Jack’s life is screwed up. Maybe it’s because he got drunk, was kidnapped, and barely escaped with his life. Maybe it’s because the only person her could tell was his best friend Conner. Or maybe it’s because when he and Conner arrive in London for the summer, a stranger gives Jack a pair of purple-tinted glasses, through which Jack can see another world called Marbury. And it’s a terrifying place, since there’s a war going on between these savage, animalistic beings and Jack’s friends, who may be the only sane people left as far as they know. Everything is wrong in Marbury, but everything is wrong in the real world too. Maybe Jack might be falling in love with the right girl and maybe he’s somewhat decent at taking care of his friends in Marbury, but he’s afraid he’s losing his mind. And he’s not sure if it will ever be okay.
The Marbury Lens is an utterly fascinating read. I was so enthralled by the story that I found it exceedingly difficult to put it down, even though I couldn’t really get what was going on half of the time. This was partly because there was just so much going on at once. Additionally, though, many of the details and events seem like they have some sort of extra meaning, but it is just impossible to pinpoint. I’ll admit that that this frustrated me at times, because though the entire story was so intriguing, sometimes I found myself wondering what the point was. I had to step away from the big picture to truly appreciate the cleverness behind this book. Smith has some pretty great ideas, and I loved how he wove together the real world with that of Marbury in layers. Smith combines elements of psychological thrillers and fantasy to switch back and forth between the worlds along with Jack. The outcome is an incredibly fast paced that will both confuse you and kind of blow your mind, even when you can’t figure out the purpose of it all.
The Marbury Lens will be enjoyed by fans of Darkside by Tom Becker and Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves.
Review copy from publisher Macmillan