Review: Obsidian Mirror by Catherine Fisher

The Obsidian MirrorTitle: Obsidian Mirror

Expected publication: October 4th 2012
Genre(s): young-adult
Source: uncorrected proof

My Rating

Synopsis (goodreads):

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.

My Review:

Adventure. Time travel. Faeries.

In three words, that would be the premise of the novel.

Granted I wanted to read Incarceron for the longest of time, still haven’t, but when the opportunity presented itself i couldn’t pass it up. Obsidian Mirror was everything i had never read and i was intrigued.

Jake’s father goes missing while trying to do a secret project, time travel. And Jake is convinced that the person funding his education, his father’s best friend Venn, is behind it. So, starts a series of mysteries and accidental time travels. It’s everything rolled into one.

While there were parts where the scene dragged on for a bit, the book as a whole kept me hooked. I wanted to see something play out between Sarah and Jake (the silly romantic that resides within me and wants something to look forward to in a book) nothing of the sort happened. Although there seemed to be a hint to in at the very end. And i mean VERY end.

Although i don’t quite agree that it is young adult. Maybe on the border of young adult but still teetering in middle grade.

All in all a fun read!

 

Hedgeland Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Hedgeland Blog Tour is being hosted by Belinda at The Bookish Snob Promotions!

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Hedgeland, an urban fantasy of time travel. Dr April Neuland, a Professor of Ancient Languages turned non-fiction writer, has been plagued by dreams all her life, dreams of her past life in the Otherworld. Meanwhile, in a parallel dimension of April’s past and Caridwen’s future, Worthing, a Future History Professor, has allied with the Military to access Future Internet communications and use new technology to influence April to write an ebook novel revealing where she, in her past life as Caridwen, hid the Kiste, a device to travel through time and space. Hedgeland weaves all three time/space frames: Caridwen, Worthing, and April. Hedgeland is the first in the Hedgecraft Sequence, but is a fully self contained novel with no cliff hangers.

So, i have the honour of starting this tour off. But guess what part i play. Guess away please! Okay…fine i’ll let you know :). Its my job to make you all squirm in your seats and sit on the very edge just to find out what happens in the novel. And because i am super nice i will get to it super fast. Here is Chapter 1 from Hedgeland!

Preface

There are three worlds in this novel:

Ancient Caer Sidi, Caridwen’s world. To us this is the “Otherworld.” When Caridwen’s people made their regular Crossings into our world, it was in our Neolithic times.

Modern Caer Sidi,Worthing’s world. To us this is, again, the “Otherworld.” This equates to our Bronze Age times.

The present. This is, well, the present! Right now, our time. Caer Sidi residents call our world the “Otherworld.”

Caer Sidi is in another dimension of time and space, but sometimes the dimensions are close together which enables Crossing, that is, if you have a Kiste.

Chapter 1.

Caridwen.

The Hierophant held the Kiste in the palm of her hand. It shimmered. At other times if my vision shimmered it would mean I was getting a migraine, but the Kiste always shimmered. It was a golden color, but no one had been able to analyze it. No one had been able to decipher the engravings either. Some said it was an ancient alien relic. It looked like a little human-shaped ornament, that’s about it. Yet without it, we weren’t able to travel to the Otherworld. I looked away from it and surreptitiously studied my X-Screen.

“Caridwen, are you listening?” the Hierophant demanded, and the other women turned to look at me. I was the youngest Initiate to the Higher Agrymos, and as a child had been considered something of a prodigy. Initiates generally were chosen by bloodline, and considering my parentage was unknown, at least to me, some were annoyed or outright jealous of my position.

I nodded. I always zoned out in the Hierophant’s ostentatious lectures. I was used to multi-tasking, and if time was going to be taken away from my work, I’d much rather spend it with my horses. I deleted the image of my favorite horse and put away my X-Screen before the Hierophant commented again.

We followed the Hierophant up the semicircular fluorite steps to the Telesterion’s entrance. I squinted as the crystal domes reflected the sun’s light directly into my eyes, then tripped and stubbed my toe. Was everything working against me today?

The Hierophant always walked slowly, so we had to walk slowly behind her – rushing past wasn’t the done thing. I was grumpy today. I have a thing for shoes – the higher and narrower the heel, the better. We had to wear “sensible” walking shoes for the Crossing, and mine felt heavy and clunky. I always felt unfeminine when I wore awful shoes. I clunked behind the Hierophant and tried to distract myself by admiring my reflection in every column we walked past. The reflective columns were colored by complex formations of granite, clear quartz, pink and white feldspars, and black flakes of mica. In places narrow veins of cream or light pink finer-grained rock scored the granite.

My hair looked a bit green – I hoped this was the quartz and not the way my own blonde hair had dried, as I’d tried a new shampoo that morning. I’d slept in; no time for a leisurely shower this morning.

The Hierophant walked past, inspecting each one of us in turn. No bracelets, earrings, underwire bras? No? Good. Metal prevented Crossing. Oh, not that she checked us for underwire bras; she just took our word for it. She did check us for earrings, bracelets, rings and any form of jewelry. I put my X-Screen and make up purse on the table and the others put their belongings there too. I also deposited my half eaten karuon chocolate bar on the table then stuffed my illuminator in my leg strap.

We entered the Anaktoron, the central hall of the Telesterion, traversing all eight courts placed around the Anaktoron in elliptical symmetry. I’d been in there countless times before, but I had never gotten used to the feeling. Power resonated through it, to the degree where it could be heard as a low humming.

All twelve of us walked in unison to encircle the pattern on the floor in the middle of the Anaktoron. The pattern looked like a plant, curling ivy irregularly placed on a vine which went twisting and turning amongst the leaves, entwined with spreading clusters of saffron ivy. These marked a stark contrast to the twelve geometrical symbols sketched out in rigidity.

We took our places, each on a symbol, and held hands. Everything in the Anaktoron was various hues of blue. No other color was present apart from the precious stones: sardonyx, chrysolite, diamond, beryl, onyx, jasper, sapphire and emerald. The pattern was beautiful, intricate and gorgeous to look at, at least under normal circumstances, but when the Kiste was activated, it too shimmered which didn’t help my stomach. I dreaded the nauseous waves that came again and again when making the Crossing through the Veil into the Otherworld. We held hands and chanted. I tried to take my mind off the rushing feeling of being sucked though something and of being about to vomit. The chanting was most likely unnecessary, but most of the Initiates were religious fanatics and they had set the rules. Others had suggested that the Kiste could be activated outside the Anaktoron, or even outside the Telesterion, but no one had ever been game to try. Total annihilation with bits of you disintegrating in a most painful way involving flames can be off-putting.

My thoughts of sedition were broken by my unprofessional landing. I landed hard on my knees, but was relieved to be alive. Crossing made me nervous; I always felt something could go horribly wrong. The Hierophant helped me up and looked pointedly at my grazed knees. “Concentrate next time,” she said softly, then more loudly addressed us all. “Initiates, I don’t need to tell you again that this journey is far less safe than our previous journeys to the Otherworld. In the past, it has been to our advantage that the people of this land think us Sidhe, divine or supernatural beings.”

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About the author 

Author Dr Ann Nyland was on Faculty at the University of New England, Australia. She is a grammar pedant, ancient languages translator, and best selling non-fiction author of such books as The Complete Books of Enoch; Angels, Archangels and Angel Categories: What the Ancients Said; The Book of Jubilees; A Devil of a Job to Find Satan in the Bible, among others. Hedgeland is her first novel. 

Giveaway

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What would it be like to be a character in a book? To be the inspiration for an author that she actually puts you in. Ever wondered what it would be like to read about yourself through someone else’s eyes? Ann has been kind enough to offer one blog follower the chance to be in her next book. And the rules are simple. Follow the blog tour by commenting to every post. =D

Head on over to the next stop: Jagged Edge