Not one to shrink from a challenge, author Catherynne M. Valente creates a story of the tween-age Brontë children on a wildly imaginative life-or-death quest in a world they made up themselves. The Glass Town Game's barrage of surreal characters, literary references and in-jokes, historical figures, random events, and moral quandaries won't be every reader's dish, and there are times when it doesn't quite come together. But as often happens in Valente's works, occasional moments of wry humor, poignant sadness, or triumphant sweetness more than reward the sometimes-bumpy trek to get there.
"'Charlotte, I dreamed we were back at School,' choked Emily, her mouth horribly dry.
"'Don't worry, Em,' Charlotte said, smiling as hard as she could while she smoothed her dress and tucked her hair back into place. 'We're only in an insane, upside-down world populated by our toys, our stories, and Napoleon riding a giant chicken on fire. Nothing so bad as School.'"