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A Shadow on the Glass

(The View from the Mirror #1)

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3.77  ·  Rating details ·  3,128 ratings  ·  150 reviews
In ancient times the Way Between the Worlds was shattered, leaving bands of Aachim, Faellem, and Charon trapped with the old humans of Santhenar. Now Llian, a Chronicler of the Great Tales, uncovers a 3,000-year-old secret too deadly to be revealed-while Karan, a young sensitive, is compelled by honor to undertake a perilous mission. Neither can imagine they will soon meet ...more
Paperback, 586 pages
Published 1998 by Penguin Books Australia
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Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,128 ratings  ·  150 reviews


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Shaun Adamson
Apr 11, 2011 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
...more
Nick T. Borrelli
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Great premise, poor execution in my opinion. The author constantly "tells" instead of "shows" and those are my least-favorite types of stories. As a reader it leaves nothing to the imagination at all.
Sad because I liked the idea a lot but it fell short when it came to how the story was delivered.
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,
...more
Lisa Sisneros
Apr 17, 2012 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
...more
Eric
Jun 28, 2012 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
...more
curtis
Mar 28, 2012 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.

bu
...more
Dan
Jun 01, 2019 rated it liked it
After about a month, I have only gotten a bit past half way, it just isn't holding my interest.
Eric
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is the first of a quartet of books. Fantasy it be, some things were just plain impossible, in my mind. Perils whisked away in the blink of an eye, for example. Characters showing up in the nick of time, another sad trait. This tale was a constant chase / trek with no real plot.

I will not continue the series.

Steven Poore
This year's grand series re-read is one that I barely remember from first time around. I have vague memories of borrowing this from Sheffield Libraries in those years where I was both in full-time work, attempting to buy a house, and unaware that I was probably quite ill. Not much stuck, other than an awareness that it dragged and that the cliffhanger at the end of the first book was rather dissatisfying.

So. Back we go. Protagonist Llian is refreshingly inept and dull. He's not the p
...more
Kelsha
Aug 10, 2010 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
Barbara
Jun 12, 2012 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
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.
Laura
Jan 07, 2009 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!

GIVE IT A GO!!!
secretly crazy
Apr 08, 2011 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.
A.J.
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Big fan of this book. The Chronicler's style of story-telling magic is quite unique. It brings strong themes of how history is just artistic interpretation, never the truth or reality of what happened. So clever. A powerful story-teller, who comes close to the 'true version' thereby comes close to actually bringing the past to life before us. Love it.
David Melbie
Dec 05, 2010 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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Exciting, creative, but too long due to long descriptions of scenery.
Brecht Denijs
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: nobody
Recommended to Brecht by: I can't remember
That was a mess. Sometimes you wish that a book would be truly horrible so that you could just put it aside and be done with it. This one was just good enough to keep me going and I was going back and forth between 3 and 2 stars for a bit. If I had a 2.5 option, I would have taken it. The stupid ending made me decide on a 2 star quoting in the end. I managed to get to the end, but I shan't be continuing in this series. I've learned my lesson in the past about books that show some promise but are ...more
Florien
I bought this book years ago and couldn't get through it the first time. After a decade I gave it another chance. To be honest I quite liked it. the worlds, the different races, the plot, the only thing which got annoying was the ex machina moments which seemed to happen in every chapter. I don't really like the character Karan, but Maigraith I did. The last few chapters were rushed, extremely rushed, which made me rush through them as well. I practically scanned the last 6 chapters instead of p ...more
Chris Pacheco
May 18, 2013 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, fres
...more
Anika Claire
Aug 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 Chron
...more
Hybrazil
Mar 13, 2016 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 a
...more
Moosh
Jan 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
'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
Ward Bond
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
SUMMARY:
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, le
...more
Kathi
Jul 11, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
6/10
This is book 1 in a tetralogy, so the author spends a lot of time on world-building and historical back-notes. Yet we do get to know the main characters, Llian and Karan, quite well. i thought all the major characters seem fairly nuanced--real people with flaws and strengths, warts and virtues.

I thought some of the interminable journeying could have been condensed, but the events in the escapes and chases did help develop the characters and their relationships with each oth
...more
Ramon
Oct 04, 2011 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!
K.L.
Mar 14, 2012 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!
Eric Seiler
Feb 08, 2013 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
Kristen
Dec 26, 2008 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.
Christine
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.
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531 followers
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. 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 from the Mirror. Book 2, The Fatal Gate, ...more

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)
“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.”
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