The Singular And Extraordinary Tale Of Mirror And Goliath
Sweet enough to cause toothache
Release Date: 4 June
272 pages | Paperback/ ebook Author: Ishbelle Bee Publisher: Angry Robot
How much you’ll like
this book depends on your appetite for twee, as it’s the literary equivalent of a cartoon fox in a Peter Pan collar.
At its heart is a strange but rather lovely fairytale, about a girl called Myrtle whose grandfather locks her inside a clock, and who re- emerges as Mirror, with the soul of an Egyptian princess, pursued by the King of the Underworld ( who wants to eat her).
The writing style, not the story, is the real problem with the book. If you’re creating modern fairytales, you need a good helping of reality to balance the magic. You get very little of that here. Even when something isn’t magical, it never feels real; almost none of the places that are mentioned, from the graveyards to the opera house in London, are actual places, and there’s no decent grasp of the structure of Victorian society or how people from different strata would interact. The descriptions become tedious; whenever a new character is encountered, you’re told the colour of their eyes or hair, food is always cake or meat ( and fingers are always licked), and nothing is ever real enough to feel truly engaging. Whimsy is heaped on whimsy, until the whole thing suffocates under the weight of self- conscious cutesiness. Miriam McDonald In the book, Dr Cherrytree has photos of souls leaving bodies. “Ghost photographs” were actually a popular Victorian novelty.