The Mirror Thief is a three-timeline story about 1) a vet home from Afghanistan trying to find an old gambler friend of his father’s in 2003 Las Vegas, 2) a homeless teenage grifter looking for the poet who wrote a book he’s desperately trying to understand in 1950s California and 3) an alchemist in 1500s Italy arranging the theft of mirror-making artisans for the Hakemi Sultan in Constantinople.
The three settings (the Venetian, Venice Beach and Venice) felt distinct in style of story and language, but connect reasonably satisfactorily. It wasn’t mind blowing but it was entertaining. If you like the more arty parts of Hannibal, this would be a good one to try.
Expected more from this story. I read reviews that compared it to the work of David Mitchell and to Game of Thrones.
It wasn't. Disjointed plots did not make a connection. Ending was not satisfying.
This is a novel. It's lengthy & involved. Seay is an intelligent, educated writer - I expanded my vocabulary by reading this, and wish that I knew Italian. The story transports the reader to Italy, Las Vegas, and SoCal, via Brooklyn. A bit of fantasy, a lot of historical fiction, and a somewhat disappointing end (IMHO) as characters seem not to have a problem with being in several places as once (that is, transportation isn't bounded by time, and things wrap up nicely). A great read for anytime you have a lot of time.
Based on the reviews, I kept expecting this book to connect the three story lines more strongly. Never happened. Kirkus reviews had it right: " Seay's great challenge is to bind these talky stories together, which he does to varying degrees of success; often the story seems an exercise in stringing together index-card notes on various arcane subjects, and while the book is well-written and admirable in the ambition of its scope, it still feels under-cooked. Entertaining enough, if less a hall of mirrors than a house of cards." (Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2016)
I enjoyed the stories both separately and as they echoed themes and intersected with each other. Actually 3 different stylized writings. Sadly lacking as I am in old Venice, I enjoyed the challenge of learning new words and a new society. The author was able to paint descriptive pictures with his words. While not a plot driven adventure novel, the story did move along.
It doesn't often happen that I have to abandon a book, but this is one of them. I read a third of it, hoping that it would improve, but the story was just dragging along and the whole point of it hard to grasp, and eventually I gave up on it.
Big and ambitious. It starts out really strong with a great crime/suspense story in modern-day Vegas, but loses the tension about halfway through with changes in perspective/setting/plot. Could have been really, really good, only manages to be okay.
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