Bittersweet pain conceals a deeper beauty.
I received Mirrors & Thorns through Our Write Side in exchange for an honest review.
13. The Roommate by Edward Ahern
An everyday afternoon, interrupted by a strange cat. Once Enid learns of it, Clara knows no peace.
Most of the story is told in a unique style; a kind of one sided dialogue that omits what other characters say and do, using indirect references from the narrator to establish the rest of the story. It’s a very interesting experiment, if a little jarring at first. It heavily anchors the story within the perspective of its narrator, Enid. Her personality comes through loud and clear, but at the cost of keeping other characters at a distance.
Scenes are vivid, but sometimes the distinction between colorful allegory and concrete description can be difficult to make. Eventually the ambiguity is resolved, but the uncertainty makes the ending seem a little out of left field. Many may want to reread it a second time, once they understand what’s really going on.
A mysterious figure hunts the damned, sealing their souls away so that he might save his own. Countless times he’s captured them, but never one like this. Only the gates of hell can contain such a fiend, a place that even demons fear to tread. But can he succeed where all others have failed, and even if he does, will he have the strength to return?
The opening scene is awash with details; cultivating a strong sense of foreboding without actually revealing what awaits the nameless hero. The tension is masterful, with just enough information to give audiences a sense of the story, while leaving some questions unanswered.
As the story moves along, it makes a pronounced shift. Moving away from concrete details and actions; the story instead focuses on the protagonist’s inner struggles. Disorientation and blackouts help to justify the protagonist’s introspections, but are also used to gloss over how the protagonist is moved from one location to another.
The story tries to convey the protagonist’s struggle to continue, to hold on to hope, but without spending more time with the character it’s difficult to feel the connection needed to create a proper catharsis. The ending tries to fashion a proper denouement, but like the rest of the story, it feels rushed and ambiguous.
Mirrors & Thorns Condensed