A Difficult Mirror is not an easy read. It is fascinating, though. I have had this book on my TBR for ages, and can’t remember how I came across it. It may have been on offer, it may have been a giveaway, but Benjamin X Wretlind is the only author I can find with an X in his name for my Alphabet Soup (Author edition), so I think him for helping me out. Perhaps he doesn’t have a name beginning with X at all. Maybe it’s just a calculated way of getting Reading Challenge Addicts to pay attention to him. And why not?
A Difficult Mirror (Maskiyl #1)
by Benjamin X Wretlind
Four-year-old Justine has been lost to the world and with her an ability feared by many. But the balance of power has been shifting for years, and Justine may be able to tip those scales for good…if someone can find her in a pitiless place of sorrow and pain.
When Marie Evans meets a strange man on a deserted road and a body is found mutilated in the desert, a deep resentment teetering on the edge of release is about to explode. Someone, somewhere has drawn a line in the sand, and when Harlan Reese, Marie’s ex-lover, enters a forest in central Arizona looking for his daughter, that line will be crossed.
In a world between Heaven and Hell, the past becomes the present as Harlan and Marie find each other once again. Their journey across an unforgiving land to find a way home with Justine by their side will be wrought with both pain and triumph.
Life is, after all, A Difficult Mirror. [goodreads]
This is altogether gorier than I expected from the blurb, but it is incredibly weird, which I did, sort of. There are some incredibly scary people out there, forcing encounters with the main protagonists. There are many main protagonists. When we met them the first time I found them interesting, and each seemed to be well-defined. Each time we switched from one to the other thereafter I got totally confused about who was who. The trouble is, their stories intertwine. It’s very complex. It did my head in for several hours at a time.
A Difficult Mirror is very well written, with beautiful imagery both of places real, and places imaginary. Maybe some of the women are not well enough written to help me distinguish between them. Maybe they all seem alike because they respond in much the same way to fear, terror and sensual deprivation. Justine and Jennifer, both daughters of Harlan, confused me because they were both Harlan’s daughters with names beginning with J. I kept on confusing them, even when they were obviously very different ages. Did I just not relate to either of them? But they were all being tested in the difficult mirror of their dreams, which is an interesting concept.
It has the weirdness that makes me compare it with Gnomon, but it is more readable than that—well I enjoyed it more than that, although the gore is more graphic.
I obviously don’t dream enough, although when I was on some tablets I prefer never to take again, those nightmarish dreams could have been part of A Difficult Mirror. I’m not sure I can recommend it to most of my readers, but those that enjoy the horror genre more than time travel will probably enjoy it more than I did.