The Mirror Chronicles: The Bell Between Worlds by Ian Johnstone [Review]


Half of your soul is missing.
The lost part is in the mirror.
And unless Sylas Tate can save you, you will never be whole again.

Sylas Tate leads a lonely existence since his mother died. But then the tolling of a giant bell draws him into another world known as the Other, where he discovers not only that he has an inborn talent for the nature-influenced magic of the Fourth Way, but also that his mother might just have come from this strange parallel place.

Meanwhile, evil forces are stirring, and an astounding revelation awaits Sylas as to the true nature of the Other. As violence looms and the stakes get ever higher, Sylas must seek out the other half of his soul – otherwise the entire universe may fall…


Early on, The Bell Between Worlds feels very familiar, old-fashioned is probably the wrong phrase, it’s more that the execution feels like the traditional fantasy novels of my childhood.

I dislike it when books get compared to the greats of the genre. Let them stand on their own feet thanks. However, I can see where the comparisons to CS Lewis and the like have come from, the initial chapters definitely have that sort of feel, although the book soon forges its own inventive course.

I really liked our main character, Sylas, insightful and determined, it’s easy to care about him straight away. Stuck living with his cantankerous and somewhat overbearing uncle, colour flares in his previously dull existence when he first comes across Mr Zhi and his Shop of Things.

Imagination sparked. The things he sees within and the book Mr Zhi gives him, soon launch Sylas on an amazing adventure. when a tolling bell, sends him into a new world

The second character I loved, was the girl Simia. Just as determined, if not more so, as Sylas. She is the first person Sylas meets in The Other, there’s an instant spark between the two, and a wonderful friendship blossoms; their looks, asides, and elbow digs to each other are just a joy to watch. Thankfully there’s no rush into a relationship between them, and indeed if it never does develop into one in future books, it won’t matter, it’ll work just as well either way. Credit to Ian Johnstone for totally nailing it.

The world building and storytelling is fantastic too, vivid, imaginative and totally engrossing it’s very easy to find yourself pulled into The Other alongside Sylas and Simia, feeling their excitement, joy, and fear, as the story unfolds.

I really enjoyed The Bell Between Worlds, and I suspect my younger-self would have been even more eager than I am for the next volume, so we could visit again.

Buy: The Mirror Chronicles: The Bell Between Worlds by Ian Johnstone

My copy was provided by the publisher via Netgalley for review purposes.


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