Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dark Mirror by M.J. Putney

Title: Dark Mirror
Author: M.J. Puteny
Release: March 1, 2011

Lady Victoria Mansfield, youngest daughter of the earl and countess of Fairmount, is destined for a charmed life. Soon she will be presented during the London season, where she can choose a mate worthy of her status.

Yet Tory has a shameful secret—a secret so powerful that, if exposed, itcould strip her of her position and disgrace her family forever. Tory’s blood is tainted . . . by magic.

When a shocking accident forces Tory to demonstrate her despised skill, the secret she’s fought so hard to hide is revealed for all to see. She is immediately exiled to Lackland Abbey, a reform school for young men and women in her position. There she will learn to suppress her deplorable talents and maybe, if she’s one of the lucky ones, be able to return to society.

But Tory’s life is about to change forever. All that she’s ever known or considered important will be challenged. What lies ahead is only the beginning of a strange and wonderful journey into a world where destiny and magic come together, where true love and friendship find her, and where courage and strength of character are the only things that determine a young girl’s worth.


My feelings were very controversial toward Dark Mirror. When I first began the story, I felt like a lot of it started very abruptly. The prologue felt like it would sort of ease the reader in, but then when the first chapter came along, if was like plunging into ice-cold water. You jump out dazed. In my opinion, a lot of things could have been explained a bit more. Like the days it was supposed to take for Tory to ride to Lackland Abbey, felt like three sentences... because it was. There are a few more moments like this in the beginning, but i think it gets better as the book goes on. What really tired me was how the way the characters spoke in 1803 seemed forced and unnatural. But maybe it's just me.
Anyway, it has always amazed me how an author could take history and manipulate it into a story that fits into history like a missing puzzle piece. Since I am a complete history nerd, I can really appreciate the fact that the author could incorporate it into the book really well. It makes me wonder if she did a bunch of research on WWII and Napoleon Bonaparte and the French Revolution, or if she just knew enough to write a story in those time periods. Either way it was cool because every time she mentioned it I thought, "Oh hey! I learned that in World History!" and then, of course,  start thinking of a bunch of stuff I learned about it. Whoa, nerd status.
Moving on from my history infatuation...
Tory, the protagonist in Dark Mirror, is, for lack of a better word, a good character. She knows of magic and how, in her class of society, it's seen as unholy and unnatural. Imagine how she felt when she discovered that she had magic and her father sent her away for using it for good. Not cool, right? Anyway, her conflicting feelings toward what she's known her life and how magic feels now, fuel the starting of the plot of the story. Later, it warps into a more intriguing story that I won't give away.
Now, technically this is a spoiler... so beware.
The Irregulars have to be one of the most interesting things in this book. They remind me of the DA in Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix. Secret magic usage and practice. Totally awesome and forbidden.
Elspeth has to be my favorite character out of the bunch of Irregulars. Being confident, rebellious, strong and kind, she's totally awesome and that's all there is to be said because she's just that cool. ;)
Anyway, what's a book with out some sort of over dramatic diva? That's right, slightly less funny and eye-rolling worthy. Lady Cynthia of something-or-another is exactly that diva. Her character makes me sigh in exasperation every time. I won't say whether or not the course of the book changes her, you can decide that for yourself. 
Jack is the goofy friend of the bunch. He makes everyone want to laugh and slap him silly at the same time. Plus he sometimes likes to antagonize Cynthia.
Allarde is his last name and his first name is unknown to all of you who have not read the book. He is a mystery which I'll let you unfold.
There are a few more character I would like to talk about, but they are important to a bigger part of the plot and I don't want to ruin anything for all you lovely readers.
As you can tell, from my rant at the beginning to me talking about the characters, this is actually a pretty good book. Granted, the beginning really wasn't my favorite part. I won't lie, I put this book down for a while and read a few others before I finished it. But, the more I read it, the more it grew on me. I'm not saying it was my absolute favorite book, but it did eventually capture my attention. The back back half of the book is what kept me reading. 
Because of all that I've said, I think I will give Dark Mirror a C+ rating. I recommend it to anyone who like a little magical and historical aspects in their books. Actually, it's a decent read in general with a good ending so even if you are hesitant, just try it. 
Now, I'm sort of intrigued by what the author might have to bring in the next book...which is why it's literally sitting on my desk begging to be read. 

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