book review,  fantasy,  Urban Fantasy

Mirrorfall (Ash and Blue, Book #1)

 

Mirrorfall (Ash and Blue, Book # 1), by Stormy Sto Helit


Hey guys, welcome back to Bookish Beyond.
How have you been?

Today, I’m excited to be reviewing Mirrorfall (Ash and Blue, Book # 1), by Stormy Sto Helit.
So, if you’ve got your favourite drink to hand and are all settled in, let’s begin.

 

About


Ryan, a seasoned agent, fails to save a little girl in a hostage situation from dying. Unable to live with the guilt he feels, he travels to limbo to bring back her soul. Now, the girl (Stef, AKA: Spyder) is all grown up. Being estranged from her rich yet emotionally-cold family, and taking odd freelance jobs working with code, Stef’s life seems pretty empty until one day a mysterious man known as Dorian turns up at her door and invites her to work on a secret coding project.

Stef does her best to excel in her new role, fascinated when it is revealed to her that magic is real. With this new knowledge, she realises that her peculiar dreams of having died might be real memories she is barely able to grasp hold of. Soon after, Stef’s new work role is interrupted by an attack on her employer’s residence, leading her to be reunited with the agent who saved her soul so many years ago.

Said man (Agent Ryan) invites Stef to work for The Agency as a field agent, to learn all about how the human world is interspersed with Fae creatures and magic. Before long, Agent Ryan becomes a source of great comfort to Stef, who has never been able to connect to her family as her true self. With Agent Ryan, she learns that not only is she accepted for being herself but also that there is such a thing as fatherly love and support.

Despite the incredible journey Stef goes on, learning all about Fae Kind and this other world interspersed with her own, she goes on an even greater internal, emotional journey, where she learns that there are people who will love her for the real her, that she is not hopeless or worthless or stupid – just different.

Mirrorfall

 

Characters


Stef

Stef (AKA: Spyder) is in her early twenties and has been shunned by her rich, emotionally-cold family, forced to try and take care of herself in a dingy little flat, taking the odd coding job here and there to find some form of purpose in life. Immediately, I got the sense that Stef was highly intelligent, albeit a little peculiar when compared with your average overly sociable human being. Stef showed herself to be funny, curious and highly observant, always gathering information around her in a logical, analytical way. With her main claim to fame being her talent at working with code, Stef often feels worthless and like she’ll never be good enough. When I learned more about her upbringing, it became clear why she felt this way as she was never accepted for being her true self.

I personally loved how Stef always saw the beauty in the world, in little moments that others might take for granted. I also liked seeing how different she was and could relate to her examples of shutting down when overloaded with too much information. As an Autistic person, I saw much of myself in Stef’s character, and I suppose that’s why I came to identify with her on such a profound level. Whether the author intended for her to be Autistic or not, I found Stef to be a very likable, interesting, and in-depth character.


Agent Ryan

Agent Ryan is the current director of The Agency, the same man who saved Stef’s soul around twenty years ago. As a father himself, he was a naturally protective man, fond of imparting knowledge to others. He was also dutiful, taking his work seriously, to protect unsuspecting humans from Fae interference. As an immortal, sentient, yet not fully human individual, he was intriguing to learn about. I loved hearing about how Agents such as him were created and infused with a substance known only as blue. He was like a half human, half machine, reminiscent of the Terminator in the way his HUD could scan his surroundings to retrieve important data to be used in his day-to-day work. In addition, I loved seeing how he formed a strong, almost fatherly bond with Stef, teaching her what he could of his world and work, and supporting her whenever needed. I found myself warming to him immediately and really enjoyed scenes where he and Stef interacted on a deeper, more meaningful level.


Curt

Next, I’d like to discuss Curt, a fellow agency recruit, who shows Stef the ropes, so to speak. Curt came across as kind and helpful, the kind of friend who will always be there for you whenever you need them. At first, I did wonder if he could be trusted, being an ex-Solstice (an enemy group) member. However, over time he proved himself – again and again – to be more than trustworthy enough. Curt also had a good sense of humour, helping to lighten the mood of the story where needed. In addition, he was adept at reading other’s emotional cues, providing a stark contrast between himself and Stef in this regard. It was great to see how he and Stef differed, and how they helped each-other – in my opinion – to be better people.


Solstice

Finally, I would like to briefly mention Solstice, a rival group to The Agency, who appear to stand for everything The Agency does not. Solstice are hell-bent on destroying anything Fae-related, even humans who work alongside the Fae. As such, this group reminded me of terrorist organisations, with their own personal agenda, harming those who do not share their own personal, narrow view of what the world should be. I found it easy to root against them as a group because the Fae world and its occupants didn’t appear to want to harm anyone, simply going about their business as usual. 

Stormy Sto Helit: Author of Mirrorfall
Stormy Sto Helit: Author of Mirrorfall

Positive Aspects


There were so many things that I loved about Mirrorfall. As such, I’ve included a handy bulleted list below.

  • Firstly, I related to Stef so much, with the following quote really staying with me –
    ‘She didn’t know how to people. She didn’t know how to be a person, how to interact with society. And somehow, things were okay despite that.’

  • Secondly, I liked how the story began with a tense scene, putting the reader in the midst of immediate conflict and capturing their attention.

  • I also liked how Death and Limbo were humanised characters, providing stark representations of places beyond the realm of the living.

  • In addition, Stef’s way of thinking was highly amusing, relatable, and had me instantly warming to her.

  • I also liked how the story switched between Stef and Agent Ryan’s perspectives.

  • I liked Stef’s quirky mannerisms, e.g. tapping out the Fibonacci sequence when nervous as they helped to flesh out her character.

  • Furthermore, the worldbuilding in this book is fascinating. I especially loved the requiring function used by The Agency and how Stef first uses it to acquire cookies.

  • I loved how we gradually learn more about the lead character’s backstories, allowing us to understand them on a deeper level.

  • Finally, seeing the depth of Ryan and Stef’s bond brought me to tears at one point (three-quarter mark of the story) as said bond was so meaningful, pure, and profound.

Memorable Quotes


While reading Mirrorfall, I came across numerous quotes which stirred my thoughts.

1) ‘So long as you learn one new thing each day, then the day hasn’t been wasted.’
2) ‘Intelligence isn’t something to be ashamed of.’

3) ‘And maybe it would have been okay if – If there hadn’t been so much new stuff. New people. Expectations to be normal. To put up a mask for ages when she’d gotten used to being alone, to just putting it up long enough to interact with a clerk during the times she couldn’t do something over the internet. People were hard.’

4) ‘She’d always put her real self back into a box, and cried when no-one could see her.’

5) ‘Personality is an adaptation to and a product of your circumstances. Everyone deals with things in different ways. Some adaptations take longer than others.’


6) ‘Use what you know. Use what you have.’

7) ‘There are so many people who cannot see their own qualities, and the world is poorer for that.’

Mirrorfall, Stormy Sto Helit, bookish beyond, book review, book quote

Overview


Overall, Mirrorfall was a fascinating and gripping fantasy novel featuring a loveable, nerdy protagonist. There were so many wondrous scenes, all layered with deep meaning and emotion. In addition, the story ended on a cliff-hanger, making me even more excited for book two.

Themes included magic, technology, family, and love.

My Rating: 5 stars.
Recommended to: lovers of fantasy books which feature cool, nerdy protagonists.


Would you like more information?


To learn more about Mirrorfall, you can visit its Goodreads page, HERE.
Or, to find out more about Stormy Sto Helit, simply visit their website, HERE.

 

As always, thank you for joining me for today’s review.
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Have a wonderful week,
Ellie. xoxo

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