The Mirror of Dionysus, by Brian Stableford. Hollywood Comics 2016.
Review by Sally Startup
A further sequel to The Wayward Muse and Eurydice’s Lament, The Mirror of Dionysus clears up some mysteries introduced in the earlier books, as well as bringing in some new and very fascinating possibilities.
Axel Rathenius seems to have lost some of the arrogance he appeared to display in The Wayward Muse. Or perhaps he is just more self-aware. Given his true age, this is understandable.
He finds himself entangled in some political consequences of the traumatic events described in Euridyce’s Lament. It falls to him – along with Mariette, who has previously been muse to a different painter, and Elise, a musically talented child – to join in a ritual that may help to prevent further harm. When they look into the Mirror of Dionysus, they have been told to expect visions of their true selves. Axel, being a great artist, sees far more than his own face.
This story might encourage imaginative readers to think about how myths are used, and why. In my earlier review of the Wayward Muse, I described the fictional island of Mnemosyne as a place I enjoyed escaping to. In The Mirror of Dionysus, Axel Rathenius is required to use his art to political effect more widely than he did in the earlier books. Escape can lead to freedom. And reading for escapist purposes is always a useful way to illuminate the stories of our own lives.