Reflection: The Stranger in the Mirror by Rachel R. Smith

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Ok, first of all, that cover is gorgeous. If I saw this book at the library or store I would instinctively pick it up if just to study the picture. Then I would check what it’s about and decide to read it because come on – fantasy, magic, and princesses – what’s not to love?

That’s pretty much what happened when I stumbled upon it on NetGalley. You can imagine my glee when I got approved for the ARC! I set aside the time to read it and that time has finally come! And gone. And I’m left wanting So. Much. More.

I should probably start with the actual review. Well, here it is.

Words! Words everywhere! So many words! Honestly, I wish I had such an extensive vocabulary and the ability to describe things in great detail because then writing my books would be a hundred times easier. In this book, there is not a stone left unturned. We are privy to every thought and action of the characters from every perspective. It actually goes so deep, we get to see what will happen before we’re told what will happen before it actually happens.

Now, don’t mistake it for repetition – this wasn’t it. It’s more the writer trying to put us in everyone’s shoes all at once. And there was a lot of everyone with a lot of names I had to try to remember. I can’t say it’s a bad thing, but it was a bit overwhelming, something completely normal in the first novel of a fantasy series. It obviously has a lot of info dumps and world building, some tasteful and some not so much (aka “tell me about yourself”). But, in the end, we’re left with a pretty complete picture.

It was also partially a coming-of-age story, with the main character going from one type of person to another. I liked her, and I’m very interested in where her current situation is going. I also liked a lot of the other characters (Charis and Shae) and hope they get more page time in the next book.

So now we have to read the next novel, the one that will actually give us what we’ve been promised by the end. The romance, the magic, and the epic battles – three things this book builds up to but doesn’t deliver on just yet.

Overall, if you’re looking to start a new fantasy series with an open mind and willing to wait before you find out all the answers, check it out. However, if you want a story with any resolution at the end, know you’ll be reading the second one before that happens.

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