Well, “The Shadow in the Glass” started out so well but I’d give it a 3/5 stars because I skimmed pages 200-370 to get the gist of it. First of all, I wouldn’t have marketed it as a Cinderella story. Not at all. I agree with the gothic vibe, but none of the Cinderella-esque feels were there. It was also more of a historical fiction than fantasy.
Here’s my live thoughts while reading:
In the beginning Ella is 17. Despite being the legal heir of the lord who runs the house, she is now having to sleep on rags and earn her keep along with the maids. It seems as if a couple deaths of two motherly figures in her life has changed the course of her future. Now, the lord has let everything fall apart and is apparently impregnating Ella’s young friends. She wants to escape to a false life within the library full of books but otherwise has no course of action plan yet to be rid of her miserable circumstances.
There doesn’t seem to be chapters but little scene snippets cut off and seven full parts of the novel. And so far it’s all narrated in one point of view, third person- past tense.
So the big bad master is who Ella is running from. Of course the gross, nasty man who is going to eventually rape her if she doesn’t get out. I’m so exhausted reading and living about how the majority of men are like this. They all need to shape up… anyways one day in her library, Ella reads magical lines and her fairy godmother comes to grant her seven wishes, in exchange for her soul. So maybe it’s more like a deal with the devil?
After part 2, I love how unpredictable the story is, in a good way. It still feels like the author has control of the story and knows where it’s going, but I don’t which is the best type. The bits of dark pieces are sprinkled in so perfectly. I love this quote:
“What do you suppose you would be, with only 5/7 of your soul? Do you think you could still laugh, for example? Perhaps all the love you would have desiccated, leaving your heart filled with dust. Perhaps all the beauty in the world will be flattened for you, and every time you heard a Nightingale song it would be as meaningless as a shriek of a factory bell.”
I don’t understand this world where both Lizzie and Felicity jump to the same conclusion and so quickly. Is this a theme of assuming a maid will sleep with anyone? I don’t get it.
So on page 146 I’m considering stopping because four characters have already been abusive. That’s a lot. I’m not really wanting that to be the entire story. Plus there’s no momentum with the wishes and she’s just waiting so there’s so much lost potential of options that aren’t being used.
At page 156, her inner narrative is getting a bit repetitive. Yes the cost is too high to risk a wish. We get it. Move on. Unfortunately the dialogue started feeling too dry and flat around this point as well. I keep “waiting” to get excited but there’s more talk of wardrobe and outfits and being a lady and I just lost interest since there wasn’t forward momentum with the demon lady. She held all the intrigue and it was taking too long for anything to happen.
I’d still want to know if the black eyed woman is a figment of her imagination or real and what her other wishes are, so I might briefly skim to see if I can find out the answers but overall I’m disappointed since it started with all the elements I love. I’m guessing that Ella commutes all the murders but is in denial somehow.
Okay so I skimmed the last dozen pages and I’m glad I didn’t read the whole thing. I’m very upset with the ending because it was just cut off before the climatic scene. She finally found agency to fight back and the story just stops. There’s also absolutely no resolution in any way. The epilogue didn’t help at all. If I had read the whole thing and finished with that I’d be more angry.