A Mirror Among Shattered Glass: A Review
Romarin Demetri, a young woman in London on familial obligations–charm school, to resentfully live out her mother’s expectations–does not understand herself, past, present, or future. She has a family history that is just beginning to unravel, powers she can’t quite explain, and secrets she doesn’t quite remember.
While looking for clues to her past, she finds a new, unexpected home with new paranormal acquaintances, starting a life far from the charm school lifestyle she had promised her mother. She uses the aid of these unexpected friends–all with unsettling pasts of their own–to uncover the parts of herself she’s looking for.
A Mirror Among Shattered Glass, the first novel in the London Underground trilogy written under the pen name of its own main character, explores ideas of perception and reality, particularly as applies to people and culture, and also the idea of moral ambiguity–evil deeds done out of necessity. Along with the exploration of these ideas, there are tie-ins with psychology, relationships, fear, and bravery that add depth to the characters and to the reading experience.
The story has a lot of strong points, to be sure. It has great pacing, introducing the main character inside the memory of someone she doesn’t recognize. You’re thrown into a world understanding as much (or as little) about it as Romarin herself does, and it leaves you just enough in the dark to keep you eager to find out what’s really going on.
Admittedly, some of the characters start off feeling a little one-dimensional, but get more well-rounded as you go along–especially the side characters. It would be easy to have side characters that are only there to fulfill the basic functions of supporting the main character’s arc, but after all, Romarin’s story isn’t really just Romarin’s story; you see the stories of the people she meets mostly through her eyes, and as you go along you start getting snippets of their past. There are some characters you can’t decide whether to trust right away, others who seem aloof and unusual and intriguing, others with pasts even more mysterious than Romarin’s.
At some points, that pacing slips–there are a couple moments where I wish the story had lingered on a particular moment or emotion. But overall, the only real potential downfall I’d say the book has is that the prose doesn’t always carry the story as well as the story deserves. There are occasional issues where the prose feels stiff and forced, and other areas where there are typos or other errors that pull you out of the reading experience momentarily. Still, there are other passages that pull you in with detail and eloquence.
Overall, I’d say it’s a great story, albeit one that probably could’ve used another editorial eye. A Mirror Among Shattered Glass is the debut novel of this author. There are two more in the series, and I’m genuinely interested to see what the remaining books bring to the table as the author’s story, voice, and style develop.
If you’re interested in the story (and I hope you are–it’s worth a read), you can find it here.