Renzo, an apprentice glassblower on the island of Murano off Venice in the 18th century. He's lost his father and has to make his way in the world for himself, his mother and his little sister. Renzo's Murano is a cruel but fascinating world of extremes: of dukes and palaces on the one hand, and crippled beggars, assassins and public executions on the other. I loved learning about the glassmaking and that part reminded me of silversmithing ...more
Miss Amanda
gr 4-8 300pgs

1497, Murano Island, Italy. Renzo has always dreamed of making beautiful things out of glass just like his father. When his father is murdered as punishment for his brother leaving the island (something glassmakers are forbidden to do), Renzo is forced to study under another glassmaker and is only given a matter of months to practice on his own for a test he should have had help and years to prepare for. Who can he ask for help? When he finds a girl named Letta hiding in the glasswo
Renzo's dearest wish is to be as great a glassblower as his father was, but somehow he can't manage the knack, despite constant practice at night, when everyone else has gone home. Time is running out for him to take the apprentice test. Meanwhile, rumors are floating about of strange children and their birds who aren't quite pets; children who were once celebrated for their performing abilities but who now are outcast. Renzo is soon to find his path crossing with theirs in a high-stakes situati ...more
Aug 18, 2013 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
Fletcher's MG historical novel set in fifteenth century Venice is a charmer. Her elegant prose and vivd details of setting more than make up for the traditional plot and sometimes spare characters. Renzo longs for nothing more than to become a glassmaker's apprentice so that he can support his family after the death of his Papa, one of Murano's padrones of glass. Despite his concerns, he is moved to help one of the bird children when he encounters her seeking shelter in the factory late at night ...more
Andrew Marr
Sep 27, 2014 Andrew Marr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a gracefully written story about a glassblower apprentice in the Venetian Republic. Renzo's quest for mastery in his craft is interrupted by the infiltration of a young adolescent girl and a brood of younger children who need food and warmth that he can grant them when he works feverishly in the middle of the night. Because of their uncanny bonding with birds and their vagabond existence, the children are accused of witchcraft and threatened with hanging. Absorbed in learning his craft, ...more
Jul 30, 2013 Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
This kind of book really bugs me! I look at the clock-- its 2:00AM! Eyelids feel like sandpaper--one eye closed--one eye seriously drooping. I can't quit reading. Mercifully unaware the book falls to the floor and I'm out till sunrise. Exhausted. I have a full day and the book nags at me. I walk by it too many times averting my eyes. All the pretend people soundlessly yelling "what about me!". The day drags by till I am able to surrender my time and thoughts to the final pages. Glad it doesn't h ...more
Maria Burnham
Oct 19, 2013 Maria Burnham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is classified as a middle school fantasy book, but I would disagree with this classification. It reads more like historical fiction, and I think the book would be appropriate for high school students as well. Set in the Renaissance era of Italy, the setting alone captured my attention. The story centers around the art of glassmaking, and the precision of the craft is beautifully illustrated in the pages of the story. A good read, strong characters and an interesting story. Definitely o ...more
Sep 28, 2013 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable tale about a young boy whose dream is to become one of the great glassmakers of Murano. His chances are slim because his father was killed, his family is in disgrace, but he gets up night after night to practice in the hopes of passing the apprentice test. I liked the descriptions of glass blowing and shaping - even when the result was a bit of glass to toss into the trash. Young Renzo gets tied up with a group of beggar children and has to make some difficult choices about family, his ...more
This book had my attention and interest until bout 3/4 the way through. Even though Renzo made decisions I didn't like, he was a young boy trying to figure out where the lines are and how to find the way to navigate through them. The end seemed rushed and left me dissatisfied and disappointed. I felt let down. It was worth reading and I liked it but I can 't go more than 2.5-3 stars because of the ending.
Jay Dee
Jan 11, 2015 Jay Dee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am thinking that no one writes better historical fiction than Susan Fletcher. I loved Shadow Spinner and still have success in getting middle school kids to read that book. Falcon in the Glass, set in 1490s Venice, is so cleverly written - kids will be pulled in by the chemistry between the two main characters, Renzo and Letta. Mystery, intrigue, adventure, witchcraft, assassins - could Fletcher have packed any more action into the book? I think not.
Oct 23, 2013 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's the late 1400s, and Renzo is working to become a glass blower so he can support his mother and sister. When he encounters a group of unusual "bird children," he befriends the homeless kids and must eventually choose if and how he helps them. Told from different viewpoints, the reader gets a sense of Venice, glass blowing, ideas about witchcraft at that time, and the struggle to be true to one's personal responsibilities and one's heart.
Laura Mitchell
Apr 25, 2016 Laura Mitchell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent characters, and good plot. I particularly enjoyed the emotional journey of the main character, who starts out with some resentment over the loss of his father and is driven by the need to succeed at his father's craft to support his mother and sister. But are there other meanings to the term "family"? And other needs to meet? And other ways to succeed? I really liked it and highly recommend it for those interested in the city of Venice and glassworking.
Laura Phelps
Jan 04, 2014 Laura Phelps rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: possiblemsba2013
Set in 15th century Venice, a young boy is learning the glass making trade after his father is killed by an assassin. He discovers a homeless group of children who have an uncanny ability to communicate with birds and he begins caring for them in the glass making workshop. Sympathetic characters, fast paced storyline, beautiful and intriguing setting and the combination of mystery and magic make this an unusually compelling historical fiction offering.
I liked the book but the beginning and the very end was confusing as well as the story line. in this book there is a glass worker who hires a so called "witch" to help him pass a test so he can become a glass maker. I rated this book four stars just because of the confusing parts at the beginning and end.
Nov 23, 2014 Shamika rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was a little disappointing. I liked it at the start, but I felt that it had no real plot. It had an abrupt and confusing ending, and the story never really escalated. It was somewhat boring, yet somewhat interesting. Just one last thing- I really suggest that you don't do this for a book report or other like thing.
Katie Ark
Jan 01, 2015 Katie Ark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Amanda R.
Cover Story: Literal
BFF Charm: Eventually
Swoonworthy Scale: 3
Talky Talk: Beware the Creeping Dark
Bonus Factors: Venice, Familiars, Assassins
Relationship Status: Birds of a Feather

Read the full book report here.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information. Please do, however, be aware that this thread is no longer kept up to date.

Susan Fletcher is the author of a popular trilogy that includes the books Dragon's Milk, Flight of the Dragon Kyn, and Sign of the Dove, as well as of several other novels for young readers.

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