Exciting start to YA historical, time-travel adventure series
Dark Mirror (Dark Mirror, #1) by Mary Jo Putney
Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: March 1, 2011
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Source: Amazon Vine
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
Lady Victoria Mansfield is the youngest daughter of an earl. Hers should have been a life with every social privilege and free of care, but she has a shameful secret--she can fly! In her world, the aristocracy considers magical ability to be a taint in the blood that is a very low-class attribute, on a par with engaging in "trade" or even madness.
Unfortunately, a life-and-death situation arises that leaves Tory no choice but to reveal her despised magical ability in order to save a life. Her implacable father believes even that is not an acceptable excuse for humiliating the family. He immediately ships her away to Lackland Abbey, a reform school for magically gifted young aristocrats. Only if Tory cooperates and learns how to suppress her magical ability will she ever be allowed to return home.
I was delighted to learn that Mary Jo Putney has ventured into YA fiction. I have been a huge fan of her adult romance novels for over 20 years, in particular her paranormal historical romance. No one could be better suited to writing a novel like this for teens.
MJP also excels in her adult novels in creating families of affiliation, groups of friends who will do anything for each other and are closer emotionally than most blood relations. She brings this skill amply to bear in this novel, providing for the heroine, Tory, a fascinating group of friends, and a delightful romantic interest.
Tory herself is an admirable heroine, full of courage, determination and immense compassion. It is her virtues which lead to all her trouble, which is my favorite way for conflict to be created in a novel as I'm not personally particularly fond of anti-hero stories. On the other hand, Tory is not a boringly perfect person. She has the same fears and concerns that all humans are prey to. In addition, her characterization is very accurate for a teenager of her historical era of the Regency Period in England, in the early 1800's during the Napoleonic Wars.
This book is G-Rated, but not immature in its approach. It is suitable for all ages. Adult fans of Ms. Putney who read both YA and adult romance novels will be particularly pleased with this book.
There are currently two other books in print within this series, Book 2 is Dark Passage, and Book 3 is Dark Destiny. Both are equally wonderful.
Fantasy World-Building: 5
Action-Adventure Plot: 5
Romantic Subplot: 5