Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Review: Dark Mirror by M.J. Putney

From Back Cover: As the youngest daughter of the Earl and Countess of Fairmount, Lady Victoria "Tory" Mansfield is destined for a charmed life of status and wealth. The envy of many young girls, Tory knows she is lucky which is why she goes to great lengths to hide her special talent ... magic. If her powers were exposed, it could strip her of her position and disgrace her family forever. Which is exactly what happens when a shocking accident forces Tory to reveal her magic, and she is immediately exiled to Lackland Abbey, a reform school for other young men and women in her unique position. What lies ahead is a strange and wonderful world where Tory will learn that it is not her social standing or her family's wealth, but destiny and magic, true love and friendship, and courage and strength that determine her real worth as a young woman. 

My Rating: 3 hearts

Thoughts on the Novel: With elements of time travel and magic, Dark Mirror, the YA debut of M. J. Putney, is a novel with an interesting plot but one that fell short of its potential because of a lack of character development and a rushed romance.

In the late 17th century, the aristocracy decides to ban magic in the nobility so that those with magic in future generations are treated as social outcasts. Unsurprisingly, when Tory discovers that she has magical abilities, she is horrified and realizes that she must keep this part of herself hidden. However, when Tory is the only one who can save her nephew, she decides to do so at the risk of exposing herself as a mage. As a result, Tory is sent to Lackland Abbey, a reform school meant to cure young aristocrats of magic.

At Lackland, Tory meets not only students who want to be cured so that they can go home but also those who embrace their magic in spite of what society says. It is at Lackland that Tory must choose whether she wants to be cured like the majority of students or join a group known as the Irregulars who hone their skills underground so that they can defend England one day against Napoleon in case of an invasion.

While I thought Tory was pretty courageous and admired her resolve, I never felt like I connected with her as a character. The same can be said for all the secondary characters as well. In addition, Putney built up the romance a little too quickly for me. Tory is attracted to Allarde after spotting him through a hole in a wall, and it just so happens that both feel a connection between themselves the first time they actually meet. For me, it just felt like another case of love at first sight.

Dark Mirror was released in March 2011 by St. Martin’s Griffin.

Comments About the Cover: The cover is pretty and I like the use of darker colours to give it a mysterious feel. Also, the clothing reflects both time periods – 1803 and 1940 (which is the future that Tory travels to) – well. 

This book was received for free through Goodreads First Reads.


  1. I think connecting with a character is the most important thing. I don't think I will be reading this. Great honest review :)

  2. Agreed! I loved the set up, but it really bothered me that I had such trouble connecting with the characters. The insta-love turned me off, too.

  3. Shoot. I hate the rushed romance! I love tension, I like to read as it builds and builds and you're on the edge of your seat as you turn every page and wonder if that's the page where things are going to get interesting:)

  4. The cover looks amazing. Yeah I don't really like thelove at first site deal either. I like it when it develops throughout the story.

  5. Yep I wanted to know more about the secondary characters too...especially Tory's friend at Lackland.

  6. I felt very similarly while reading Dark Mirror. I was very hopeful it would be good, but in the end, I think it fell a bit flat. I didn't feel much for the characters nor the romance. Too bad...

  7. Yikes, the characters don't seem appealing in the least based on your description. I probably would have given up on them.

    Thanks for the honest review. Now I know it's okay to skip out on this one despite the pretty cover.


I love comments and will reply back via either email or stopping by your blog. Please note that this is an award-free zone.