Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Review: Dark Mirror by M. J. Putney

Lady Victoria Mansfield is tainted, born as a mage in a world where magic is beneath her rank. After a tragic accident forces Tory to reveal her despised gift in front of all her family's connections, she is exiled to Lackland Abbey, a reform school where unfortunate young mages are forced to repress their gifts until it is safe to rejoin proper society. Yet things at Lackland are not what they seem, and Tory soon comes to realize that there may be more important things in life than balls and baronets -- things that could alter the very course of history.

In Dark Mirror, readers will feel as though they have fallen through time -- straight into 19th century England. M. J. Putney evokes the vibrant period with flair, bringing it to life before readers' eyes as she weaves magic into the very fabric of history. The age is fascinating in its own right, filled with social tension and political shifts, the threat of war and the perseverance of elegance -- it seems only fitting to throw true magic into the mix of an already magical time. The author's love of history is evident in the incredibly detailed accounts of not one, but two eras, pulling readers through time to the war-ravaged shores of WWII Europe. The eerie parallels between the Napoleonic Wars of Tory's time and the WWII battles she faces in the future are powerfully drawn, evoking unsettling questions about the ways in which history repeats itself.

Though the setting steals the show, Tory proves to be a beauty with a backbone, demonstrating unwavering strength in the face of adversity. Her roommate Cynthia also sparks with life -- though not a truly villainous antagonist, her snarky remarks and emotional baggage make her a refreshing counterpart to Tory's poise. There are a wide range of other secondary characters, but Jack Rainford stands out from the start. Jack bursts hilariously onto the scene and I would have loved to see more of his mischief, rather than letting him fade into the background. Unfortunately, the other characters felt rather stiff and staged, making it difficult to connect with the romance that blossoms over the course of the novel. Nonetheless, readers will find themselves swept up in the whirlwind of fact and fantasy, enjoying the sights and sounds of two of history's richest periods.

Rating: 

This novel hits shelves March 1, 2011! Click here to preorder Dark Mirror by M. J. Putney.

Disclosure: I received an advance review copy of this novel from the publisher. This did not affect my review in any way.




Come back tomorrow for an interview and giveaway with author M. J. Putney!

24 comments:

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

If M.J. Putney is Romance novelist Mary Jo Putney, then this book is as good as you say! =) The reform school for unfortunate mages sounds like Harry Potter, but completely in reverse.

Savannah said...

Thanks for the review. I am looking forward to reading this one. I may just hold off on it.

lisa :) said...

I've heard a bit about this one and it definitely sounds intriguing! Great review!

Lauren M said...

This one sounds really interesting! I've been debating whether or not to read it, since I've just heard so-so things about it, but I think I'll give it a try. :)

Julie said...

Great review! I like that the book combines two different wars. I really enjoy when I feel like I'm actually in the eras presented in the book. Too bad some of the characters felt a little stiff. But I look forward to reading this one!

Small Review said...

I really liked the two different historical eras. I felt like I was getting a two for one with historical fiction! I agree with you too about the way the time periods were described. :)

Casey (The Bookish Type) said...

Thank you all for your kind comments!

@ Enbrethiliel -- It is indeed the same author!

@ Lauren M -- I can understand the divided reviews. I really got caught up in the historical/time travel element, but was iffy on most of the characters. I'll be interested to see which way you go!

Tura Lura said...

I adore time travel stories, so this series has me interested. I hope I get a chance to read it soon! ^_^

Kristina said...

I'm definitely more interested in the book, I was already curious about it, but now this is for sure going on my to read this.

Vivien said...

Thanks for a thorough review. I didn't know that much about this novel before now. It sounds promising.

TheGirlOnFire said...

I'm a fan of period books and your review makes this one sound great.

Mrs. DeRaps said...

What an interesting mix of historical fiction and fantasy...Love the cover, too!

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

I've never been a big historical buff, but this one sounds interesting enough to keep my attention. The time travel aspect sounds very captivating. Great review!

Jessica M said...

I love that there's not just one, but two historical time periods going on in Dark Mirror. And I love what @Enbrethiliel said, the school does sound a little Harry Potter-ish, but backwards. I'm looking forward to reading this one for sure.

BookGeek said...

I've been dying to read this book. Glad you reviewed it. I love strong secondary characters and Cynthia seems perfect for her role as a friend of Tory.

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Sounds like an interesting read. :) I think I like the idea here of the 19th century England and the blend here. :) Thanks for another great review!

Ann_a_reader said...

Read the M J Putney interview and was glad that their was a link this review. Very pleased that you received this book to review so I can anticipate reading it.

Nora said...

This book looks pretty good! Added to my "to-read" list!!

:]

IdentitySeeker said...

Sounds like a great read. I have a cousin who's a major MJP fan and she recommended these books to our Grade 10 class after handing in a book review on one of MJ Putney's books. Ever since then, I've been meaning to read one of her novels.

sarah.setar@gmail.com

Terri said...

Nice review. I love that this has a historical setting.

winnie said...

Thanks for the review! This sounds like a fascinating read and I love to read time travel stories, so I'll definitely check this out!

Enamored Soul said...

Thanks for the review - I had been hearing about this book, and I like M.J Putney's work, but your review solidified my desire to read it. I also love the cover, it has a very dreamy quality to it! :)

Scoot said...

The book sounds enthralling and I love a main character with a backbone! Thanks for the review.

Penfield said...

Thanks for the review. Besides the story, it should be an interesting history lesson on two time periods.

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