Book Review: Twin Reflections
ashley | Like other reviewers, when Elizabeth Joseph contacted me to read and review her first YA fantasy novel Twin Reflections, I was taken aback by the authors age – 14 years old! And like other reviewers, I was also kind of hesitant to pick this up, because, well, 14 years old! I remember what I was like at 14, but more importantly, I remember what my writing level was at 14 and let’s face it, it was just embarrassing. But I had to read this, it’s just such an accomplishment for someone so young and frankly, I was jealous and envious and proud all at the same time.
It’s obvious very quickly that age is just a number. If I hadn’t been told in the initial pitch, I would have no idea how young Joseph is, she has a mature way with words and crafts a strong and complex story. A story that jumps immediately into action, which I always appreciate. Though things might have moved a bit too quickly; I wish a bit more context was included at the beginning to set the back story, add a little insight into the maze or the magic or even Vera and Mark’s situation at the orphanage. It seems like we’re thrust right into the middle of things we don’t yet understand, which could be the point, but it isn’t immediately clear whether these questions are going to be answered and it takes a bit to find your grounding.
Joseph is very descriptive of the things happening to her characters, which draws you right into the story and makes you feel like you know firsthand what the characters are going through. There are some horrific descriptions of things found inside the maze and complicated illusions that Vera and Mark find themselves in. This is all very imaginative and well thought up and I love how wild Joseph’s imagination has run, but this also gets a bit complicated at times and there is a LOT happening and a lot of riddle talk. I also felt that some of the conversations between Mark and Vera were kind of bordering on twin-talk – that being what I imagine twins talk like, where they finish each other’s thoughts and know exactly what the other is talking about without there being any context for anyone who might be listening in. Sometimes the conversations seemed really random and jumping from here to there and I had more trouble trying to keep up than I should have. But Joseph mentioned this to me before I read this, so at least I was somewhat prepared.
The idea of a maze of mirrors was pretty cool, though. Not to mention the mirrors doubling as portals. It was a really interesting premise and executed well. A lot of creative work went into this and I quite enjoyed these pieces. The maze was a character in itself and it was probably one of my favourites in the book; it really comes alive and you, as the reader, are put right in there with Vera and Mark.
As I said, this book could be overwhelming and a bit confusing at times with all the illusions and I think the events outside of the maze could have been expanded on a bit more, but I also thought it was a really promising debut. Joseph has a wonderfully creative mind and I hope she keeps writing about and exploring her imaginative worlds.