Book Review

Out Of The Mirror, Darkness By Garth Nix

Out of the Mirror, Darkness

  • Author: Garth Nix
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Publication Date: November 15, 2022
  • Publisher: Amazon Original Stories
  • Series: Into Shadow #7

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

CONTENT WARNING: mention of addiction, allusion to abortion, allusion to homophobia

A cynical “fixer” for a silent-film studio must confront the shadows behind the bright lights in this noir-tinged short story by New York Times bestselling author Garth Nix.

It’s business as usual on the set of another cheap sword-and-sandal production by Pharos Pictures—until the lead actress suddenly falls into a deep, mysterious sleep. Jordan Harper can talk down high-strung starlets and knock sense into stuntmen, but this…this is the kind of uncanny problem that he’d usually bring to Mrs. Hope. Unfortunately, the preternaturally capable secretary is on a business trip with the studio head. Harper must get to the bottom of the mystery on his own before another cast member succumbs—or worse, they blow the budget.

Although I’ve had Garth Nix books on my TBR for quite a while, I haven’t actually gotten to read any yet. So I figured that starting with a short story was a great way to familiarize myself with his writing before jumping in to a full book. And while short stories generally aren’t my preferred medium, Nix managed to impress me in 37 short pages with a really great short story.

His writing is great, and I found it easy to slip into the story. Even though I was a little unsure about the story itself at first, I did enjoy the writing, and that was enough to keep me going. And what I realized was that this story, set on the lot of a low-budget film studio in the 1930s, quickly pulled me in. I started to like the characters very quickly, and wanted to get to the bottom of the central mystery of what the heck was actually going on.

When a mysterious sleep starts to affect both a canine actor and then the lead starlet on their production, Jordan Harper has to step in and fix the situation. But it quickly becomes clear that this isn’t any normal situation, and Mrs. Hope, a secretary who would normally handle these type of … unusual situations, is out of town. 

The way things happen throughout the story was fascinating, and I enjoyed seeing the plot twists appear. I was surprised multiple times throughout the story, and I flew through this. Although this collection of stories was rather up and down, this was one of the highlights of the series. I’m definitely going to have to go out of my way to start a Garth Nix book now, because I need more of this in my life.

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 3

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