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A Shadow on the Glass (The View from the Mirror #1)

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,564 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
Once there were three worlds, each with their own people. Then, fleeing out of the void, on the edge of extinction, came the Charon. And the balance changed for ever.

Karan, a sensitive with a troubled past, is forced to steal an ancient relic in payment for a debt. But she is not told that the relic is, in fact, the Mirror of Aachan, a twisted, deceitful thing that remembe
Paperback, 586 pages
Published May 4th 2000 by Orbit (first published 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Shaun Adamson
Apr 11, 2011 Shaun Adamson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will never forget the first time I started reading this book. It was at a very awful time in my life following a severe family dispute and temporary homelessness.

Isn't this what fantasy is really for, perhaps more so then any other genre? To escape our world, to escape to another universe? to leave behind sadness, grief, tension, or simply boredom? To immerse ourselves utterly within an alien culture, amongst characters that are so different in so many ways yet still we can relate to?

All thi
Nicholas Karpuk
Ever have someone telling you a really interesting anecdote and someone else interrupts with a boring, only vaguely related story? That's how Ian Irvine writes.

It starts off with the main character telling a story about this fictional universe, which for me is tantamount to beginning a college lecture with a long, growling fart.

Of course it goes on to establish some interesting characters, some rather gripping descriptions, and a brisk, engaging pacing. But ever so often, sometimes without warni
Sep 03, 2012 Eric rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I’m not quite sure how to start here, so I’ll just jump in and say I didn’t like it. Here’s why:

1) It was far too “convenient.” Anytime the author seemed to write himself into a corner, the plot would miraculously solve itself by introducing previously unrevealed information, new magical powers, or another character. It was “Deus ex Machina” to the extreme, and I found that frustrating as a reader.

2) The writing was awkward and jarring initially, and had I not been reading this book based on a
Lisa Sisneros
Apr 17, 2012 Lisa Sisneros rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all-time-faves
It's been a long time since I've re-read this series, but from memory, I really loved the unique take on the fantasy genre Ian Irvine has. It's not your traditional high fantasy, incorporating some interesting sci-fi elements that make The View from the Mirror series truly one of a kind.

I am always looking for obscure authors with impressive talent, something a little left of middle that has all the execution of a polished, mainstream writer, but without the cookie-cutter plots and cliched char
Jan 01, 2014 curtis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
i don't like the way Irvine stops everything to describe new characters in detail; it feels like fan fiction.

the blurb on the front says, "...a worldbuilding labor of love." And that's a nice way of saying Irvine spends too much time trying to tell you how awesome and well thought-out his fictional world is.

Irvine has no feel for pacing. whether that's narrating long passages of time or expressing action, he always hits the wrong tone or rhythm with his words.

but, at about a third of the way thr
Sep 12, 2015 Connie53 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-read
Onverwacht een leuk boek van Ian Irvine. Ik had nog nooit iets van hem gelezen en dus paste hij prima iin de september-challenge van de : Lees een boek van een voor jou onbekende schrijver.
En dat was dus een verrassing en een leuke. Lekkere ouderwetse fantasy, met een geheim voorwerp, een jongen en een meisje en veel avontuur.
Aug 10, 2010 Kelsha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eventually I came to appreciate this book as a creative story, but it was long in comming. The story starts out very slowly and it takes a long time for the reader to get to know the characters and just as long to care about them. Eventually I really came to appreciate Llian because he was an unlikely hero. In fact, he was so normal that many of the other characters come to despise him for it. Also, most of the other characters are blind to his attributes once they have created a flawed picture ...more
Jun 12, 2012 Barbara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful read. I found 'The View from the Mirror' serise (of which this is Vol 1) when I was driving a lot & bought the Audio Books. The story line sounded interesting, so I thought I would give it a go. Wow! I was hooked. I enjoyed it so much that when I'd finished listening to all 4 volumes- I went out & bought the books as well. I have read the books twice & listened to the audio books at least 4 times. If your looking for an epic Sci-Fi Fantasy you cant' go past these by Austr ...more
Jan 15, 2009 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book in a charity shop and i picked it up simply because of the cover (in those days i wasnt much of a reader).

However from the moment i picked this up to read i was completely hooked on this three world series. I have now read this complete collection as well as the second three world series and i am currently awaiting the new arrival of the final boook of the third series.

Really good read but annoying that each book ends on a cliff hanger!

Confused Little Walkie Bit
I was beginning to get seriously burned out on the fantasy genre when I picked up this book by Ian Irvine back in my first year of college. I didn't get into this series much at first—it tends to move slowly at times—but Irvine does a wonderful job of weaving a fantasy tale that throws the traditional fomula of the genre out the window. The world is carefully crafted, and the characters in it are richly flawed and wholly human.
secretly crazy
Apr 08, 2011 secretly crazy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I adore the characters of Karan, and especially Lian. The whole series, and all his fantasy books really, are just novels I keep returning too, although this one, as the earliest in the View from the Mirror Quartet, is one of my favorites,before the stories all split - a lot - and things started getting very twisty and backwards.
David Melbie
Dec 05, 2010 David Melbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy fans only!
Recommended to David by: Jeannie Yarbrough
This is a really good story. Full of names that I can't pronounce, lots of back history and full of made-up races of quasi-human characters with strange mental abilities -- who could ask for anything more? --From A Reader's Journal, by d r melbie.
David Hayden
Feb 01, 2012 David Hayden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Exciting, creative, but too long due to long descriptions of scenery.
Mar 13, 2016 Hybrazil rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very hard to get excited about. The author has obviously developed a formula for structuring sentences. Everything he says is structured in terms of this formula. It reminds me of the sort of advice my year 6 school teacher gave me in Creative Writing class. For example, he seems to take every opportunity to insert an adjective, a la: The tall man carefully handed the old paper to the suspicious woman. Okay, it's not that bad, but it's on the way there...

The themes are also cliched and boring. T
Angelya (Tea in the Treetops)
Originally reviewed on The Oaken Bookcase on 28/7/2012.

Karan is a young woman, a sensitive with powers of the mind, who is recruited to help Magraith break into a fortress and steal an ancient relic. All does not go to plan, however, and Magraith is captured. Karan manages to escape with the Mirror of Aachan but is pursued away and across Meldorin for weeks. Eventually she flees into the mountains, where she runs into Llian, much to her disgust.

Llian is a graduating student Chronicler who is cas
Jan 25, 2012 Moosh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'A Shadow On The Glass' is the first book in Ian Irvine's fantasy series 'A Tale Of Three Worlds'. As the name of the series suggests it follows the tales of three different worlds that are connected and inhabit different human species (among others). This particular book follows two characters who paths cross due the stealing of a powerful mirror that everyone in the world of Santhenar (the world in which it is set) seems to want. Irvine is clearly influenced by Tolkien, as this series opens up ...more
Chris Pacheco
Jul 22, 2013 Chris Pacheco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tonite is my review-A-thon
bout to get my groove on with the keyboard, and complete some late but most likely unread book reviews.

so... let get it ON!!!!
Irvine, Ian... lets call him DUBBLE i. Well, i picked up this little ditty called A SHADOW ON THE GLASS.
and for a book/ author i aint never heard of this shit was SOOOOOO fucking good. SHIT! it was such a damned surprise. the more and more i contiued to read. the book just sucked me in like a cock thirsty whore, fresh off a 15 yr stretch of solit
Ward Bond
Jun 23, 2012 Ward Bond rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With this stunning and original debut, Ian Irvine begins the saga of The View from the Mirror, a brilliant epic fantasy that rivals the works of Robert Jordan and J. V. Jones. "Once there were three worlds, each with its own human race. Then, fleeing from out of the void came a fourth race, the Charon. Desperate, on the edge of extinction, they changed the balance between the worlds forever..." THE TALE OF THE FORBIDDING In ancient times the Way Between the Worlds was shattered, leaving
S. Lynham
I have the other 3 books in this series that I plan on reading but it feels like the story weaver is dropping some threads or is somehow just not used to planning a four book series....some of the stories within this book seem to have nowhere to go, others seem to have not enough of the base set in place for it to soar

The world he has created is an interesting one yet he has failed to really outline the differences between the 4 species that currently inhabit it so we can see why the "blending"
Jan 22, 2015 Sasha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved the Tainted Realm Trilogy. Which is why I was eager to read some of the author's other novels. However, this one just didn't have it for me.
I felt like there was no character associations for the reader; there was a severe lack in moments where you expect to delve into a character, what he or she is feeling, and therefore associate and sympathize for them.
Even the characters themselves were poorly written. Karan, think Merida from Brave, is just minding her own business on h
Mar 19, 2012 K.l. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, epic-fantasy
A bit of a slow start, and I struggled to get into it, but soon found myself gripped by the story of Karan and Lian - a proper epic fantasy story, the two main characters barely get time to breathe before being thrown into pursuit, torture and perilous escapes. Can't wait to see how the next book turns out! Really good, well thought out fantasy world and races, and the characters are believable, and rather lovable!
Oct 05, 2011 Ramon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the start of my favorite Epic Fantasy series to-date; I am still searching for something to compare....
There are 10 books in this fantastic series, full of great characters, action, pace... it takes you away to another world that you will remember for a long time to come. It's a big read, but you will be hang'in out for the next book. I highly reccommend this seriers and Big Ups to Ian!
Mar 06, 2015 Matisse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got this book from the free book shelf in my tenth grade history class. I was a kid; virtually all of the story's nuance flew clear over my head. I'm hella glad I gave 'A Shadow on the Glass' a chance a re-read it, almost a decade later. Ian Irvine is an absolute master at his craft. This isn't the first volume of a book, it's the start of a love affair with an entire world.

The book has a rough start, and if you're not used to high fantasy (like myself), the first hundred pages or so can be a
May 28, 2009 Kristen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 3-09, saga
This is a great fantasy novel, part one of a trilogy, which had action and drama to a shocking end of the story. I rarely read fantasies. But I'm up to making allowances. I had his name under eco-thrillers, in which he did write one. I might read more of his next year.
Feb 08, 2013 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I liked this book, however it took me three separate tries of starting and putting it down and starting over again to make it through the first book and then the series. While it has been a while since i read it, I do recall finally enjoying the story
Jun 19, 2010 Viridian5 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The narration has something of the style of the old 1970s fantasy and some science fiction, but my nostalgia for that style doesn't make up for how "meh" this book left me. By the end I was tired of everyone's misery and backstabbings.
I would rate this book about a 3.5.

It was a nice, fantasy adventure book. An enjoyable ride, with some unexpected twists and turns. Overall it was good, although I think it could have been cut back at least by 100 pages.
Apr 01, 2012 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-faves
A little slow to start but once I got into it I really enjoyed it. His character development was very detailed and clever and the plot flowed along as the building of a great saga. Made me want to read the next installment.
Jun 07, 2016 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2016
A bit too wordy with the descriptions which bogs the story down, but overall a solid start. Karan irked me in the book and drove me nuts.

I will defiantly follow up with the other books in the series
Jan 18, 2009 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a cracking series and the characters were excellent. They were unusual characters, very flawed. The story is quite long and again descriptive, but the writing is very strong.
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I'm an Australian author of 32 novels, mainly fantasy. They include the bestselling Three Worlds epic fantasy sequence, which has sold over a million print copies and has been published in 11 countries. It comprises The View from the Mirror quartet, The Well of Echoes quartet and The Song of the Tears trilogy. I’m currently writing The Gates of Good and Evil, the long-awaited sequel to The View fr ...more
More about Ian Irvine...

Other Books in the Series

The View from the Mirror (4 books)
  • The Tower on the Rift (The View from the Mirror, #2)
  • Dark is the Moon (The View from the Mirror, #3)
  • The Way Between the Worlds (The View from the Mirror, #4)

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“My name is Llian. I've come to save you."
Said to Karan just before Llian falls flat on his face in front of her.”
More quotes…