The Mirror’s Truth by Michael R. Fletcher
|Book Name:||The Mirror’s Truth|
|Author:||Michael R. Fletcher|
|Formatt:||Paperback / Ebook|
|Release Date:||November 28, 2016|
Sequel to Michael R. Fletcher’s grimdark masterpiece Beyond Redemption, The Mirror’s Truth, continues the tale of the deranged characters with new additions to the cast. The story opens with a bloody scene and Bedeckt re-emerges with a new companion called Zukunft. After abandoning his friends in the Afterdeath and escaping back to the living world with the help of Zukunft, Bedeckt is on a quest to find redemption by undoing the damage he had done to Morgen, the Geborene boy-god he had failed in Beyond Redemption.
Bedeckt’s determination to go through with his desperate quest and the aura of melancholy surrounding him reminded me of Drusas Achamian from R. Scott Bakker’s The Prince of Nothing. Bedeckt’s longing for redemption is perhaps one of the most moving themes in The Mirror’s Truth: Not only does he risk everything to undo the wrongs he had done, but he goes out of his way to stay true to his new companion Zukunft in a desperate attempt to make up for the horrible deed of leaving his friends behind. His conscience haunts him so deeply, he does absurd things to keep his oath to stick to the rather short list of crimes he would never commit and the emotional intensity in those moments is heart-wrenching.
Bedeckt is not the only character with such moments, though. The other main characters from Beyond Redemption, the self-worshipping swordsman Wichtig and the murderous, thieving Stehlen have their own struggles and intense inner conflicts. Fletcher has outdone himself in this book and the way he brings forth the glimmer of softness in the vilest, toughest characters is second to none. Another thing he brilliantly brings to life is the conflict. Extremes of betrayal and loyalty, selfishness and selfless acts meet in the same characters and it’s glorious to experience it from the character’s point of view. Like Beyond Redemption, reader can’t help but feel sympathy for the horrible people who do horrible things.
The setting in The Mirror’s Truth isn’t as gritty as Beyond Redemption, but parts of it remain filthy and unforgiving, making a striking contrast with the sparkling clean places created by Morgen’s obsession with cleanliness and perfection. Morgen is a fascinating character and Fletcher has masterfully crafted his development from the innocent child into a broken young adult troubled with guilt. How his past and guilt haunt him can be heart-breaking at times. His interactions with his reflection and the allegories involved are compelling and wade into the literary fiction territory.
Where there were Konig’s Doppels scheming in Beyond Redemption, in The Mirror’s Truth we have the reflections of various characters plotting against them and trying to manipulate people and events. Their interactions with the original versions of the characters were some of the most entertaining parts of the book for me.
Stehlen’s character development is truly stellar and the roller-coaster of her complexity and emotional depth has taken me from hating her guts to cheering for her. Stehlen is, despite being a horrible person, one of the most likeable and interesting female characters out there. She is the most intriguing and complex female character in the grimdark subgenre I have seen to date.
I must say I missed Gehirn from Beyond Redemption in the beginning, but the new characters and intriguing new delusions made that fade rather quick.
One thing that makes The Mirror’s Truth such a page turner is the dynamic nature of the story, not only the twists and turns but the changes in the characters’ moods and attitudes as they try to cope with the difficult situations and mayhem abound.
The ending is bittersweet as one could expect from the grimdark subgenre, but I found it quite satisfying. If you are into dark fiction with an original concept and compelling characters, this book and the Manifest Delusions series is definitely for you.