3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Something in the Mirror by Doug Hall is a work of fiction that follows the story of a man who is experiencing emotional turmoil. Readers are taken on a journey to witness the man fight the ghosts of his past and witness his encounter with literal ghosts’.
When the girl he’s fallen in love with breaks up with him out of the blue, the narrator of this novel is devastated and finds himself turning to alcohol to drown his sorrows. Keeping in mind that his ex did not support his dreams or think that his future held promise, he becomes determined to prove her wrong. Since he’s always dreamt of becoming a best-selling author, he signs up for a writer’s retreat. However, everything is not as it seems. The venue where the event is held holds a deep, dark history that threatens to haunt all those who grace its grounds. Slowly, the narrator begins to notice strange happenings, including cherub statues that make him feel uneasy. What’s the real truth about the mysterious mansion in the Catholic college grounds? Also, will the narrator ever make peace with his past relationships’?
The narrator (the protagonist) is, in my opinion, charming, believable, and likable. Throughout the narrative, we get to see different aspects of him—he is well-defined and multidimensional. His main love interest (his ex), however, is entitled, immature, brash, tactless, and so on. Plainly, she is the most unlikable character in the novel.
This was an entertaining, easy-to-read short story. The author brings the main character’s world to life with clear and evocative descriptions. The narrative, the character’s inner thoughts, and the dialogues flowed naturally. The effortless humor made for a good number of laugh-out-loud moments, which made reading this novel all the more enjoyable. Additionally, the story within a story element of the novel was refreshing and gave an in-depth backstory of the main character’s toxic relationships.
Though the storyline held my attention all the way to the end, I ended up being disappointed with the ending. I couldn’t believe the story ended how it did. There was so much the author could have explored and thrilled readers with in the mansion story but unfortunately did not. There wasn’t a moment where I was terrified at the happenings in the narrative. There were a few creepy moments that added an air of mystery and suspense, but that was it. Given that the author’s description of the book mentioned that the story would have elements of horror, I naturally expected that parts of the novel would be super scary.
An interesting but not-so-common aspect of this novel is that the author decided to include the original first draft of the book at the end, along with the editor’s comments and corrections. It gave that section a behind-the-scenes feel—I was able to see what the novel was like in its early development. This stands to benefit aspiring writers and those curious about the process of making a book publish-ready for readers.
Those who enjoy stories with a bit of mystery, ghosts, and elements of romance should look into this one. In my reading, I only noted two errors, which made it clear that the book was professionally edited. Everything considered, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars only because the ending felt abrupt and the elements of horror previously suggested weren’t fully explored.
Something in the Mirror
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like ritah's review? Post a comment saying so!