Armor of Glass

A Novel

Fiction - General
258 Pages
Reviewed on 07/04/2014
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Eduardo Aduna for Readers' Favorite

Armor of Glass is an emotional and harrowing journey through the domestic turmoil that has become the life of an ex-Marine. Brick reminisces on his daily train ride, thinking about the decisions he has made in his life. From his childhood days to his current life, we see the world through the eyes of a man whose emotions have been battered, frayed, dulled and ultimately reignited.

R.M.A. Spears' Armor of Glass captures the tribulations military personnel experience as they live out their lives in the civilian world. The military is portrayed as a machine that takes in human beings and churns out emotionally damaged individuals. Double standards, machinations, and power plays become a jarring counterpoint to the honor and valor the armed forces are supposed to portray. We see the military from the viewpoint of a grunt, the common foot soldier caught in its system, who realizes the stark reality of that system's failings but still comes back again and again because the military is all he has become. The melodic prose is mesmerizing at times. Brick as the emotionally-battered Marine is a lesson in perseverance and resilience. The book strikes numerous chords and a raw nerve or two. By the middle of the book, characters become all too real, their actions and decisions arousing a variety of emotions from the reader. From the pedophile Coach to the manipulative Selma, we are given a slew of villainous characters that, in reality, could be anyone we encounter in our daily lives. Brick's elusive smile, his brief happiness, becomes all the more exquisite as I endured existence through his eyes.

Armor of Glass is one of the most realistic love stories I have ever read. There are no happy endings, no happily ever after. There is only life and learning to live through the bad and to enjoy the good while taking the time to reminisce about love lost. R.M.A. Spears has crafted an emotionally intense novel that had me hooked from page one.

Patricia Reding

Brick, so nicknamed because of an accident in which he hit his head as a child, is the protagonist in Armor of Glass by R.M.A. Spears. Brick grew up in a simpler era when Mom stayed home and Dad remained emotionally distant. He carries with him the memory of having been victimized by his Little League coach, struggles with recognizing his own self-worth, then seeks to meet the needs of his family, all the while growing further apart from his wife. This may sound strange, but there is one particular reason I might not have liked this read. Perhaps more strangely, it was the very same reason that made me appreciate the work. That reason is Brick frequently sees women as having all the advantages in their favor and at his expense. While his points are well taken and the examples he provides are true, and while Brick’s wife’s actions are vicious and unforgivable, there is an anger that seems to seep from Brick’s very core. It is an anger that blinds him from being able to see that his own actions may have played a part in the disintegration of his marriage. So, oddly, the fact that Brick is so center-focused, which made his character somewhat difficult for me, was also the thing that made him very real for me.

R.M.A. Spears presents in Armor of Glass a story of internal confusion, pain and loss. It is a lasting story. While reading, I was reminded of other tragic stories of misunderstanding and pain. I was reminded that these stories were not generally entertaining in the traditional sense of their having brought me “happiness”—but they were enlightening. To those who look closely, such stories bring understanding and insight. Armor of Glass is such a story. While Brick makes wrong turns regularly, he wants to do what is right by his family. While he feels his wife has maltreated him, he is incapable of identifying his part in the manner in which events with her play out. While he reaches out to another woman because he feels wronged, he is incapable of seeing that his wife may have reached to another for the very same reason. Brick’s rationale is always that he worked hard for his family, but he never seems able to appreciate that his wife had worked hard to raise children in the early years while he was out of the country on military assignments. His hard work did not negate hers, or vice versa. None of the actions of either Brick or his wife excuse what the other did—but in many regards they explain why the other did as he or she did. In this way, R. M. A. Spears offers in Armor of Glass a genuine tragedy, honestly told.

Kathryn Bennett

Armor of Glass: A Novel by R.M.A. Spears tells us the story of a Marine who is troubled and must make his way through a turbulent path in life. Brick (using his first nickname rather than his call sign, Grumpy) has an interesting outlook on life. A great deal of it was formed by events in his past and they have piled up. From an assault as a child that makes him no longer like baseball through to the events of war and being a Marine. He ends up walking down a path that could be all wrong, especially when he gets entangled in an affair with a woman who is on the fast track to being a General. This woman is the first female appointed to the US Air Force Academy and has built what amounts to a barricade around her past so she can be seen as one of the good ole' boys on the Inspector General’s team. Love is never easy, but then neither is being a Marine.

This story is a contemporary romance told from a man’s point of view and what a refreshing story it is. R.M.A. Spears is a former Marine and you can tell his experience in some of the subtle nuances found in the pages of his book. The book is well written and a great deal of thought and planning went into the writing process of this story. The story is told in the first person, which gives it different feel from most of your romance books out there. If you are looking for a summer novel to read, you don’t have to look any further than Armor of Glass: A Novel - it is fantastic.

Michael McManus

On a forty-minute train ride, Brick, the main character in Armor of Glass: A Novel, recounts the low points of his life, a life made up primarily of low points, according to him. Brick is searching for a purpose for living. His only fear is ending up a nobody who has never done anything of importance. This fear pushes him through enlistments in three branches of our military, a myriad of civilian jobs, an intolerable marriage and a love affair as explosive as the passion he feels for a girl he met in school and keeps running into as he travels through the tragedies of his life. Brick doesn't crave wealth or fame. He just needs some level of success in something. Although it may sound like Brick is a total loser, the truth is that his timing is totally off. Whenever something looks like it will pan out, it is postponed or is outright cancelled. But he pushes on, trying to discover what he is here for.

R.M.A. Spears, the author of Armor of Glass, presents Brick’s story in the first person, making it intensely personal, as though he is having a long conversation with the reader. There are sexual situations, which are explicit without being vulgar. There are scenes that may shock you without frightening you. There are plenty of surprises. While reading, you will feel anger, sadness, frustration and you will probably even laugh. If you like romance, a sprinkling of military talk and a lot of drama, you will enjoy Armor of Glass.

Mamta Madhavan

Armor of Glass: A Novel by R.M.A. Spears is the story of Brick Pace who is motivated to join the military after watching too much news about the Vietnam War on television. His girlfriend, Cameo, also follows him to the Air Force Academy where she is molested by the medical technician who does her physical examination. Her refusal to report the matter creates cracks in their relationship, but she goes on to become the first woman appointed to the Air Force Academy. Brick resigns from his job on the eve of Black Monday. In the meantime, he finds out that Cameo is posted back home. A raging affair with a high-ranking official and the spilling of past secrets and the controversies that follow is exciting.

It is a riveting love story laced with corruption and sexual misconduct that prevails in the Air Force Academy. The book has some mature content and explicit language that adds to the crudeness and rawness of the emotions. The passion and emotions expressed by the author are stark and there is an element of mystery surrounding the character of Brick Pace. All the characters are powerful and the twists and turns in the plot are unexpected, which adds to the intrigue of the story.

Though the story is intense and has raw passion, there are some lighter moments which make certain parts of the plot humorous. Mentions of Brick Pace's childhood days also tone down the intrigue and give the plot a much softer and gentler voice.