Mist and Mirrors
by John T. Stolarczyk

"'There is nothing here for me,' I said with finality, the verbal equivalent of the executioner's axe. Yet the corpse refused to lie still."

The world of Mist and Mirrors is shrouded in mystery and magic. Through a series of short stories, author John T. Stolarczyk introduces magic as a dark and sinister presence. It seeps into every crevice of the stories' cities and towns and clings to their walls. The book's ten stories tell the tales of the people who come into contact with this magic. Follow foolish men into a magical tapestry, struggle with visions of strange cities, and discover that here nothing is as it seems.

Each story reads like a vignette, allowing readers a momentary glimpse into another world. Stories shift perspective often, walking in the footsteps of the various men who live in these magical realms. Sometimes this is done expertly, as in the case of "And Some Travellers Return," which moves from one character to the next smoothly. Other times it keeps the reader at arm's length and prevents complete immersion.

Each story introduces a set of characters, mostly men, who are all connected in some way. Nearly every character has a personal demon to overcome. Some are driven by greed and power, while others desire to repent for their past… or control the future. The setting feels more alive than the characters. Cities breathe as the mist rolls through them, leaving mayhem in its wake. Dreams and visions play a central role in each tale and imbue the book with a haunted atmosphere. The names and faces might change with each story, but a strong theme connects them all into a solid debut work.

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