Title: The Shadow in the Glass
Author: J J A Harwood
Release Date: 18/3/21
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 33
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free eARC copy from Harper Voyager ,via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Once upon a time Ella had wished for more than her life as a lowly maid.
Now forced to work hard under the unforgiving, lecherous gaze of the man she once called stepfather, Ella’s only refuge is in the books she reads by candlelight, secreted away in the library she isn’t permitted to enter.
One night, among her beloved books of far-off lands, Ella’s wishes are answered. At the stroke of midnight, a fairy godmother makes her an offer that will change her life: seven wishes, hers to make as she pleases. But each wish comes at a price and Ella must to decide whether it’s one she’s willing to pay it.
Oh this was a little disappointing. The concept was really fun a Dr Faustus/Cinderella mash-up/retelling. Yes please. I will admit the bits of the book that focused around twisting of the Cinderella and Dr Faustus stories were the best bits. I really loved how they played into each other and the little nods to the original works that were dotted though out the book. They were deliciously dark and foreboding and worked really well.
It was when the plot moved away from these nods and winks that it just got lost. There were huge tangents that added a lot of unnecessary description. I have said numerous times how much I love worldbuilding but these went outside the realm of worldbuilding and into tedium. The felt completely separate from the main story line and most of them didn’t wrap back into the plot so became more distracting and annoying as you wanted to find out more of the plot. They were also somewhat repetitive. The main character Ella had the same inner monologue time and time again to the point where it was predictable and a little boring.
The pacing is also off. We take over 50% of the book to make 3 wishes which have some consequence but nothing that truly propels the plot in a particular direction then in quick succession we get some very impactful wishes but no real time to take in there consequences and what actually happened. There just seems a real imbalance to what is described and what isn’t and unfortunately for me too much time was spend in the uneventful moments and not enough time was dedicated to the bits I found interesting, exciting and new
Its sad to say but up until the last few pages I was getting bored. this had a lot of promise just for me it didn’t fully deliver. It could have been a fantastic retelling but it just fell short of the mark.