Official Review: Something in the Mirror by Doug Hall

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Official Review: Something in the Mirror by Doug Hall

Post by ritah » 12 May 2019, 14:10

[Following is an official review of "Something in the Mirror" by Doug Hall.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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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
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Post by T_stone » 14 May 2019, 12:52

The story of a man whose emotional side of him got drained sounds painful. A story with a mix of romance and mystery also sounds interesting. This is a good introduction. Thanks
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Post by amjohnson13mommy » 14 May 2019, 14:17

My first thought when I read about the statues was this place sounds a bit like the Overlook Hotel in The Shining.
I would find being able to read the first draft very interesting, thanks.

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Post by Agnes Masobeng » 14 May 2019, 14:20

Oh no, literally I'm frightened by ghosts. This man's life must have been a mess. I can't imagine fighting ghosts literally.
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Post by kandscreeley » 14 May 2019, 14:40

The ending can really spoil a book for me. Since this one was so disappointing, I'm probably going to avoid it. You gave some really great information, though. If it was more within my genre, I might tempted to try it.
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Post by Juju15 » 14 May 2019, 14:54

This story has probably a great foundation and strong ideas behind it but it's too bad you thought the ending was disappointing. I think it is quite original that the author showed his first draft, I never saw that before! Thanks for your great review (:

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Post by Rachel Lea » 14 May 2019, 18:18

Oh, I hate it when a book has a lackluster ending... It almost spoils the whole experience. But nevertheless, I love how the author of Something in the Mirror creates an interesting and multi-dimensional character in the protagonist and really delves into his inner thought life. I also really like the elements of mystery and the paranormal in the plot as well. Thank you for your review!
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Post by kdstrack » 14 May 2019, 20:56

What a unique idea to include the original draft. I think many readers would appreciate the opportunity to follow the author's writing and editing method. Great review. Thanks!

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Post by Stephanie Elizabeth » 15 May 2019, 05:15

Wow! I love the sound of this book. It sounds like it would be right up my alley! I really love books that focus on character development. Great review!

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Post by Nyambura Githui » 16 May 2019, 04:00

When I read the tittle I immediately came to the conclusion it was a horror book. A thriller that's not terrifying, my expectations have been shattered. Great review though.

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Post by Krissykat » 16 May 2019, 19:19

My first thoughts upon reading this review was...awesome, romance and ghosts, totally exciting. As I kept reading to only be disappointed. Not scary or thrilling, and a not so great ending, I will pass on this one. Great review

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Post by zagabi » 16 May 2019, 20:02

Nice job Ritah, even thou the author title make it look scary as thought we are having a horror story, when reverse is the case.

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Post by Nikkitruett2018 » 31 May 2019, 11:44

I think this story would have been better if he wouldn't have allowed his ex to get to him mentally. He wouldn't have turned to alcohol therefore the ghosts of his past wouldn't have been a problem. I would have liked this better if it were only about him dealing with the literal ghosts.

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Post by chiefsimplex » 16 Jul 2019, 06:09

Its so sad that the author ultimately failed to deliver, having such a cleverly conceived premise.Also to imagine that a man with such attributes met so tragic circumstances because of a woman of so low repute, is sad.The review is wonderfuly done, informative and on-point.
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Post by janelwhite » 17 Jul 2019, 12:36

This book sounds really intriguing but I hate it when the ending is a disappointment! That is really special that the author includes his first draft! What a unique perspective. Thank you for that review.

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