The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath

(The Peculiar Adventures of John Loveheart, Esq. #1)

by Ishbelle Bee

(Publisher: Angry Robot Books, 2015)

I received a free copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A penny dreadful fairy tale – Delightfully dark, wonderfully wicked – highly original!
I am so pleased I chose this book for review.  I enjoyed every page and now I’ve finished it I feel like I could read it all again and enjoy it just as much.

“1888. A little girl called Mirror and her shape-shifting guardian Goliath Honeyflower are washed up on the shores of Victorian England. Something has been wrong with Mirror since the day her grandfather locked her inside a mysterious clock that was painted all over with ladybirds.”

There is a lovely blending of fairy tale and horror with this novel and when I began reading this story I thought, “Ok, is this a child’s way of making up stories and coping with her trauma or not? Or is it real?”  I was delighted to discover when I read there was just so much more going on with this story. 
I think to describe Bee’s novel as a penny dreadful fairy tale might come close to giving you a feel for this book. The writing is wonderful.  The use of imagery, colour (I know it’s a book not a film, but you’ll get this ref when you read it!) is superb and immerses you in this world.  I particularly loved the use of odd fonts and different spacing for some of the text as an excellent way of highlighting the madness of some of the characters.
I had many laugh out loud moments while reading this due to the excellent dialogue and characterisations.  Seriously – Mr Loveheart turns out to be a wonderfully deranged hero and I’m glad this is marked as book 1 in his adventures, because the world needs to see more of Mr Loveheart!
There are many interconnected sub-stories here and the book jumps about in terms of time periods; some readers may not cope with this. However, I loved these extra stories and didn’t mind the jumps in time.  In fact, I think, given the nature of Mirror’s gift and that she is a child, those jumps were highly appropriate.  It does mean though, that you’ve got to concentrate on reading at least until you get into the swing of things. 
This is a five out of five stars rating and I hardly ever say that.  I really didn’t want to put it down or for it to end!  I will be on the lookout for more books by this author.
Bravo Ishbelle Bee!

(Release date 2 June, 2015)