Cover Image: Mirrorland

Mirrorland

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Member Reviews

This was a slow burner for me and it didn’t compel me until the middle. It actually starts with a significant event and continues this way throughout but I found it too layered and unnecessarily complex. It clicked a little more about half way through and the read got better for me. Once this happened, a lot of what had gone on in the first half became clearer. 
Cleverly written for sure but the lands were not for me.
PS If you ever have plans to watch The Shawshank Redemption, do it before you read this book.
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Well, what a crazy ride this was! A discombobulating but heady mix of dark fantasy and twisty thriller, with edges that warp and blur and characters who flit between worlds like wraiths. It’s incredibly complex, and it takes a while to get to grips with what’s going on. But once you do, it’s one heck of a riveting read. 

The premise is deceptively simple: Identical twins Cat and El have been estranged for twelve years, living on separate continents, when El vanishes without trace in a surmised boating accident off the Scottish coast. Despite what everyone else thinks, including the police, Cat knows with the instinctive certainty of a twin, that El cannot be dead, and she’s determined to prove it. 

It’s when Cat returns from California to the former family home in Edinburgh, now occupied by El and her husband, that she (and we) get sucked into the titular Mirrorland; a make believe world from the twins’ childhood, populated by a fantastical and sometimes scary cast of characters, where the girls hide from Bluebeard and the Tooth Fairy. 

What follows is a tense, atmospheric, and often mystifying dual timeline that segues back and forth between Mirrorland and the present; the two linked by a scavenger hunt, seemingly set by El before she disappeared, which triggers shocking, long-buried memories in Cat.

Johnstone throws so much uncertainty into the narrative, repeatedly fudging the distinction between fantasy and reality, that the need to know how things are going to resolve is utterly compelling. And when the cogs do finally slot into place, it’s in a manic slew of horrific, earth-shattering revelations.

The only thing that didn’t completely work for me was the ending, which I felt undermined the authenticity of the story overall. But, hey, it’s a debut, and still a stunning one at that. With her provocative exploration of the vagaries of memory, Johnstone is clearly more than clever plotting and fabulous writing, and I look forward to her next book.
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A complex thriller that took me a while to get into but once i got into the follow of the story it took me on a twisted journey into the darkness inhabited by El and Cat. Two identical girls whose memory of the past differs from each other. The story reveals itself through the eyes and memories of Cat as she uncovers clues left like breadcrumbs by her missing sister El. We follow her through the pain and heartache and eventual realisation of what really occurred during their childhood. Lost secrets are slowly revealed as the tension mounts in the book and the pace just seems to run away with you. A slow burning psychological thriller that takes you on a twisted, chilling ride with plenty of twists to make it all the more interesting.
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An OK read that is quite slow paced. At times it seems predictable but at others there'll be a fantastic twist! Worth a read but not overly exciting.
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This was everything you need for a thriller and crime story. It is not as black and white as you first think and like most typical thrillers, is full of twists. This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you very much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.

3.5/5.
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I struggled to finish this book as I found the Narrator, Cat, annoying, unreliable and unrelatable
I'll give it one of those it's not you it's me votes to it and give it the benefit of the doubt as I am currently finding it a little difficult to find books which really grab and keep hold of my attention and this is one book which missed the mark. As an only child myself, I found it especially hard to grasp the strange intense relationship between twins Cat and El and the weird triangle with friend Ross who later marries one twin and their mythical childhood world of Mirrorland, which held little magic and much to confuse and annoy. I think this will appeal to readers in their 20s who may find it easier to relate to the characters.
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One twin ran. The other vanished. Neither escaped…
DON’T TRUST ANYONE

I really enjoyed this dark thriller of a book, loads of twists and turns keeping you guessing the outcome. I took a while to warm to it then I was totally hooked. Carole Johnstone is a great writer and can’t believe this is only her first novel, can’t wait to read more of her books!


Thanks for NetGalley and the publisher for a chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
#Mirrorland #NetGalley
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A grand old Scottish house, estranged mirror twins, secrets and a glowing review quote from Stephen King meant this novel caught my eye straight away. My galley request actually didn’t get approved for around six months, by which point I’d almost forgotten about it and the hype had died down, but I’m so glad I got around to picking this up earlier this year.

Mirrorland was a taught, twisty thriller which kept me guessing and had more layers than appear on the surface. It weaves in elements of fantasy and horror, but at its heart this is a psychological thriller and complex drama about the relationship between two sisters.

Cat and El are mirror twins. They grew up together and were close as children, playing secret games and feeling the other’s pain as if it was their own. But now, they live thousands of miles apart. Cat moved away to LA after an argument in their late teens, and tried to put her sister out of her mind entirely. Until, El goes missing and she finds herself pulled back to the old house where she grew up, and has to confront some past demons.

This may sounds like the blurb of a thriller you’ve read a thousand times, but it was actually a surprisingly original, imaginative tale which I don’t want to spoil too much. Some reviews I’ve seen talk about fantasy – but I wouldn’t class this as a fantasy novel, so don’t let that put you off if it’s not your cup of tea. The only fantasy here is a childhood fantasy, a magical world constructed by children to escape their every day life.

But, sometimes, the lines between what’s real and what’s imagined get blurred. It can feel a little confusing at parts, but stick with it and everything will come together in ways you didn’t expect.

The book is packed chock-full of twists and turns – the author drops an absolute bombshell halfway through which turns things on their head, and then after that the twists do not stop coming! Even when I thought this author could have nothing more up her sleeve, she’ll keep you guessing until the last few pages.
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My first book, that I have read by this author, absolutely brilliant! Highly recommended, and I will definitely read others written by this author!
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An excellent read! It’s very very dark, and the relationships are difficult and complex. It’s not an emotionally easy read.

For me it felt a bit slow at the start and I was enjoying it but it wasn’t all consuming….then it all changed. For me it felt like a book of two very distinct halves - the set up, and then it gets dark very quickly - to the point where I became really quite frightened and I had to go off and do something else to calm down!

An excellent read! My thanks to Netgalley and HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction for the copy
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Thank you to the publisher for my eARC copy of this book. Unfortunately I didn’t love this book and therefore didn’t finish, I just didn’t connect with this one. Not for me, sorry.
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This book was a slow burner, it had great character development and a great plot. The story did pick up pace if you persist. It was hard at times to keep track of the story. Overall an enjoyable read. Thanks to Netgalley
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This book sounded so good and it is not often I give up on a book but I just can't get into this. There is so much description  which I am sure some people enjoy as the author is setting the scene but it bored me and takes away from the story. I find it difficult to concentrate on the story because it. I apologise to the author
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I'm torn about how to review this book. On the one hand, I absolutely raced through it and it kept me turning pages and guessing. But, on the other hand I think I tore through it because it lacked *the good stuff*.

It felt almost like popcorn. It's quick, easy to digest and good on the surface. But, you know deep down it isn't that great.

The story of El and Cat was compelling,  but slid into murkier territory with the addition of Ross. I, personally, would have preferred a book more focused on their childhood without the hopping around. As it was, it felt a bit flimsy and often poorly paced.

Was it great? No. Did I enjoy it? Yes. But I can't help but think that in a few months time I will have completely forgotten about it.
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I really enjoyed this book, I used both the ebook version and audiobook version for it, switching between both as I went through the story. 

It took me a while to get into it, but once I did I was hooked. I’d say I had to get about a third of the way through as it was quite a slow-burner but once past that point things began to make sense and within each chapter I was finding myself more and more sucked into the pages. It has a fantasy-psychological element to it, which fantasy isn’t usually my genre I’d go for, but once the story gets going you are far too engrossed to notice the fantastical element.

This book is definitely worth a read, if like me you aren’t so keen on the fantasy element to it, preserve through and give it a chance. You won’t be disappointed! 

**I received an advanced copy of this ebook and audio book to read and review. Thank you NetGalley, the author, and publisher for allowing me this opportunity**
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2.5 stars. This was a comp copy from Harper Collins UK.  I am not sure it would have been one I chose for myself, except that twins do fascinate me. These twin girls are mirror images of each other, so not identical.  Their childhood in Edinburgh with the boy next door, Ross, is fraught with dysfunction and tragedy. Cat has fled to America and no longer in touch with her twin El, now married to Ross.  Then El goes missing and Cat is left no choice but to return.  

Mirrorland was the play area of the children, full of clown and pirate imaginations.  Fantasy is not my thing and thus it felt quite YA to me, to the point I was not going to finish it.  I'm sort of in a rut now and many books are seeming only average, so it could be my problem, not the book's.  I did think the writing was very good. My problem was strictly with the pirates and clowns.  The ending twist was quite something and made me glad I did finish it.  (I hardly ever DNF.)

I mostly listened to the audio and then finished with the ebook copy.  Unless you're used to a thick brogue, and I am definitely not, you might not want to do the audio.
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I found the first half of this book slow and  very confusing. However I persisted as I felt the mystery was strong enough to keep me reading. From the middle of the book things began to become clear and I couldn’t put the book down. It reminded me in places of Piranesi and the blurred lines between reality and imagined  truths. The way that our brains try to protect us from trauma is explored and represented effectively in this book. I ended up very much enjoying it.
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A really solid addition to the genre; reliable, if a little predictable in places. Would recommend if you know what you want from this sort of book, as it definitely delivers that.
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Mirrorland is a dark psychological suspense that focuses on the relationship between two sisters. The writing is addictive, I was captivated by the storytelling and how it weaves through the past and the present. There are secrets to uncover and a lot of questions hiding behind their family. The dark fairy tale aspect was fun to read. Mirrorland is a fantasy but it feels real enough to the characters, and how this affects their lives is where the conflict lies. I liked that there is growth in the main character, because her behaviour at first was not remarkable. This book deals with abuse and trauma, and how false memories can form as a defense mechanism. The ending is fanciful but I thought it's earned. This is a thriller with strong elements of fantasy so choose wisely!
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Wow, this book definitely lives up to it's hype. I really enjoyed it, so atmosphere, dark and compelling.
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