Title: Dark Mirror
Author: M. J. Putney
Published: 2011 by St. Martin’s Press
Version Read: Paperback
At sixteen, Lady Victoria Mansfield, youngest daughter of the earl and countess of Fairmount, is destined for a charmed life and her choice of mates worthy of her status. Then she makes a terrifying discovery that will ruin her life and disgrace her family forever. Tory’s blood is tainted . . . by magic.
When a shocking accident forces Tory to reveal her despised skill, she is immediately exiled to Lackland Abbey, a reform school for young men and women in her position. Tory’s greatest wish is to be cured so she can return home and perhaps recover some of her shattered life.
Instead, curiosity and the lure of magic lead Tory to rebel students who have pledged their talents to protect England. As she joins them in their secret studies, she discovers her full powers – and is drawn to the handsome, enigmatic young Marquis of Allarde. But Allarde’s reserve and haunting secret keep him away, though she can see equal longing in his eyes.
Then Tory’s pledge sweeps her and her friends into a perilous world of danger, challenge, and a triumph that saves Britain from conquest. Can danger also bring Tory and Allarde together, despite all that stands between them?
"Lady Victoria Mansfield flew high, high over her family’s estate."
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Let me count the ways!
- Tory was an amazing protagonist. She’s smart, strong, and yet still vulnerable. In the beginning she was so brainwashed by her society, that she didn’t even consider the idea that magic could be good.
- The main idea of high society considering magic as disgraceful was very creative. I loved the short prologue that revealed why magic was decided to be a lower class thing. In most any book concerning magic, it is usually the coveted thing. If people get grumpy about magic, it’s usually because they’re jealous or something, but here, magic was looked down upon. It was considered a complete curse, even though the kid couldn’t help having the different talents.
- The time-traveling aspect. I loved that the mirror wasn’t considered something “cool”, it was scary and frustrating, but sadly needed. Time-travel is always fun, and I loved watching the characters have to get used to the clothing styles, the technology, and everything. :)
- Cynthia, Elspeth, Nick, Polly, Miss Wheaton, Mrs. Rainford and all the supporting characters were each unique and fascinating. Cynthia was a bit annoying, but you got used to her. Elspeth has this amazing quiet strength, Nick and Polly are so darn brave, and the two women are so loving towards these kids they love.
There is one little-itty-bitty thing I didn’t completely love: Allarde.
Before you freak out on me, let me explain myself.
I think the synopsis thingy sets up their relationship very differently than it truly is. It’s more of a “oh that guy is hot” thing on her side, and then for him, he’s just distant, aside from showing more interest in her than any other girl (when I say “interest”, I mean talking to her like twice). Then later on he reveals his “secret” to her. I don’t really know what I’m trying to say about this except that I feel the last couple sentences of the synopsis set their relationship up like a star-crossed lovers thing, and it isn’t. I like him, I like her, I like them together. But it isn’t some CRAZY romance. It’s just normal.
All in all, it was rather great, and I hope to get the sequel, Dark Passage, soon.
Content Warnings: Mild language, kissing.