ARC REVIEW: FLINT AND MIRROR BY JOHN CROWLEY

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Thank you to Netgalley and Tor publishing for providing an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS

“Crowley is generous, obsessed, fascinating, gripping. Really, I think Crowley is so good that he has left everybody else in the dust.”—Peter Straub

From award-winning author John Crowley comes a novel that masterfully blends history and magic in Flint and Mirror.

As ancient Irish clans fought to preserve their lands and their way of life, the Queen and her generals fought to tame the wild land and make it English.

Hugh O’Neill, lord of the North, dubbed Earl of Tyrone by the Queen, is a divided man: the Queen gives to Hugh her love, and her commandments, through a little mirror of obsidian which he can never discard; and the ancient peoples of Ireland arise from their underworld to make Hugh their champion, the token of their vow a chip of flint.

From the masterful author of Little, Big comes an exquisite fantasy of heartbreaking proportion.

I’m DNFing this at 32% of the way in. I hate to do it, I really do, but I am bored to tears reading this book. Flint and Mirror is written the way a particularly dry text-book is written. Everything is described matter-of-factly — there is little to no imagination used in the language. Now this might be because a great deal of actual history is used in this novel, but that doesn’t excuse the book being drier than the Sahara.

Flint and Mirror takes place back around the mid-1500’s during Queen Elizabeth’s reign. The Irish clans are fighting to keep their land, while Elizabeth and England are fighting to take Ireland for their own. Very little magic is weaved throughout that I saw during 32% of the book, but it is there.

There are little interspersed scenes of actual conversations between characters, but these are few and far between. The bulk of the book as far as I read, is just told to you. Very little showing or experiencing the actions at hand, just told as flatly as possible. Each paragraph is enormous, and sentences drag on and on before they get to the point. It’s possible that’s just how John Crowley’s work is, but whatever the reason, I did not enjoy how Flint and Mirror was written.

There are battles in this book! Mentions of fae-like creatures. Murder! Plots and schemes. By all accounts, this book should have been action-packed; it should have been a page turner. Despite all of that, all I wanted to do was put it down, so here I am, putting it down.

Flint and Mirror comes out April 19, 2022.

Preorder at your local indie bookstore, or at the following links:

AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE

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