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Elena Likes Books

I am an avid reader of YA, fantasy, and romance, a librarian, and a writer of fantasy short fiction.

Currently reading

Cut & Run
Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Shel Silverstein
The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius
John Joseph Adams
The Thousand Names
Django Wexler
The Duchess Hunt
Jennifer Haymore

Dark Mirror (Dark Mirror Series #1)

Dark Mirror (Dark Mirror Series #1) - This book had a great premise, but poor execution. The writing quality in this book is only so-so, but when I first started reading, I could let it go because I really love fantasy set during this time period, and I was intrigued by the set-up. Our main character, Tory, is sent to a school for upper class mages where they attempt to basically stamp the magic out of the students. Tory discovers that some students secretly train to enhance their magical ability, and joins a sort of magic user underground at the school. All this is happening against the backdrop of a possible invasion of Britain by Napolean, and the rebel mages are preparing for the possibility of using their magic to defend Britain from the French. I was enjoying the read: boarding school hijinks, different factions of mages (those determined to suppress their abilities versus those who wanted to develop their magic), the looming threat of invasion, evil teachers and subversive teachers, secret tunnels, underground magic use, etc. It was all good.Then, suddenly, about halfway through the book, Tory is magically whisked into the 1940s, where Britain is threatened by Nazi Germany. And then the rest of the plot more or less centers on that war and the people Tory meets in the 1940s who need magical help. Tory's personal conflict was totally derailed, and I felt that she no longer even had a real stake in the outcome of the conflict, and even the method in which she and her fellow mages helped out served to distance her from the action. And most of the aspects of the book I had so enjoyed in the first half disappeared.Furthermore, the romance was of the type I am growing to hate more and more in YA fiction: the Pull of Destiny. The typical Pull of Destiny romance goes like this: Girl sees boy across a crowded room, their eyes meet, sparks fly, boy is rude and/or ignores girl, girl is hurt and confused but cannot deny the ever-growing attraction, it is eventually revealed that boy was only mean because he didn't want to hurt girl, but now that the Big Secret has been revealed, they can be together. At no point do the boy and girl actually get to know each other, or only after the end of this progression, once they're a couple. This book essentially follows that pattern. It's not as bad as some offenders, but bad enough to annoy me. And at least Allarde, the boy in question here, wasn't outright rude, and Tory wasn't crying herself to sleep over his treatment of her, or anything like that. It could have been worse.Overall, if you're into time travel, this book might be worth the read, but don't read it based on the cover copy, because it doesn't really reflect the nature of the book.