Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Dunne Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now
Synopsis: In 1926, two brothers both loved Eleanor Raines, a promising young actress from the East End of London. But, along with Seth Lockwood, she disappeared, near to be seen again. Isaiah, Seth’s younger brother, refused to accept that she was just gone.
It has been seventy years since and the brothers are long dead. But now their dark, twisted secret threatens to tear the city apart. Seth made a bargain with Camilla, an illusionist, to make a life size version of his most famous trick, and hide away part of London to act as a prison out of sync with our time, where one year passes as one hundred. That illusion is Glass Town. And now its walls are falling.
I have such mixed feelings about Glass Town after finishing it last night. It has an awesome premise which had me very excited going into it, but the pacing was surprisingly slow and I found myself struggling to finish it.
Adding to my difficulties was my inability to connect with any of the characters. Seth is your stereotypical evil villain, but there’s no real reasons provided for his actions. Josh is likewise two dimensional and Eleanor is portrayed as a distant, too perfect figure. Their voices were also too similar and there were several times that I got confused as to who was speaking.
The world building and central mystery fair better, and I thought the author did a marvelous job blending the history of the 1920s with 1990s London. It’s very atmospheric and noirish. Another element that Savile adds is Alfred Hitchcock’s unfinished silent movie, Number 13. This was by far my favorite part of the entire story. The writing though is very dense and slowed down the pace. There’s also several sexual scenes, violence and language that based on the premise I wasn’t expecting and at timest, just seemed to be just thrown in there rather awkwardly.
Overall, Glass Town had some moments of creative brilliance, but in the end wound up being a bit of a disappointment for me. It’s not a horrible book, but given the pedigree of Steven Savile who has been a writer on shows like Dr. Who, Stargate, and Torchwood, I was expecting more. However, there are many reviewers who loved it, so I recommend you check it out for yourself, especially if you enjoy gritty historical urban fantasy and authors like Clive Barker.