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Blog Tour: Dark Mirror by M.J. Putney PLUS Interview

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: Historical/Fantasy

Release Date: 3/1/11

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About the Book: Lady Victoria Mansfield Tory lives in a time where magic is viewed as a terrible disgrace amongst the upper classes. When Tory discovers she has magical powers, she must do everything she can to hide them. But when a tragic accident occurs that causes Tory to reveal her secret, she is shamed and sent to Lackland Abbey, a school to cure young mages.
At Lackland, Tory discovers that not everyone views magic as a curse. The more she learns about magic, the more she is intrigued. With war approaching in England, Tory feels as though her magic can be useful. But using and strengthening her powers means risking her future.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: This book was interesting. There were things I liked and things I didn't like, which made reading it a bit annoying because I kept going back and forth on how I felt about it.

I liked that the summary on the back really only covers the first few chapters, but at the same time this bugged me a bit. We're thrown right into the story without much world building or character development and in just a few chapters Tory has discovered her magic powers, revealed them and is being shipped off to school. What I did like about this is that it leaves a lot for the readers to discover without knowing too much of the story. Because of this I sort of hesitate to talk about further plot points because I don't want to ruin the surprises.

Since the cover kind of hints at this, I will mention that I was very pleased that there was a time travel element to the story. I'm a sucker for time travel and I always enjoy a good time travel story. The book was a bit of a slow start for me, but once Tory got to Lackland and things started to pick up, I started to like it more. I really started to like it more when the time travel is thrown in. At first I wasn't sure how the author would tie everything together, but she worked it all out and it made me like the book more.

The biggest thing that had me frustrated about this book was that I felt it was lacking a lot in character development. Hopefully this changes as the series goes on. I never really knew Tory and found her a bit hard to relate to. We don't get a lot of background story for her and she just felt sort of flat. I would have liked all the characters to be fleshed out more-I never really felt like we got to really know any of them. I also got a bit frustrated about how accepting everyone was of everything. It was very convenient and everyone trusted everyone. Even if someone got upset or made a mistake, they were quick to apologize. Also, when Tory does travel through time, the family she meets are all very quick to accept her story and accept magical powers-pretty much with no questions asked. It felt a bit cheesy and Mary Sunshine at times.

I did like reading it though and I'm interested to see what adventures Tory and her friends come across next. There's a bit of a romance that's beginning in this book, so I hope that continues to develop as the series progresses. The book blends fantasy, history, romance and time travel, so readers who like books with a nice mix of genres should pick this one up.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH M.J. Putney

- If you could travel back in time, what time period would you pick?

MJP: Probably the English Regency, which is the early 19th century. There were so many interesting things going on. Society was changing, becoming more open and democratic. Literacy and opportunities were increasing. There were revolutions in the creative arts. And the clothes were more comfortable than they’d been in a couple of centuries.

-You say on your website you were an "obsessive reader" as a kid. What were some of your favorite books to read as a child?

MJP: I read everything! I particularly loved science fiction, like Robert Heinlein. I read girl detective stories like Trixie Belden and the Dana sisters. I read boys’ sports books about things like baseball and football even though I didn’t actually like sports. And anything historical. If the library had it, I’d read it.

-What is the best part about writing for teens?

MJP: YA literature is tremendously open in the kinds of themes and stories that can be told. Most genres has well defined parameters. If it’s a mystery, there’s going to be a puzzle, probably a murder to solve. Romance will focus on a courtship as two characters fall in love and learn how to be together. Science fiction riffs on social and scientific ideas. Epic fantasy is the struggle between good and evil. The core YA story is a young person growing and learning more about the world, so that character can be taken anywhere. It’s wonderful!

Check out the rest of the tour:

Tuesday 1-Mar Culture Mob
Wednesday 2-Mar Midnight Blooms
Friday 4-Ma rEating YA Books
Saturday 5-Mar Green Bean Teen Queen
Sunday 6-Mar Love Romance Passion / Literature Young Adult Fiction
Monday 7-Mar Words for Teens
Tuesday 8-Mar Pure Imagination
Wednesday 9-Mar The Story Siren
Thursday 10-Mar My Pal Amy
Friday 11-Mar YA Bliss
Saturday12-Mar The Book Smugglers
Sunday 13-Mar Wondrous Reads
Monday 14-Mar Novel Voice
Wednesday 16-Mar TeenReads.com

Comments

  1. I agree completely. I loved the plot idea, but I had a really hard time connecting with the characters. I wanted more from them. I didn't realize it at the time, but now that you mention it I was a little annoyed by the sunshiny way everyone got along. The characters from the future really took everything in stride!

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Hello! My name is Sarah and I am a Youth Services Manager who works with kids, tweens and teens. I love being asked about great books to read! I started my blog in 2008 as a way to keep track of what I've been reading and to use a reference tool for reader's advisory and it's grown into much more than I could have ever anticipated. In addition to book reviews, I also enjoy posting audiobook reviews, booklists and my adventures in being a librarian. 2017 Library Journal Mover and Shaker Committees: 2021 Newbery Committee 2018 Odyssey Committee 2016 Caldecott Award 2013 Michael L. Printz Committee- Fabulous Films Committee I have also served on the Cybils, Missouri State Library Association Readers Selection Lists, and as an Audies judge. Presentations :  I have offered various presentations at local, state and national libraries and conferences. Topics have included:  What's New in Children's & Teen Literature Engaging Teens in Reader's Advisory Gee