Mirrorstorm (Mirrorscape) by Mike Wilks

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Mirrorstorm (Mirrorscape) by Mike Wilks

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Gina Garnett
Reviewed by Gina Garnett
Summary: It's worth sitting through the slow opening, but I wouldn't be surprised if you felt a little cheated by the ending.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 576 Date: June 2009
Publisher: Egmont
ISBN: 978-1405237468

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Mirrorstorm is the second in the trilogy starring Mel, Ludo and Wren; three apprentice artists who can travel into the Mirrorscape (the epically surreal world beyond the surfaces of paintings). Having rescued their master from this world during the first installment, they must now plunge back in to thwart an attempt at world domination by the corrupt House of Spirits.

Mirrorstorm is slow to start, with an all too familiar set up: one talented young boy and his two friends (one male, one female and clever) breaking various rules and not seeming to get in trouble for it (Harry Potter). When they were given a clockwork device that does fantastical things, that too seemed overly recognisable (Northern Lights). However, something kept me from just putting the book down, and as the adventures progressed, I began to feel wholly justified and rewarded for hanging on. There is a flair to this world that's ever so slightly addictive, and I was quick to become fond of (most of) the characters.

This did, however, leave me feeling somewhat cheated both by the final resolution - which happened so fast and so apparently easily that I missed it the first time and had to go back - and by the very ending - which was a very obvious and trite set up for the third book in the trilogy.

I especially felt cheated because all the previous solutions bar one (one that was too important to let go so easily) had superb solutions which left me marvelling at the inventiveness and resource of both the characters and the author.

The three main characters work well together. Mel is resourceful and brave without being an obnoxious twerp, Wren is clever and sensible and Ludo is easy going but quite sharp. It's a fairly Hogwarts threesome, but maybe both Rowling and Wilks used it because it just works.

There is one character in particular apart from the starring three - a cheeky, cockney invisible thief - who felt like a stock character pulled out of a how-to manual, and it's painfully easy to see who's good and who isn't: the evil people tend to be either mad, evil of the 'bwahahaha' variety, or both. Beyond that, most of the secondary and minor personalties are orginal and creatively characterised, which makes the few who are too stock or too obvious even more irritating and disappointing.

The writing itself is engaging and highly descriptive: you are never left without a picture in your mind, and the addressing of darker themes (child murder and forced matrimony, for example) amongst the younger adventure stuff adds depth and urgency to the plot and seems to make the characters work harder to achieve their ends (whether they're the ones doing the child murdering or the ones trying to escape a knifepoint wedding).

It gets a clear recommendation to anyone who's already a fan of the first book, although it's more than easy enough to follow if you haven't. It has its slip ups, but they're forgivable to an extent, and those bits devoid of slip ups generally make up for them.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

You'll get more out of this book if you start with the first in the series. You'll also enjoy The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis and Coraline by Neil Gaiman.

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Buy Mirrorstorm (Mirrorscape) by Mike Wilks at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Mirrorstorm (Mirrorscape) by Mike Wilks at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Mirrorstorm (Mirrorscape) by Mike Wilks at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Mirrorstorm (Mirrorscape) by Mike Wilks at Amazon.com.


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