Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Review of Dark Mirror by M.J. Putney

Dark Mirror (Dark Passage, #1)
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, it could 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.

It seems that some novels have a hard time deciding what genre they fall under. A hybrid of historical fiction with a touch of fantasy, the first few pages of Dark Mirror had me thinking I would fall head over heels for this book. Unfortunately, by the time I finished, I was left feeling that the story had too many elements that didn’t fit with one another.

As I said, this novel is a mixture of historical fiction and fantasy, and while I wasn’t fanatical about the writing at first, I was quick to forgive because of the premise. Yet eventually a third sub-genre came into play, and it felt like this novel was trying so hard to be complex that it wound up being too unfocused. I believe this is the first in a series, and if I’m correct, I’ll be curious to see what aspects of the story Putney pursues most heavily. I will say that I really liked the way the magic was written--I loved how the characters could connect and combine their powers.

Dark Mirror also fell short for me in terms of characters. Tory always seemed to be optimistic and her personality was a little sugary sweet. She would say things like, “A cup of tea will fix everything!” or “I don’t like my roommate, but I’m going to be nice so I can be the better person!” I don’t dislike these traits, but they always strike me as being very characteristic of younger and more immature characters (maybe that is an unfair assessment, but that is a post for another day). However, when put in a romantic situation, she would say things like, “I can’t imagine life without him!” This also a character trait that I don’t mind, but it felt excessively mature compared to her in other contexts.

My hope is that as the series go on, Tory will mature more and we’ll see why Putney is trying to tie so many different elements together. I’d love to see more continuity with characters and plotlines. I think this novel will appeal to lovers of fantasy and historical fiction, so if you like those genres give this book a chance.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Star Book Tours.


  1. I can definitely see how too many genres together could be confusing and become muddled. I like the premise of histfic/fantasy so I may have to give this one a shot. Thanks for the honest review!

  2. i am soooo excited for this book!! new follower! follow me?! =]




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