Book Review: Clippings by A.J. Mirag

This post is old, so what you see here may not reflect my current opinion and mindset, certain information may be outdated, and links may be broken.

Way back in May, I had read and written a review on Standish by Erastes. I was reminded that I needed to read Clippings by A.J. Mirag — a book that’s been on my to-read list for almost a year! I ended up buying the eBook from Lulu, because they accepted PayPal, and once I started reading, I was hooked and read the short novella for the next three hours. Now, I present you my spoiler-free review!

The Book’s Synopsis
From the author’s website.

Unfairly arrested and charged with the murder of a police officer, Daniel has been jailed indefinitely until trial. A Brazilian prison is a terrible place to lose his innocence. Daniel would have lost more than that — perhaps even his life — if not for Mephisto, his cellmate.

Clippings is the story of the challenges faced by a middle class young man in prison, and his relationship with a dark, mysterious man who seems eager to protect him, but who might have his own inscrutable plans . . .

Again, like with Standish, I wasn’t particularly drawn in by its summary, but I’m glad I took the plunge to read it — with a nudge from the reviews on the Internet!

The Goods
– Mephisto is one of the most complex characters I’ve ever read in a book. He surprised me on more than one occasion! He made a good foil to Daniel, I think.
– Lucifer (the Professor) is actually really neat! I really like how intelligent and crafty he is. His Encyclopaedia Infernalis was brilliant.
– The socio-political structure and the relationships were all very deep and meaningful — meaning it had me thinking philosophically about how everything worked out in the book. The prison hierarchy was so complicated, but yet the bottom line remained about them struggling to survive and beat the system.
– Daniel’s metamorphosis was a good thing since I actually was getting pissed off by him (see a few paragraphs down).
– The splattering of allusions and references to the entertainment (Mick Jagger and Orlando Bloom, haha!) industry, literary, historical, and biblical references. I thought they added the spice to the book. Some of the references were Brazilian, which makes sense since the author is Brazilian herself.
– I really liked being introduced to the Brazilian life and culture — albeit the prison lifestyle is not something I’d ever want to experience personally!
– The smex scenes were well-written and quite lovely. I didn’t feel like they were just randomly thrown in, so they were an asset to the story.
– I was actually surprised by the overall conclusion for the story since I was sure it was going to end in a particular way . . . but nope! Actually, there were quite a few moments where the book really did surprise me. Some parts were clichéd, but others were rather unexpected.

The Bads
– The pacing — especially at the beginning seemed a bit rushed. Parts of the other scenes/chapters felt rushed too. I couldn’t help but think maybe some parts could have been a bit longer, but that might just be me.
– Yes, Daniel is naive; yes, Daniel is young; yes Daniel is a typical young man, but at the same time, his behaviour made me want to throw a knife at him. Luckily, Mephisto and Lucifer were there to distract me from getting too !@#$!@#$ at Daniel!
– Some typos and inconsistencies were there, but as a self-published book, it can be overlooked!

The Uglies
– Call me a comma rule Nazi, but I found the author’s style of comma placement to be very distracting. There were places where a comma normally wouldn’t be there, so that would throw me off for a loop as I forced myself not to grab my imaginary red pen.
– Can a book being too short be an ugly thing? I actually wished it was longer! I know this was a novella, but it was a good novella that made me want more.

I’m glad I took the chance to read this. I started this with mixed feelings — I was hyped up and I was apprehensive — and I ended the book with a long moment of “wow” going through my head. This book was better than I really expected. Now, I’m thinking about actually ordering a hard copy of the book. I think I will in the future! Would I recommend this to anyone? Sure! I kept thinking of The Shawshank Redemption while reading this, but the two have a similar feel to it, but its differences were there, and it was a pleasant contrast.


  1. A nicely written review. I wouldn’t mind reading this book at some point myself. I looked at the summary and felt the same kind of “Ehn….” about it, but your review has caused me to rethink this initial reaction.

  2. Sounds extremely literary. I’d be curious to read it but I’m not sure how much I’d like it. Only one way to find out!

  3. Thank you!

    It really is. It is really quite annoying when people tell me my religion is wrong and when they try and tell me theirs is right or try to get me to change.

    Some people don’t really like it when they see others having two religions. Personally, it doesn’t seem ‘right’, although, while I believe in a few things in Christianity, I tend to believe and accept a lot of other things too. I sort of don’t know where I stand. :S

    This sounds like a quirky and very unique book. I have never come across a self-published one. Aww, poor comma use! I would have been feeling the same way you did. I think another proofread might have improved it a tad, but you have to congratulate the author for her great work.

    I don’t think a book being short is a flaw in any way. If the story was good, the length shouldn’t affect it! I have read several books and knowing I would get through it within an hour, I have still enjoyed it.

    I get really icky about sex scenes in books and movies which have obviously been put in just for the sake of having one. It makes me feel a bit disgusted.

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