Review: Glass Town by Steven Savile

Synopsis/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:
There's always been magic in our world We just needed to know where to look for it

In 1924, two brothers both loved Eleanor Raines, a promising young actress from the East End of London. She disappeared during the filming of Alfred Hitchcock’s debut, Number 13, which itself is now lost. It was the crime of the age, capturing the imagination of the city: the beautiful actress never seen again, and the gangster who disappeared the same day.

Generations have passed. Everyone involved is long dead. But even now their dark, twisted secret threatens to tear the city apart.

Joshua Raines is about to enter a world of macabre beauty, of glittering celluloid and the silver screen, of illusion and deception, of impossibly old gangsters and the fiendish creatures they command, and most frighteningly of all, of genuine magic.

He is about to enter Glass Town.

The generations-old obsession with Eleanor Raines’s unsolved case is about to become his obsession, handed down father-to-son through his bloodline like some unwanted inheritance. But first he needs to bury his grandfather and absorb the implications of the confession in his hand, a letter from one of the brothers, Isaiah, claiming to have seen the missing actress. The woman in the red dress hadn’t aged a day, no matter that it was 1994 and she’d been gone seventy years.

Long buried secrets cannot stay secrets forever. Hidden places cannot stay hidden forever.

The magic that destroyed one of the most brutal families in London’s dark history is finally failing, and Joshua Raines is about to discover that everything he dared dream of, everything he has ever feared, is waiting for him in Glass Town.

When Steven Savile's Glass Town appeared on my doorstep it was my first time hearing about it; however, as soon as I read the synopsis, I decided it may be the book for me and dove right in. 

The Result? Glass Town has left me feeling incredibly torn. On one side I enjoyed it. I found the premise unique, the mystery multilayered and suspenseful, and the characters complex. On the other side, however, it was too odd for my liking. Some parts left me flabbergasted and even churned my stomach. 
Eleanor Raines.
That was her name.
My obsession.
The object of my desire. I was going to say affection, but there was nothing remotely affectionate about it. Desire is a much better word. Less wholesome. Desire speaks of dark places, of yearning, sweat. - pg. 1 
Glass Town is built upon obsession as well as desire. 

Obsession can be a dangerous thing - it can cause you to lose your grip on reality as well as your friends and family. There's something about it, however. Something you just can't resist. That's what Isaiah and his brother Seth discovered over 90 years ago in their respective quests for Eleanor Raines's love and attention. With obsession there's a winner as well as a loser, and Isaiah unfortunately lost; however, he never gave up and passed that obsession - that compulsion - to find Eleanor to generation after generation. 

It amazed me how much Steven Saville could build upon two men's desires. He brought along mystery, the supernatural, and magic with it. The later of the three truly managed to fascinate me. I've also been curious about magic and the illusions a magician creates. The illusion in Glass Town is more complex than you'd ever imagine, and it shocked me how deep it ran. Additionally, throughout Glass Town I had so many questions: Where had they hidden Eleanor? How does one get into Glass Town? What was Seth's end game? Would Josh survive? These questions kept me hooked, turning page after page in search of answers. At sometimes I couldn't believe that so many events could be based on one person - someone who "existed" over 100 years ago. Was she really worth it? However, I guess, that's the crazy thing about obsession - it doesn't depend on worth but desire. 

Glass Town never settles on one POV. Over the course of the book a variety of POVs are introduced -  Seth, Josh, Damiola, Julie, Taff, and Gideon. While each character comes from different backgrounds each are connected through obsession. For Seth, the man who started it all, his obsession with Eleanor may just break him. Seth is the ultimate villain. He's frightening as well as chilling and he always plays dirty. Josh, the great-grandson of Isaiah, is obsessed with solving the case, no matter at what cost. Josh's obsession was almost as large as Seth's, which I found surprising at time given the short timeline. I will say, however, that no character was incredibly well developed, nor did I ever truly forge a connection with any of them. 

Overall, Glass Town is a book I liked but didn't love. Some parts just didn't appeal to me; however, there was something about it that kept me reading. I suggest this to fans of magic and illusion. 

3 stars!! 

Glass Town is now available!

Source: Hardcover provided by publisher for review

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