Review: Monsters in the Mirror by AJ Hartley

Title: Monsters in the Mirror – 1: Beyond the Mirror

Author: AJ Hartley

Pages: 424 Pages

Publisher: UCLan Publishing

The Blurb

Darwen Arkwright’s world is turned upside down when he is forced to move from a small English town to Atlanta in the United States of America. Feeling out of place and struggling to fit in at school, Darwen seeks solace in a mysterious shop full of mirrors. It’s there that he discovers the ability to step through mirrors in to different worlds – worlds beyond his wildest imagination. Darwen befriends creatures including Moth, a tiny being with mechanical wings, but he soon learns that there is a terrible darkness threatening this new world…and only he can save it. The problem with doors is that they open both ways. There are monsters inside, and some of them are trying to get out…


The Review

I read Monsters in the Mirror a couple of months ago and even as I write this review I remember how impressive it was as a middle grade fiction.

Monsters in the Mirror is the story of Darwin Arkwright. He has just moved from a small city in England to America to live with his aunt. He is dealing with the loss of his parents, living in an unusual place, having to go to a new school and make new friends. Oh and he has a mirror that leads to another world filled with monsters.

Sounds a bit random but for a middle grade fantasy this is pretty good stuff. Darwen soon realises that he has a mission within this other world and with a small circle of close friends he manages to start out on his epic adventure.

There were some aspects of this book that were truly terrifying. Some of the monsters are so creepy that I, a fully grown adult, was creeped out by. AJ Hartley has managed to make the monsters sinister but also very original. I often think that monster stories can be overdone but Hartley sets the correct tone and allows the imagination of the reader to soar.

This is a really good middle grade novel. I am looking forward to the sequel.

Monsters in the Mirror by AJ Hartley is available now.

For more information regarding AJ Hartley (@authorajhartley) please visit

For more information regarding UCLan Publishing (@publishinguclan) please visit

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