Thursday, April 4, 2013

Early Review - The Obsidian Mirror (Chronoptika #1) by Catharine Fisher (3/5 stars)

Reading Level: Middle Grade
Genre: Fantasy
Size: 384 pages
Publisher: Dial
Release Date: April 23, 2013
ISBN: 978-0803739697
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Chronoptika series
Source: ARC from Librarything’s Early Reviewers
Rating: 3/5 stars

I had read Fisher’s Incarceron series and enjoyed it, so I was eager to read this latest book by her. Thanks to Dial and Librarything for the chance to review this book. There were some interesting ideas in here and the book starts out as intriguing. As the story continued though there were too many POVs and the story became fractured and a bit confusing.

Jake is convinced that his strange Godfather Oberon Venn has something to do with Jake’s father’s disappearance. When Jake journeys to Wintercombe Abbey, he finds the truth is much stranger than even he could have guessed. Sarah is a strange runaway who is not exactly what she appears and she also ends up at Wintercombe Abbey in hopes of finding a mysterious mirror.

This is one of those books that is hard to explain. It involves a lot of people, a mysterious time travel inducing mirror, and a bunch of fey. Initially we mainly hear from Jack and Sarah, but as the book continues the story and the number of POVs kind of spin out of control. Trying to figure out how all these little threads are tied together is tough and maybe something that will become clearer in future books in this series.

I always have a bit of trouble with time travel books because you start thinking about how past and previous activities affect current ones and the whole thing gets a bit convoluted and confusing. This holds true for this book as well.

I also had some trouble with the characters. I didn’t really care for any of them all that much. As the reader you don't really get to spend enough time with any of them to fully engage with them.

I also found the inclusion of the Fey with time travel to be a bit confusing. It is definitely a creative twist to time travel, but by the end of the book I still didn’t understand why the Fey were involved. Again maybe future books in this series will reveal more about this.

The book started out as an excellent read. As the story continued it spiraled out into a million different POVs that ended up fracturing the story, slowing the pace, and making it difficult to follow. By the end I felt that what had started out as an interesting premise was kind of a let down.

Overall an okay read, but not great. The premise is interesting and creative and the book starts out as intriguing. As the story continues the addition of more and more story threads and more and more points of view made things confusing. The jumping through time and jumping from character to character fractured the story and made it hard to follow. I never really engaged with any of the characters and by the end of the book found the plot to be a bit of a drag. This could end up being an interesting series, but I disliked this book enough that I won’t be reading any more of it.

I definitely think Incarceron was a better book by Fisher. I wouldn’t really recommend this book to anyone unless you are a huge fan of Fisher’s work and really want to read something else by her.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- YA/MG Fantasy Reading Challenge
- 150+ Reading Challenge
- Young Adult Reading Challenge

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