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The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror…
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The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath

by Ishbelle Bee

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1175153,602 (3.77)2

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Showing 5 of 5
A penny dreadful fairy tale - Delightfully dark, wonderfully wicked – highly original!

I am so pleased I chose this book for review. I enjoyed every page and now I’ve finished it I feel like I could read it all again and enjoy it just as much.

“1888. A little girl called Mirror and her shape-shifting guardian Goliath Honeyflower are washed up on the shores of Victorian England. Something has been wrong with Mirror since the day her grandfather locked her inside a mysterious clock that was painted all over with ladybirds.”

There is a lovely blending of fairy tale and horror with this novel and when I began reading this story I thought, “Ok, is this a child’s way of making up stories and coping with her trauma or not? Or is it real?” I was delighted to discover when I read there was just so much more going on with this story.

I think to describe Bee’s novel as a penny dreadful fairy tale might come close to giving you a feel for this book. The writing is wonderful. The use of imagery, colour (I know it’s a book not a film, but you’ll get this ref when you read it!) is superb and immerses you in this world. I particularly loved the use of odd fonts and different spacing for some of the text as an excellent way of highlighting the madness of some of the characters.

I had many laugh out loud moments while reading this due to the excellent dialogue and characterisations. Seriously – Mr Loveheart turns out to be a wonderfully deranged hero and I'm glad this is marked as book 1 in his adventures, because the world needs to see more of Mr Loveheart!

There are many interconnected sub-stories here and the book jumps about in terms of time periods; some readers may not cope with this. However, I loved these extra stories and didn’t mind the jumps in time. In fact, I think, given the nature of Mirror’s gift and that she is a child, those jumps were highly appropriate. It does mean though, that you’ve got to concentrate on reading at least until you get into the swing of things.

This is a five out of five stars rating and I hardly ever say that. I really didn’t want to put it down or for it to end! I will be on the lookout for more books by this author.

Bravo Ishbelle Bee!

(Release date 2 June, 2015)
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  tracymjoyce | Nov 16, 2017 |
I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway.

This is a rather perplexing book. I expected a story centred on Mirror and Goliath but was treated to a tale that took many unexpected twists. Not to say that I was disappointed. On the contrary, I found the book delightful and truly imaginative. There is even a tale of Mirror and Goliath tucked in there. And, to be fair, it is the first volume in the adventures of Johm Loveheart.
If you like imaginative characters with just a soupcon of creepiness, you'll like this book. I did. ( )
  danojacks | Jan 5, 2017 |
The second book in this series is actually better - but this one is a good beginning. We have the story the origin story of John Loveheart. In this book - he is a bit too scattered. Of course - this is man deciding if he is evil, or good, so the scatterness is understandable.

This book isn't really a standard story - it starts with a brother and sister being taken in by relatives. The girl was given a butterfly tattoo by a mysterious being in the night. Of course, there is an evil man who recognizes the tattoo- and formerly adopts the girl. Chaos ensues - but not in the way you expect it. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Dec 13, 2015 |
Review copy

A world of spiritualists, a murderer who kills children and transfers their souls into clockwork pieces of art, a shape-shifting guardian, a possible look at the root of the Jack the Ripper legend, and I still had a difficult time embracing The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath.

Maybe it was the way the story was told piecemeal in a series of vignettes through a wide variety of first person narratives rather than with a single voice. At times it seemed disconnected. At first it almost seemed like a children's fairy tale, but before long we see the incredible darkness beneath the surface. That I liked

I'm not saying The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath is without merit. The characters are well developed and quite varied and even the most ruthless among them isn't without a tender moment or two. It's just that I wished there was more of a cohesiveness throughout.

Although a part of a series, The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath, stands well enough on its own and is available now both in paperback and e-book formats from Angry Robot Books.

I'm kind of on the fence when it comes to recommending this one. I liked it, but not enough to say others should read it, but then your mileage may vary. ( )
  FrankErrington | Jun 4, 2015 |
So... I don't even know where to start with Ishbelle Bee's The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath. This will probably be ranking as one of my favorite books of the year, but I can't tell you a think about it! I'm not entirely clear I understand what I read or understand what was going on, but I loved every minute of it. The story follows the strange events surrounding Mirror (who may or may not be dead) and her shape-changing protector, Goliath Honey-Flower, who are trying to figure out what it wrong with Mirror, since she has been altered since her grandfather locked her in a strange, coffin-shaped clock. Then there is John Loveheart, who may or may not be wicked, and his "adopted" father, Mr. Fingers, the lord of the underworld. Throw in the personification of Death, time travel, an Egyptian princess, eccentric serial killers, quirky Victorian sensibilities, and a secret group trying to live forever, and you've got yourself a rather unusual cast and series of plot points.

The writing is beautiful (tho slightly choppy in some spots), and the imagery is quite vivid (plus, I love when Bee plays with type size and spacing in certain scenes to give a sense of the action going on using the typographic structure of the sentence - nice touch!). Ishbelle Bee doesn't rely heavily of overt description on how the magic works in her world; we, as the reader, just accept that's how it is and move on with the story. These elements reminded me of Susanna Clarke or even Neil Gaiman; the world they create is strange, dangerous, and beautiful, but we don't need to slapped over the head with heavy descriptions, it just is what it is, and Bee conjures that same sense of suspended reality in her book, and I'm anxious for more from her.

And let us take a moment to appreciate the cover to this book, shall we, because it is gorgeous. ( )
  tapestry100 | Apr 24, 2015 |
Showing 5 of 5
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In the summer of 1887, my grandfather stole a clock.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0857664425, Hardcover)

1888. A little girl called Mirror and her shape-shifting guardian Goliath Honeyflower are washed up on the shores of Victorian England. Something has been wrong with Mirror since the day her grandfather locked her inside a mysterious clock that was painted all over with ladybirds. Mirror does not know what she is, but she knows she is no longer human. 

John Loveheart, meanwhile, was not born wicked. But after the sinister death of his parents, he was taken by Mr. Fingers, the demon lord of the underworld. Some say he is mad. John would be inclined to agree. 

Now Mr Fingers is determined to find the little girl called Mirror, whose flesh he intends to eat, and whose soul is the key to his eternal reign. And John Loveheart has been called by his otherworldly father to help him track Mirror down...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:50 -0400)

In the summer of 1887 my grandfather stole a clock. It was six feet high and the shape of a coffin. 1888. A little girl called Mirror and her shape-shifting guardian Goliath Honeyflower are washed up on the shores of Victorian England. Something has been wrong with Mirror since the day her grandfather locked her inside a mysterious clock that was painted all over with ladybirds. Mirror does not know what she is, but she knows she is no longer human. John Loveheart, meanwhile, was not born wicked. But after the sinister death of his parents, he was taken by Mr Fingers, the demon lord of the underworld. Some say he is mad. John would be inclined to agree. Now Mr Fingers is determined to find the little girl called Mirror, whose flesh he intends to eat, and whose soul is the key to his eternal reign. And John Loveheart has been called by his otherworldly father to help him track Mirror down… (more)

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