Saturday 6 October 2012

The Obsidian Mirror by Catherine Fisher

Published by Hodder Children's Books in October 2012
Pages - 393
Book kindly sent by publisher for a review.

The boy put on the mask outside the door. It was a heavy black fencing mask and inside its mesh he felt different.
It made him dark, supple, dangerous.
An actor.
An assassin.
Goodreads Summary
Jake's father disappears while working on mysterious experiments with the obsessive, reclusive Oberon Venn. Jake is convinced Venn has murdered him. But the truth he finds at the snow-bound Wintercombe Abbey is far stranger ... The experiments concerned a black mirror, which is a portal to both the past and the future. Venn is not alone in wanting to use its powers. Strangers begin gathering in and around Venn's estate: Sarah - a runaway, who appears out of nowhere and is clearly not what she says, Maskelyne - who claims the mirror was stolen from him in some past century. There are others, a product of the mirror's power to twist time. And a tribe of elemental beings surround this isolated estate, fey, cold, untrustworthy, and filled with hate for humans. But of them all, Jake is hell-bent on using the mirror to get to the truth. Whatever the cost, he must learn what really happened to his father.
Catherine Fisher is truly an inspiration to follow. I have really enjoyed her previous novels, but The Obsidian Mirror blew me away. A mixture of science fiction and folklore that has been seamlessly blended to create an exciting new series to cherish. It was like reading The Terminator meets Tinkerbell but so much better. The way the author writes is reminiscent of the styles of such greats as  Philip Pullman and Cornelia Funke. I will admit to having a bit of a soft spot for Catherine Fisher as her books played quite a huge part in my very early book blogging days; I read and reviewed quite a few. 
I loved the way the story was structured, the story was evenly blended as it moved from one character to another, where you desperately wanted to know what was happening in the background all the time. Each chapter ended with a cliffhanger, which found you desperate to get back to their strand of the story.  As you delve further into the story, you find yourself gathering an assortment of facts,which you need to weave together in order to find out the truth about the mirror, which in itself  is a character within the book;  a strong, dark presence, ominously waiting to create havoc within the lives of the characters. The mirror plays a game similar to Russian Roulette, where you never know if the outcome will be favourable or not. 
The characters had very strong personas and even nondescript ones such as Rebecca, who appeared as excess baggage in the story to begin with turned out to be valuable to the plot. The author fooled us with their initial presence; a sign of excellent writing.
The scenery was breathtaking as the characters stood simultaneously in between seasons. I loved the December setting, making this a fabulous contender for a Christmas reading session. The story is extremely well plotted, and it heads off at such a furious pace, you find yourself unable to walk away from the book. 
The ending was a bit of a shocker to me! I honestly didn't even twig that things would work out the way they did and yet I should have seen it. On reflection, I could see the subtle hints and signs that had carefully been laid out by the author, I think I was just so engrossed in the whole story I missed them completely. 
I only had a tiny little niggle with the book and I am sure it's because I am editing at the moment that I am picking up on such a minuscule point. I couldn't see how Jake successfully managed to smuggle the marmoset from Switzerland to England on an aeroplane; being  one of those people who regularly gets stopped by customs (before you ask, I have no idea why) , I felt that this would be impossible to do with the present security system in place. However, looking at it from a different view point, I have never ever flown out of Switzerland, so I don't know if their airport security is as tough as ours. So this could be a completely moot point!
Anyway, regardless of this little niggle, this is an excellent read and I want everyone to read it. I want everyone to be as enthralled with this series as I am. I knew Catherine Fisher was talented, I think I'd just forgotten how much. 
An awesome start to the series - I can't wait for Book 2!


  1. I've had my eye on this for a while Viv. Now even more so!

  2. Usually this wouldn't be my thing. But it sounds interesting!


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