Review Detail

Young Adult Indie 271
A horror sequel not for the faint of heart or those with arachnophobia
Overall rating
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
N/A
Plot
 
N/A
Characters
 
N/A
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Nearly a year has passed since the tragedy in Hazel’s hometown. She still has the Shadow inside her, but she’s done her best to leave it starving and dormant. When her girlfriend Jen invites her to her basketball tournament, Hazel and her best friend hit the road for a fun-filled weekend. Unfortunately, the weekend takes a dark turn when Hazel discovers there’s a boy named Riley dealing with his own Shadow. As she tries to help him, her own Shadow arises once more, and it will take Riley, Hazel, and all their friends to confront the evil around them.

HAZEL’S MIRROR, sequel to HAZEL’S SHADOW, takes the horror to a whole new level in an intriguing blend of psychological terror, evil beings, and more than a dash of creature scares. What I love most about this sequel is that it includes the characters still dealing with their emotions from the prior book’s events. Time has passed, but what Hazel and her friends experienced will stay with them the rest of their lives, and as is expected, they’ll have periods where the weight of that is lighter or heavier to carry. The story does a wonderful job showing the nuances of moving on and living life while still holding a pain that will never fully be gone. Particularly with Hazel, there is a constant worry that the Shadow will stop being dormant because the Shadow was never destroyed. When her greatest fears come to life, you can really feel the absolute dread and horror she’s experiencing.

Riley was an unexpected but delightful addition to the cast. It opens up the world building to show that Hazel’s Shadow isn’t the only one, and Shadows can also operate differently and target people for different reasons. Riley is dealing with his own grief and troubles, and I love the scenes where he starts to trust Hazel and her friends.

While HAZEL’S MIRROR has so much going for it, I was a little disappointed with the imbalance of action and character development. The first third or so of the story does a fantastic job setting up areas where each character has room to grow and develop, but once the big action kicks in, it seems to take a backseat and only returns in the final pages, making the growth feel sudden instead of gradual. This was especially noticeable in the romance. I love Hazel and Jen, but it seemed like they were never alone together or had any time to develop their arc as a couple before the last scenes. However, this is definitely a horror novel and not a romance, so if the horror is what you’re wanting, you won’t be disappointed.

HAZEL’S MIRROR does what the best horror sequels do: puts the characters in front of their worst fears on an even grander scale than the original and asks them to fight for something greater than fear.
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