Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Review: Dark Mirror by M.J. Putney


Dark Mirror is a fun magical adventure that I really enjoyed reading. England 1803, though all types of magic exist in England it is a talent corned by the Aristocracy. Any evidence of magical skill is promptly banished to Lackland Abbey for "education" aka to be tutored in how to completely suppress their powers before returning to society, or in most cases a lesser branch of society.


Lady Victoria "Tory" Mansfield has no idea that she has a magical ability until waking from a flying dream she finds herself floating above her bed. Terrified yet also a little thrilled Tory tries to hide her powers with her mothers help. Things go well for a while until Tory exposes her powers to the movers and shakers of London society while saving her nephews life. Now Lackland Abbey awaits and a life of uncertainty.
This was a very easy and enjoyable read. I really enjoyed Tory's character. She handles a difficult situation with courage and determination. New to her magical gift she strongly feels the dark heavy energy of the Abbey that suppresses her powers. Just when you think you know the direction the story will take there are several surprise plot twists. Tory discovers that there is a secret group that meets below the Abbey called they irregulars. It consists of teachers and fellow students including the boy's from the Abbey's companion school for boy's. Tory learns more about herself and her powers and grows closer to a young man who she feels an immediate connection with Allarde. The groups desire is to hone their powers and be an available force for an England on the brink of war with Napoleon's armies.


When there lessons become interrupted by a raid Tory's panicked desire to escape draws a powerful magical device to her: Merlin's Mirror. Tumbling through it she finds herself in the year 1803 in an England in the midst of another war War World II.. Here Tory finds herself surrounded by the ancestors of one of the irregulars team and she decides to help. Now they majority of the Irregulars team finds themselves lending there magical powers to hold back a storm that threatens the English Channel. Keeping the weather calm gives the English Armada a chance to rescue over 300,00 troops.
Tory is a great heroine,she is strong, courageous and will not easily bend to the rules of her society. The romance and adventure is finely balanced and there is a wonderful group dynamic among the Irregulars. I like Putney's description of magic and the  varying  powers among the group. There is a strong possibility of sequels to this series but all of the plot threads are nicely tied up in this one. I'm curious to see where the mirror will take Tory next and what choices she will make in her own time period in future adventures.

Thnks to St. Martin's Griffin for providing ARC's of this book at ALA Midwinter


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