Wednesday 3 January 2024

Book Review: The Theatre of Glass and Shadow by Anne Corlett (Magical Realism/Thriller)

Title: The Theatre of Glass and Shadow
Author: Anne Corlett
Publisher: Black and White Publishing
Publication Date: 24 May 2024
Pages: 400
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Magical Realism/Thriller
Source: ARC via NetGalley

Sometimes the greatest spectacle hides the darkest secrets . . .

In an alternate London, the city's Theatre District is a walled area south of the river where an immersive production - the Show - has been running for centuries, growing ever bigger, more sprawling and lavish. The Show is open to anyone who can afford a ticket but the District itself is a closed world; even the police have no jurisdiction within its walls.

Juliet's mother died when she was a baby. Brought up by her emotionally distant father and even more distant stepmother, she has never felt wanted. It's only when her father passes away that Juliet - now nineteen - learns her birth was registered in the District. Desperate to belong somewhere at last, she travels to London where she hopes to unearth the truth about her identity, her mother's death and her father's years of silence - and claim her birthright.

But in the District, there is only one central truth: the Show must go on. And in a world where illusions abound, and powerful men control the narrative, Juliet has no idea of just how far some will go to ensure certain stories are never told . . .


The Theatre of Glass and Shadow had a slow start for me, but after about 50 pages I got into the story. The idea of the Theatre District was fascinating, and it was fun to learn more about it as we followed Juliet's own journey of discovery. It was a novel with rich description, so you got a great sense of the detail in each scene. I also liked the mystery elements at first. However, I felt the story lost its way a little towards the end. After the slow start, the ending felt rushed as the author tried to tie off as many of the loose threads as possible, and with one reveal coming hot on the heels of another they began to loose impact. I nevertheless found it an enjoyable read and it was certainly a fresh idea that was mostly well presented. I am therefore giving it four stars. Recommended if you like magical realism with a darker, almost-thriller edge.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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