Dark Mirror by M.J. Putney

11:00 AM

Title: Dark Mirror (Dark Passage #1)
Author: M.J. Putney
Release Date: March 1, 2011 (trade paperback)
Publisher: St.Martin's Press
Pages: 306
Source: ARC received from publisher

Overall: 3.5 Stars

Lady Victoria Mansfield, youngest daughter of the earl and countess of Fairmount, is destined for a charmed life. Soon she will be presented during the London season, where she can choose a mate worthy of her status.

Yet Tory has a shameful secret—a secret so powerful that, if exposed, it could strip her of her position and disgrace her family forever. Tory's blood is tainted . . . by magic. When a shocking accident forces Tory to demonstrate her despised skill, the secret she's fought so hard to hide is revealed for all to see. She is immediately exiled to Lackland Abbey, a reform school for young men and women in her position. There she will learn to suppress her deplorable talents and maybe, if she's one of the lucky ones, be able to return to society. 

But Tory's life is about to change forever. All that she's ever known or considered important will be challenged. What lies ahead is only the beginning of a strange and wonderful journey into a world where destiny and magic come together, where true love and friendship find her, and where courage and strength of character are the only things that determine a young girl's worth. 
My Thoughts:
M.J. Putney's YA debut Dark Mirror sends the Dark Passage series off to a solid start, easily blending historical fiction and the wonders of magic! Rich with beautiful descriptions of early nineteenth century England and another time period I have no intention to disclose so you can be surprised to learn it yourself, it's a novel which will simply pull you back in time!

In a time when magic is strictly considered only for commoners, it is highly frowned upon for the nobility to possess such magical abilities. So when Lady Victoria "Tory" Mansfield is forced to reveal her recently discovered talents as a mage in a heroic effort, she's immediately sent to Lackland Abbey, a reform school where she'll learn to suppress her abilities among other young members of aristocracy until she can re-enter high society once again. But once Tory arrives at Lackland Abbey, she'll find herself questioning everything she ever believed in and that magic isn't easily something you just hide away...

I liked the growth shown in Tory over the course of the novel, from a girl who only did what she was told and what her parents expected her to do... to an independant young woman who was not afraid to be herself and take charge of the situation. She was well-rounded and kind to others, and even self-sacrificing at times if it meant she could help someone. Just as readers are introduced to a world a of magic, so too is Tory. So it was a learning process for the both of us as Tory comes to understand the gift that magic really is... instead being something to be ashamed of like she had always believed.

While I did enjoy reading Dark Mirror, there were still some areas I found rather weak. The romance between Tory and Allarde unfolds very quickly and after only a handful or interactions, these two characters found themselves falling for each other. A bit more flirtation and depth would have been nice to really give me something that was more believable. I would have also liked some more tension in the novel and greater conflicts for Tory and her friends to overcome as the challenges which did arise seemed solved rather easily...

Although elements such a romance, history, magic, and even time traveling are not new, M.J. Putney combines them in a wonderful way that is very much original. Dark Mirror will proved to be an enjoyable read which will easily pass the time! I'm hoping that some of the characters which faded in the background of the story will make a return along with Tory and company in the next novel, Dark Passage, which is due to be released later this year.

Thanks so much to St. Martin's Press for sending me this copy! 

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  1. Definitely the romance aspect of it was weak, but the concept of magic being socially shunned was new and different. I think the author carried that part of it off really well ^.^

    Sniffly Kitty
    Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books

  2. I pretty much have the same thoughts about the romance and the secondary characters. I know there's a short story about Allarde that I do want to read but so far its still not available for Canadians yet :(