Catriona Morgan would’ve never come back to Edinburgh if it weren’t for her twin sister’s disappearance. When she and El swore to start a new life, far from the reaches of their haunting house, neither of them guessed just how soon their past would catch up to them.
Back at 36 Westeryk Road, Cat is confronted by the dark truth of her and El’s childhood. Mirrorland, a world they had created for themselves holds much more than just their imagination. The pirates and witches who were a part of their childhood play threaten to reveal the realities of their life that Cat has long since repressed.
Now, determined to find El, Cat begins to receive anonymous emails and messages that will compel her to revisit those memories.
There is a large part of me that is super impressed with Carole Johnstone’s planning. The many layers of the book intrigued me enough to keep reading – from the fantastical elements of Mirrorland that overshadow Cat’s present to understanding their sisterhood (which takes on a new form over the course of the book).
Mirrorland has been constructed with such precision that it feels very much like a living, breathing entity. A lot of the flashback scenes composed of Mirrorland are tightly interwoven into the present, so they sort of layer Cat’s narration of the events.
What I found to be overwhelming was the pace at which these flashbacks are revealed. I couldn’t comprehend whether the scenes were rooted in reality or merely Cat reliving the fantasies created during her childhood. And so, that left me perplexed for a substantial portion of the book.
There are a few clichés in the novel, one which (involving the ML and FL) put me off the novel. El and Cat’s relation is tinted with jealousy and power struggle, which adds to the mystery of what really drove them to flee their house.
The premise and individual elements of the book held so much potential that if the execution had been slightly (just a teeny bit) simplified, it would have registered well with me.
On the whole, if you are wondering whether to pick up this title or not, here are the top aspects that convinced me to finish reading the book:
- Clues and anonymous emails being sent to Cat
- The embodiment of the house and Mirrorland
- Cat’s search for El
- The unreliability of the narration
If you require trigger warnings, you might want to be careful getting into the book. Reach out to me, and I’ll share what they are.
I received an ALC of this book from Libro.fm in exchange for an honest review.