A Gleaming Shard of Glass

Fiction - Dystopia
356 Pages
Reviewed on 07/26/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Sowon Kim, born in South Korea, is an author, translator, and social entrepreneur. As the daughter of missionaries, she moved to Peru with her family when she was just three months old. She hopes to raise awareness about the diverse social issues happening around the world through her stories, as well as inspire fellow teenagers to raise their voices. When she’s not typing on her keyboard (whether it be because of writing or schoolwork), Sowon can be seen swimming, reading, surfing, learning foreign languages, or translating for Lost Island Press and non-profit organizations. She is also obsessed with her adorable cat, Lucky.

Sowon started writing her debut novel A Gleaming Shard of Glass at the age of thirteen. She also translated Leaving Wishville from English to Spanish when she was fourteen years old.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite

In A Gleaming Shard of Glass by Sowon Kim, life in Nepenthe seems to be almost perfect. There is no homelessness, everyone works in a job they love for which they have a real talent. However, when something seems too good to be true, there is surely a downside to it. In the case of Nepenthe, it is a rather dark downside. Children have to undergo a test twice a year to prove whether they are useful enough to society. The children or teenagers who fail the test are sent to prison and are no longer seen as human beings. They are only 'creatures'. Grecia, the story's heroine, is 14 years old when the unimaginable happens: she fails the test even though she is one of the best in her field. She has one chance to avoid her prison sentence, but it means that she needs to go into the wilds and leave Nepenthe forever. After fleeing, Grecia meets others like her, and life becomes much more challenging than before. Will she ever see her mother again and will she find out the truth behind the test?

I was amazed when I discovered that Sowon Kim, the author of A Gleaming Shard of Glass, was just 15 years old. While I wrote at that age as well, I certainly did not create something anywhere near as intriguing. While reading the book, I always assumed the author would be older. Much of the plot can be connected to the darker side of human society and the way some countries seem to be going - where critical thought about the country, even if it's valid, brands you as a traitor. I found the story to be entertaining and thought-provoking. Authors rarely surprise me, but in this case, I was a bit mad at the conclusion as I didn't expect the book to end the way it did. Although the ending made sense, it was a shocker. It also left room for a sequel and I'd love to read it. It would be pretty interesting to see what impact the climax would have on the society involved and the various characters in it.

Bin Userkaf

This is THEE Dystopian!!!

This book checks all my favorite Dystopian boxes - a flawed world that seems like it wouldn't be half bad to live in until you focus on the details and foundations and fundamental (and very relatable to our word) wrongness that's there; a protagonist on the fence about that world who, in challenging it is able to challenge herself and everything she's thought about it; an amazing cast of characters and themes that can resonate with anyone and leave you with food for thought and steps to take toward living a fuller life after closing it!

I felt like a 12 year old myself reading this which is just as well sine that's when I read my first Dystopian and I can honestly say that this book redeems the genre so well - the passion and beauty that went into this book...it's so clear to see and i am honored to have had the opportunity of consuming it before it's release on July 9th of this year!!

Know that I will NEVER stop talking about this book and it's beautiful prose, memorable characters, timely humor or important themes and since I won't shut up - YOU MAY AS WELL READ IT SO WE CAN TALK ABOUT IT TOGETHER!!!

Halen Lock

Perhaps A Gleaming Shard of Glass should be a best-seller.

I'll be completely honest with you. This book took me three hours to read in one sitting. This story hooks you from the start and keeps you turning the pages. Best of all, it does not let you down. Sowon Kim proves that it doesn't matter how old you are; you can write the best book in the world at fourteen years old, with a beautiful narrative and incredibly well fleshed out morally grey characters.

Yes, you heard correctly. The best book in the world is A Gleaming Shard of Glass. That may sound insane, but it's true for me. I cried three times while reading this book, which has never happened before. I went into this book with a few bad names in mind and ended up loving every single character. That's how talented Sowon Kim is at creating characters.


I was a beta reader for this book, and even in its early stages, I already knew that A Gleaming Shard of Glass would be my single most favorite book of all time. I’m usually more of a series reader because I just tend to feel like most stories can’t fit all the drama, suspense, and emotional engagement in just one book. This book was the exception.

First of all, the characters. They are the hinge point of this entire story. I felt like every single name was a living and breathing person, which is a hard thing to accomplish. If intense, emotional, and morally gray is your kind of read, this is the story to go for.

Next, the quality of the content. Every plot twist, story beat, and snippet of dialogue is so intentional and well-thought out. Some parts had me crying while others had me throwing my tablet across my bed. (true story) Everything just draws you right in.

Lastly, I’d like to give a huge shoutout to the vibe of this book. If you’re looking for a book that is just jam-packed with mystery and intrigue coated in a thick layer of dark secrets and mixed intentions, this story has all that and more. From the first word to The End, every sentence in between is full of suspense that makes you hold your breath then knocks the wind right outta you with sinister revelations.

Overall, this book is my favorite book. Hands down. Period. No cap. I see a super bright future for this book and I am so happy to be a part of even just a snippet of this process. Reading this story was the best literary choice I’ve made in a long time XD.


Despite the characters being way younger than me, I still really enjoyed this book. The way it was written was beautiful and thought provoking. I’ll be honest, when I seen the other reviews for this book, I thought it they were over exaggerating. Trust me, they’re not.

I will say that there is times where I think that some of the themes are more for mature audiences rather than younger ones. I would recommend looking up trigger warnings before starting.

I love how well rounded all the characters are, even ones that aren’t in the story for long. I wish to maybe get more on this world in the point of view as one of the side characters in the future.

Overall, I highly recommend this book and I’m definitely going to be reading other works by Sowon Kim.


„A Gleaming Shard of Glass“ is a unique dystopian novel with futuristic scientific elements. The setting is a ficitional totalitarian city called Nepenthe. I loved the fact that the author critizes the whole concept of a totalitarian system in a very unique different way. At first, I was not very happy with Grecia, the main character of the story. However, in the end she has become my hero for a reason. I highly recommend this book, especially to younger readers and lovers for dystopian novels.


my thoughts in a nutshell: