Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Dork Review: The Dark Side Of The Glass

Have you ever had a book you just can't put down? Something that once you start it you have to read it all the way through to the end? The Dark Side Of The Glass was such a book for me.

It helps that it was short. This book is a novella rather than a novel, which works as it's just the right size for the story it tells. In fact, considering the subject matter, it's perfect since it feels about the same length as a television episode.

Hmm...better explain what I mean by that.

The Dark Side Of The Glass is about Mary, a lowly production assistant (PA) working on a cheesy vampire TV show shot in Toronto, similar to say, Forever Knight. Mary not only works on the show, she's its biggest fan, and therefore blind to how really terrible it is. We've all been there with something or another, haven't we? If you're into genre fiction at all, whether it be on-screen or on-page, we've all had those shows that we love even though a part of us knows they really are cheesy and over-wrought, otherwise how would such things survive?

A horrible truth sends Mary on a crash-course with destiny and a Craft Services truck. The resulting impact catapults her in the world of the show. All of this happens in the first few pages. (Hey, I said the story was short. J.M. Frey is great at pacing things.)

From there Mary ends up exploring and learning the reality of the world crafted for her favorite show and has her eyes opened in many ways while at the same time trying to change the world around her. I loved the ending and felt it was very satisfying.

What makes The Dark Side Of The Glass stand out from all the other catapulted into another world stories is how aware of itself it is. Mary is a fan-girl, trust me there is no doubt about it, and J.M. imbues her with fan-girlish glee without making her seem one-dimensional. In the short time we know her, Mary is a fully-realized character and not just a Mary Sue. Mary is aware she is in a fictional world, and there is this whole meta level of commentary throughout the story that is just hilarious. I think that even someone who isn't a lit-geek can enjoy the humor, which is vitally important as it shows J.M. is aware and actively trying to make her work as accessible as possible without dumbing it down.

So to sum up, The Dark Side Of The Glass is geeky, funny, meta, accessible, and a fun read. It has all the strengths I saw in Triptych with none of the elements I found frustrating. This book would be a nice light summer read. I recommend you go and pick it up.

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