Having read the first novel, “Don’t Look Back”, and loved it, I was beyond excited for this sequel. I bought it immediately, beginning it as soon as it arrived- and yet, there was something not quite as charming about “House of Mirrors” as what had drawn me into its predecessor. When I read the first novel, it had a flow to the plot that was fluid and engaging, characters that drew me in. While the writing was a little too simplistic at the beginning, it grew to be better and stronger. The sequel, in comparison, got off to a strong start with its writing. You can tell that Mr. Cheetham has improved as a writer, or at least that he had a better grasp on how to start the second novel.
The start may have been strong, but I’m not sure the rest of the novel was. As I read on, “House of Mirrors” ended up becoming a little clunky, at least to me. Following three separate storylines, we get to see the roles of Adam and Ella as concerned (or judgemental) parents, Henry and new character Faith as ghost seekers, and entirely new characters, Leon, Jamie, and Natalie as gold seekers. The story goes much more into the idea of demons, possession, and portals to another dimension, in a way I wasn’t expecting.
While the writing is easy to follow, it does bounce around a lot, to the point where I got rather tired of switching back and forth and just wanted more of a solid story. I still enjoyed my read, but it certainly wasn’t as captivating. It was a bit underwhelming, and certain parts of the novel became quite cheesy. For me, it was a novel that kept getting set down and picked back up again, not a fluid read.
I appreciate the growth and inner struggles of the characters, particularly that of Adam and Henry’s father-son relationship, but the rest of the novel was underwhelming. Natalie was the most interesting of the new characters, to me, but Faith and Ella’s fate were both disappointing. As a reader, I look for novels that have high points and low points, and House of Mirrors was more of an average novel throughout with a handful of lows. It’s decent, but just that- not as outstanding as its predecessor.