obsidian mirror

Obsidian Mirror by Catherine Fisher

The author of Incarceron has returned with the start of another series.  This is the story of Jake whose father has disappeared.  Jake knows his father is dead and blames one person, Venn, the idiosyncratic wealthy man who was his father’s best friend and is Jake’s godfather.  So Jake gets himself expelled from his posh Swiss boarding school and sent back to Venn’s home in England.  When he gets there, he learns about the mirror that allows people to travel through time.  He also finds out that his father is not dead, but lost in time.  At Venn’s house, others are arriving.  There is a girl from the future with a tie to the mirror, a man from the past who used to own the mirror before it was stolen from him, and a boy tied to the Faerie World and living long past he should have died.  All of them have purposes for the mirror, but not everyone will succeed in their dreams.

Fisher is a consummate world builder.  Here she has created a decaying but splendid abbey that is located on the border of a vast woods.  It is a lonely and wild place, perfect for experiments with time since it seems to be timeless itself.  Readers are also invited into a faerie world and on journeys through time where honest depictions of the past offer real insight into places like Victorian England.  The mirror is the hub of this complex book, with everyone’s lives revolving around controlling and using it. 

Fisher also excels at creating complex characters and she has several in this book.  Jake himself is not completely likeable except in his devotion to his father.  Everyone has their own personal agendas and reasons for acting.  Because she creates characters who have an opportunity to really show how complex they are, the book does slow at times.  Yet it is this attention to detail and character that makes her books so intriguingly rich.

Get this in the hands of teens who loved Incarceron.  They will enjoy the twists of time travel and revel in the striking characters and vibrant world building.  Appropriate for ages 13-16.

Reviewed from ARC received from Dial Books.