The Mirror’s Truth
MICHAEL R FLETCHER
PUBLISHED: DECEMBER 2016
PUBLISHER: SELF PUB
PAGE COUNT: 371
GENRE: FANTASY / GRIMDARK
Plot at a Glance:
Bedeckt defined himself by the list of crimes he was unwilling to commit. It was such a short list. How could straying from it have gone so wrong?
Bedeckt must undo the damage caused by wandering from his precious list. The Geborene god seeks to remake the world with his obsessive need for cleanliness and perfection, but Bedeckt is going to bring him down. Nothing can stop him. Not even death.
The two friends he abandoned in the Afterdeath chase after Bedeckt, bent on revenge. Psychotic assassins hunt him. Something cold and evil follows, lurking in the clouds above, shredding reality with its delusions. Madness and sanity war, stretching and tearing the very fabric of existence.
The dead shall rise.
Thus far my summer has been a whirlwind of fast-paced action, both in my real life and in the reads I’ve carefully chosen to engage in so far since returning from my hiatus earlier this year. It’s been a busy/hectic summer so far, but not so much that I couldn’t spare some time to return to the world of Manifest Delusions that Michael R Fletcher first introduced in Beyond Redemption which I read (and loved!) earlier this year.
Because of the shocking ending to the first book in this series, I knew I had to get my hands on book 2 as quickly as possible and prioritized it right to the front of my reading schedule once my copy arrived. Grimdark fantasy and I go hand in hand. I think it’s the fact that fantasy and horror are both my preferred genres to indulge in, and Michael R Fletcher creates a perfect combination of the fantastical and the horrific in this world and characters dominated by strange delusions and insanity.
I will say that I felt a little less challenged by this book than I had by the first. Getting used to the Germanic inspired words for the settings and the names of characters and their abilities was an accomplishment all its own when reading Beyond Redemption. Book two felt more familiar, in that I knew most of what was introduced already and was familiar with the concepts driving the world, so there was less to be learned here and certain aspects felt like needlessly retreading familiar ground.
One aspect in which this story shines though is that whereas the first book’s purpose is to introduce this fabulous and insane world to readers, The Mirror’s Truth is allowed to sort of pivot out of the meat of the world-building and into the heart of the characters.
This book is about the character’s journeys: where they’ve each been; what they’ve seen; what lessons they’ve learned – or perhaps overlooked; what they struggle to vocalize to each other, and what is left of them when their lack of trust in others threatens to burn their world to ashes.
Where the last book was about any character’s particular belief that they were beyond the point of being able to “make things right,” the characters here were more nuanced and capable of growth. Stelen and Wichtig in particular grew in ways that I never expected them to, and both became instantly more likable for it.
One other great thing about this book is the way that the plot continues to surprise. I suppose I should have known that a book series about characters whose very delusions manifest and destroy reality when they use their skills was going to go places I’d never expect.
This is a dark and gruesome story. You’d better have a strong stomach for the darkest aspects of grimdark storytelling. There’s gore and torture and characters overtaken by darkness that literally turns their inner demons into monsters that must claw their way out of them into the world. Put simply: shit gets really dark, really quickly. I grew up on a healthy diet of horror movies as a teenager, so I loved the balance that is struck here between fantasy and horror.
Published independently rather than through a mainstream publisher, I will say that I noticed a few spelling errors (such as a character’s name missing a letter or a forgotten word here or there). Nothing was so egregious that I felt I couldn’t follow the story though. Also, the quality of the printing/binding and cover more than makes up for this! My copy is truly gorgeous. The pages are soft and it looks great on my bookshelf alongside its predecessor.
Michael R Fletcher’s works draw me in because they go to areas that mainstream authors seem to be afraid to shine a light. I’m definitely interested in seeing the way this story pans out in the eventual third book. Based on the ending of this one, I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen next – and I love that!
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 – 4.5 out of 5 stars, rounded up!
Have you read this? What did you think of it? What other grimdark fantasy tales are a must for you?