Book Review: Mirrorfall by Grace McDermott #aww2016

Title: Mirrorfall (Require: Cookie #1)
Author: Grace McDermott
Genre: NA/urban fantasy
Date Read: 11/01/2016 – 18/01/2016
Rating: ★★☆


mirrorfallcoverI was recommended this series by a friend years ago when it was still a web serial and not yet available in book form. I think perhaps if I had also read it as a web serial, I would have been a little more forgiving of it, but as it was, I found it hard to really enjoy. It definitely delivers on its promise of being “urban fantasy for geeks”, but a lot of that went over my head, too, which didn’t help.

When Stef Mimosa was only two, she died of a gunshot wound, but an Angel confronted Death and brought her back. Years later, Stef still remembers this, but she tries to focus on science instead, and pays the bills as a hacker. After a job goes crazy wrong, her Angel, actual name Ryan, finds her hiding in a wardrobe, and introduces her to the Agency, an organisation that combines magic and technology to benefit and protect the masses. When Stef joins them, they are in preparation for Mirrofall, an event where another world ends and pieces fall to Earth. Stef quickly embarks on training to help her take part in the process, but her own insecurities threaten to prevent her from ever really being part of this new world.

I think one of the issues is that the book covers such a short space of time. The events really only take place over about a week, so in terms of character, there is little time for anything to really change. When you think about this short time span, the fact that Stef undergoes very little character growth, and is still having exactly the same “I’m a failure, I can’t be here, I’ll f*ck everything up” freak-outs at 90% that she was having at 25% of the book, is not surprising. But it’s frustrating to continue reading that and not see any change.

On the flip side, Ryan was very quick to adopt her as the daughter-he-never-had (he has a son who has nothing to do with him, but Stef remembers him saving her and he’s sentimental about things like that) and to let his affection for her cloud his judgement. He makes some really poor decisions for really no reason at all, like making her a field agent like him in the first place, and then letting her be in the field with him for the Mirrorfall, despite the fact that she hasn’t even had a week’s worth of training and she is really better suited to the tech department.

There’s another character, Curt, who does actually point out these issues, but I felt like I was supposed to be finding him annoying and whiny, rather than the voice of reason.

The world-building was actually really good, but filtered through Stef’s tech-oriented mind, a lot of it went over my head. I’m still not sure whether Ryan was AI or what. Stef viewed him as some sort of program or code, but I didn’t actually understand for the most part. I did enjoy the descriptions of the different magical creatures that Stef and Ryan met.

The other main issue was that this definitely could have used another edit. There were typos and words missing often enough, and certain… not really leet-speak, but words mostly used online like “fsck” instead of swearing and “pls” rather than please. I wouldn’t have minded if it had been Stef writing a note, but when she used “pls” in dialogue, it seemed odd.

While the editing isn’t something that can be fixed by anyone but the author, from the reviews I’ve read of the second book, it does sound like it addresses some of the plot/character issues I had, so I haven’t entirely written off. It’s just always a bit sad when you don’t love a book as much as the friend who recommended it did.


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