I hopped on this one on NetGalley because it sounded really interesting. Very 20s cinema/stage magic meets Urban Fantasy.
Well, I love me some Urban Fantasy, and I admittedly am a sucker for old school stage magic, and so I couldn’t resist.
So, I’d like to thank the author as well as St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley for the review copy of this book.
In 1926, two brothers both loved Eleanor Raines, a promising young actress from the East End of London. But, along with Seth Lockwood, she disappeared, never to be seen again. Isaiah, Seth’s younger brother, refused to accept that she was just gone.
It has been seventy years since and the brothers are long dead. But now their dark, twisted secret, threatens to tear the city apart. Seth made a bargain with Damiola, an illusionist, to make a life size version of his most famous trick, and hide away part of London to act as a prison out of sync with our time, where one year passes as one hundred. That illusion is Glass Town. And now its walls are failing.
Reminiscent of Clive Barker’s Weaveworld and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, Savile brings out the magic in the everyday. Glass Town is full of gritty urban landscapes, realistic characters, conflict, secrets, betrayals, magic, and mystery.
“My brother was so close to solving the riddle of Glass Town, to seeing past the smoke and mirrors… And its defenses are weaker now. The frames are already flickering. The walls are growing thin. It can’t last forever…
This is going to be a rather difficult book to get my thoughts together about, because it is very in depth and such a huge idea that I found it often a little confusing, especially in the beginning. It’s a lot to take in. This is a fascinating story though, and the way that the mystery of Glass Town is revealed is through Joshua, the main character’s discovery of different pieces of the puzzle, was well done, in my opinion. It’s revealed slowly as the story moves on, as one would hope.
We start the story with the funeral of Boone Raines, who is Josh’s grandfather. He has left him a long letter from his great-grandfather Isaiah Raines, detailing his obsession with Eleanor Raines, an actress from the East End back in the 1920s. He and his brother Seth feuded over her, and something happened and she disappeared. Isaiah spent the rest of his life trying to find her, obsessed with her, even going so far as to marry her twin sister and taking the name Raines to be closer to her. After he died, he passed the mystery to Boone, who has now passed it to Josh.
So, curious about all this, Josh starts investigating, and finds that his world sort of goes crazy with all kinds of cinema related shenanigans from the 20s and beyond. He starts seeing film stars following him, and breaking into his house and whatnot, and it only gets crazier from there.
The blurb compares this book to American Gods, but if I were to compare it to one of Gaiman’s works, it’d absolutely be Neverwhere. It’s more reminiscent of a strange, deeply magical, sort-of hidden, dark, and rather creepy bit of London, rather than gods road-tripping across America. Given the setting, this book is very British just in general, obviously. Places, slang, et cetera. But, I digress.
As I said, I found it a little confusing right at the start, and it’s because some characters know and reference things that aren’t apparent to the reader right away, so, it’s a little overwhelming. Like, oh snap, the dweomers are failing! Uh, well, point one is this is an awesome use of the word dweomer, but what is a dweomer in this context? ;D
Anyway, once I got into it, it was a pretty fantastic and quite thrilling adventure with an antagonist who is pretty easy to hate, and protagonists who are easy to root for. I thought it was well written, fast-paced, and mysteriously fun. I liked Josh as a character, and wanted him to succeed. So, all told, it was a pretty great read.
This book was actually released today, so, I finished it just in time! 😀