Welcome to Refracted Light’s
blog tour stop!
hosted by Chapter by Chapter
Spectrophobia. I’ve always had a slight (irrational) fear of mirrors since one of my friends completely spooked me out with the legend of Bloody Mary in the fifth grade. There’s just something about mirrors. The reflection of life, but not quite — slightly distorted and uncannily the same. And is it merely a reflection? Or a window to another world, another reality? It all comes down to that slight niggling worry that maybe the person looking back at you in the mirror isn’t a reflection at all.
Yeah. Like I said… spectrophobia. And if you’d guess that perhaps I’ve been a little more uneasy around mirrors than usual since reading The Looking Glass — following Alice Montgomery’s story in and out of mirrors — you’d be right on the money. Jessica Arnold, I’m 31 years old, and last night I slept with the covers bunched high around my face and my back firmly to the mirror. Thank you.
So, if you’re wondering, Dear Reader, if this book delivers on the creepy, my answer is definitely yes. (x2 if you already have a thing about mirrors.) From the time our heroine Alice discovers she’s stuck in a mirror-version of the hotel she and her family were staying at right up until the conclusion of the novel, Arnold does an excellent job of gradually building the suspense, that sense of wrongness — Alice’s growing panic, urgency, fear and anger. The vivid descriptions of the hotel, the decor (both past and present), the weirdness, the mirrors, the antagonistic forces and ominous vibes are wonderfully unsettling. And the entries in Elizabeth Blackwell’s journal provide for a chillingly macabre (and satisfyingly rich, if I may say) backstory. In those regards, this novel is very well done.
I also thought it interesting that while the influence of Carroll’s Alice and his Through The Looking Glass are readily apparent from the blurb and title, Arnold also works in some Hamlet as well. Though it may seem a strange literary mash-up, it’s really neat to see how all the details and themes Arnold incorporated from both works mesh together to create this captivating (and creepy) ghost story.
So why the 3½ stars? Simply this:
1. A slightly disconnected feeling from Alice’s character.
2. Her relationship with Tony was a little too much a little too soon.
3. There were times when the flow of action confused me.
Overall though, Jessica Arnold’s The Looking Glass is a wonderfully creepy, imaginative, and entertaining story about darkness, madness, power and reflection.