‘The Shadow Glass:’ Advance Trade Paperback Review

Be careful who you love. That line might work as the tagline of The Shadow Glass from Dark Horse. Written and illustrated by Aly Fell, with letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot ®, this lush and beautiful graphic novel brings us to the time of the Golden Age of England (1500s), where magic and lust are intertwined.

Thomas Hughes returns from the Americas in possession of a glass mirror that he refers to as “The Shadow Glass.” He swears that it possesses great magical powers, but he needs the help of an alchemist by the name of Dr. John Dees and a willing vessel to unleash it. Blackmailing his wife’s friend after having an affair with her to be that vessel, the process of calling forth the creature from the glass does not go as planned. And unbeknownst to Thomas, his paramour carries an unborn child—his daughter.  Twenty years later, that child has grown into a strong and independent woman named Rosalind. 

Fearing he is dying, the man Rosalind has always known as her father confesses to her that he is not and urges her to never contact the man who is—Thomas Hughes; however, Thomas has returned to London to once again attempt to access the power of The Shadow Glass. Rosalind overhears and sees the rise of the creature who calls herself Madimi from the glass and is smitten.  But what lengths will Rosalind go to keep her newfound love? And what will it cost her?

The cover and chapter art is lush and rich in texture. You can almost feel the softness of the fabric of their clothing. The story moves along briskly, and you feel for the young and naïve Rosalind even though you want to scream at her to run away.  Lovecraftian images of the dark abyss from the shadow glass are revealed bit by bit until the ending.  I found it interesting that the writer chose to go that way and would love to find out why. It definitely works, but I am curious as to why she chose that imagery. My only guess is that she wanted to demonstrate the cosmic horror of the unknown that is a common theme in Lovecraft.

I enjoyed the story quite a bit, and it did provide some surprises which I loved. I look forward to seeing more of Ms. Fell’s work.

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