Book Review: The Glass Woman by Alice McIlroy

Oh, darlings, do I have a tale for you! Picture this: The Glass Woman by Alice McIlroy, a debut that whisks us away into a labyrinth of memory, AI, and the chilling depths of our own minds. Like a lovechild of Black Mirror and Before I Go to Sleep, with a sprinkle of Severance, it’s a psychological thriller that had me pondering long after I turned the last page.

Iris Henderson, our protagonist, finds herself in a peculiar pickle – waking up with no memories, a husband she doesn’t recognize, and a life she’s told she chose but can’t remember. This premise alone had me hooked, reminiscent of those sci-fi classics that tease at the fragility of human identity and the haunting possibilities of technology gone awry.

Now, let’s talk craft. McIlroy’s storytelling prowess is undeniable. The narrative, rife with suspense, digs deep into the anxieties of our era – the intertwining of our lives with AI, and the quest for autonomy in a world where our very memories can be called into question【10†source】. The exploration of these themes against a backdrop of a seemingly perfect life unraveling is, simply put, exquisite.

However, not all that glitters is silicon, my friends. Some reviews, like the one from Books, Bones & Buffy, hint at a narrative that’s sometimes more about “vibe” than a coherent plot, with answers to mysteries feeling a tad too vague or implied【9†source】. This can be a tad frustrating for those of us who love our mysteries with a side of crystal-clear resolutions. Yet, the emotional depth and ethical dilemmas Iris faces, especially towards the story’s climax, are undeniably compelling, offering a thought-provoking look at freedom and the choices that define us.

Now, let’s get a bit critical. The initial buzz around the story – a woman battling the fog of lost memories, an unfamiliar husband, and a groundbreaking AI therapy she’s apparently pioneered – is an alluring mix of intrigue and techno-anxiety. The premise promises a dive into the eerie unknown, treading the fine line between cutting-edge science and the timeless quest for identity and truth. But, as some readers pointed out, the journey through Iris’s unraveling world can sometimes feel like navigating a maze without a map, with twists and turns that may leave you scratching your head in bemusement rather than awe【8†source】.


In The Glass Woman, Alice McIlroy weaves a compelling narrative that skates on the icy edge of our modern fears about AI and identity. Despite some narrative hiccups and a plot that can feel as elusive as Iris’s lost memories, it’s a bold and beautiful dive into the chilling possibilities of our not-so-distant future. McIlroy’s debut is a testament to the enduring power of the psychological thriller, updated for an era when our innermost selves can be digitized, analyzed, and, perhaps, manipulated. A fascinating read for anyone intrigued by the intersection of technology and the human psyche. Dive in, if you dare, and discover whether Iris’s journey mirrors our impending future.

Published by Datura Books on January 2, 2024【10†source】.