Book Review: THE SHADOW GLASS by Josh Winning

Title in grey on graphic of fox-headed man on blue
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: standalone

Blurb:

Book cover for THE SHADOW GLASS: title in silver below a fox-headed human in a frame

Jack Corman is failing at life. Jobless, jaded and facing the threat of eviction, he’s also reeling from the death of his father, one-time film director Bob Corman. Back in the eighties, Bob poured his heart and soul into the creation of his 1986 puppet fantasy The Shadow Glass, but the film flopped on release and Bob was never the same again.

In the wake of Bob’s death, Jack returns to his decaying childhood home, where he is confronted with the impossible — the puppet heroes from The Shadow Glass are alive, and they need his help. Tipped into a desperate quest to save the world from the more nefarious of his father’s creations, Jack teams up with an excitable fanboy and a spiky studio exec to navigate the labyrinth of his father’s legacy and ignite a Shadow Glass resurgence that could, finally, do Bob proud.

Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

I’d seen THE SHADOW GLASS around a lot on social media earlier this year and I have finally, in the run up to YALC, got around to reading it, and it is an absolute blast.

A movie comes to life, except the characters have changed a bit and new concepts from fans and the like have altered the mythos. It means that the human heroes don’t quite know what to expect, other than it’s dangerous and they’re running out of time to save the world of the film and the human one too.

The mission is pretty high-octane, with a quest-y element of finding missing pieces of the titular shadow glass (always a bonus!) The book runs between action sequences places related to the film and also a comic-con, which was really fun to come across reading this before attending one myself!

The emotional heart is the 30-something protagonist coming to terms with the broken, fractured relationship he had with his father, who is now dead. It’s about dealing with difficult childhoods as an adult, trying to understand and put that bit of the past behind you. (Side note, but I’ve seen this book mostly advertised as if it were YA. It’s really not, not because it’s graphic because it’s not, but because of the emotional journey of the protagonist, and also a 30-something is in no way a teenager!)

I am not a big movie watcher, and I can’t say I’ve seen any of the real 1980s films that are references, but you definitely get that feel that it’s melding the modern day with an era that’s gone but fondly remembered. Even without knowing any of the films of that period, it still has a (admittedly slight for knowledgeless me!) nostalgia hit, which is pretty impressive!

Between every chapter is a piece of multi-media (sometimes called mixed media) – interview transcripts, script extract, excerpt from the world’s a to z. It really makes the fan world of the Shadow Glass feel much more real, seeing all these other people interacting with it. Also, I just love the creativity of multi-media.

The book wraps up nicely, and I doubt there’s going to be another book, but it’s put Josh Winning on my list of authors to look out for.

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