Creative. Engaging. Well written. These adjectives summarize well the fun steampunk novel, Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors by H. L. Burke.
SUMMARY (From back): Nyssa Glass is a reformed cat burglar turned electrician’s apprentice, settled into a life repairing videophones and radio-sets. However, when her past comes calling, she finds herself forced into one last job. No one has entered Professor Dalhart’s secluded mansion in almost a decade, at least not and returned to tell the tale. If Nyssa wants to ensure her freedom, she’ll brave the booby trapped halls and mechanized maids. Nyssa has skills, but this house has more than its share of secrets. As she steps into the cobwebbed halls lined with dusty mirrors, she has to wonder. Is the House of Mirrors really abandoned?
WHAT I THOUGHT: I’ve never read anything by H. L. Burke before but when she offered her latest release to me for an honest review, I thought I’d check it out and I’m glad I did, for this fun adventure did not disappoint.
I love steampunk for the creativity authors show re: inventions in the Victorian era that could have been. This novel captured Burke’s vivid imagination as we find a house full of mirrors that feed data into a central computer. I love the imagery, for mirrors not only reflect ourselves, but more importantly, give sight and that’s the roll the host of mirrors throughout the old abandoned manor serve. In fact, after investigation, they reveal that the manor is not deserted at all. But what manner of beings does Nyssa, our protagonist, find inhabit the place? Now that is the question…and it won’t be what you expect, trust me, for it proved a great plot twist when I found out.
The characters were well done as well. Our primary character, Nyssa Glass, is a spunky teen thrust into a situation not of her making. But this girl, who has a past she is trying to escape, proves quite the curious heroine as she befriends the house’s computer. I appreciated her resolve as well as ingenuity as she encounters obstacle after obstacle, but like McGyver, figures out a way through. If I had a complaint with the character it would be Nyssa’s seeming lacks of response to a horrific murder she witnesses as well as lack of an emotional response to who/what she finds in the house. When I got to several instances where I would have totally freaked, Nyssa puts on a stiff upper lip of sorts and under reacts. That’s not a big detraction from the narrative for she is very much an analytical, figure-things-out kind of character.
I also loved the house computer that she meets early on. The personality and humor it introduces are steampunk at its best and enhances the story. If the protagonist isn’t reason enough, read this book for the computer, for we find out it’s more than just your average machine..and yet another great plot twist 🙂
Overall, I give this 4.5 stars!
Buy Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors (at Amazon)
Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
FB: LRWLee Author
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