Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Book Review: Obsidian Mirror, by Catherine Fisher

Obsidian Mirror kept me interested, but at times a bit overwhelmed.

The premise of the story grabs you right away. Jake purposely gets thrown out of his fancy boarding school because he wants to go live with his "godfather," Oberon Venn. Venn was once famous, but now is a recluse at a remote estate. Jake's father was Venn's best friend and colleague. His father died, and Jake is convinced Venn killed him.

Wharton, one of Jake's teachers, will accompany him to Venn's estate. When they arrive, Venn knows nothing of Jake's coming. It turns out Venn's assistant, Piers, has been the one communicating with the school.

Additionally, another guest has arrived at the house. Sarah, a mysterious little girl, who is on the run from...well...someone. For some reason she knows a lot about the house.

Throughout the book, we are learning the origin of a mysterious black mirror that is now at the house. It somehow has the ability to take one back in time, but so far Venn has not been able to control it. Jake believes that his father really isn't dead, but is stuck somewhere in the past. Jake wants to use the mirror to go find his father. Venn wants to use Sarah for his experiments in time travel in exchange for keeping her hidden. It isn't clear what Sarah wants -- she is a mystery.

I really liked all of that part of the story. The part about the mirror, and its wild history is intriguing.  The part that mucked it up for me was the wood. You see there's a wood around the house that no one is supposed to enter. It's filled with dangerous, fantastical creatures. Once you go in, you may never come out. And of course, some of our characters go in.

Now, some of these creatures do play a role in the eventual resolution, but so much was going on at the end of the book, and things happened very fast. Although I did understand what happened, it was a lot of characters going in a lot of different directions.

So, of course there are people (or creatures) trying to get their hands on this ancient mirror. And that's the main culmination of Obsidian Mirror.

I think the target age group for this book -- 12 and up -- is perfect. I think younger teens will have a great time with this story. Fantasy lovers will have much more tolerance for that part of Obsidian Mirror than I did.

Obsidian Mirror is the first book in a series, and some urgent issues are resolved at the end of this episode, but the "big" stuff is still out there waiting for the next book. While I found some of the details a little too complex, I still very much enjoyed Obsidian Mirror and will happily recommend it to my fantasy fans.

Published by Dial, April 23, 2013
ARC obtained from Around the World ARC Tours and NetGalley
376 pages

Rating: 3.5/5

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