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Dark Reflections #01: The Water Mirrorby Kai Meyer
Kai Meyer's first book to be translated into English (Meyer is relatively popular in Germany and has several titles in print there), The Water Mirror is terrific, a bit like Cornelia Funke's The Thief Lord meets Neil Gaiman's Coraline. Merle has to save Venice from the Egyptian Pharaoh and his mummy horde, not to mention from the corrupt city officials. But first she has to save herself by escaping the city; she enlists the aid of mermaids, the Flowing Queen, and the Ancient Traitor Vermithrax, after releasing him from prison. The bad news for readers is that we have to wait for Meyer's other books to be translated perhaps a crash course in German is in order!
Synopses & Reviews
In Venice, magic is not unusual. Merle is apprenticed to a magic mirror maker, and Serafin — a boy who was once a master thief — works for a weaver of magic cloth. Merle and Serafin are used to the mermaids who live in the canals of the city — beautiful creatures with hideous mouths that split their faces from ear to ear — and to the guards who patrol the streets on living stone lions. Merle herself possesses something magical: a mirror whose surface is water. She can reach her whole arm into it and never get wet.
But Venice is under siege by the Egyptian Empire; its terrifying mummy warriors and flying sunbarks are waiting to strike. All that protects the Venetians is the Flowing Queen. Nobody knows who or what she is — only that her power flows through the canals and keeps the Egyptians at bay.
When Merle and Serafin overhear a plot to capture the Flowing Queen, they are catapulted into desperate danger. They must do everything they can to rescue the Queen and save the city — even if it means getting help from the Ancient Traitor himself.
Kai Meyer's bold, original fantasy conjures up a land of magic and menace as Merle and Serafin begin a journey to unimagined realms in the extraordinary world of Dark Reflections.
"This first installment in the Dark Reflections series, a hit in Meyer's native Germany, is a complex work of high fantasy. In a mythical 1894 Venice, only the Flowing Queen has held off an Egyptian pharaoh's army, and orphans Merle and Junipa, who is blind, are apprenticed to Arcimboldo, who makes 'magic mirrors for good and wicked stepmothers.' Supernatural elements are, indeed, everywhere — mermaids with 'hideous mouth[s] that split [their faces] like gaping wound[s]' are kept as pets, the palace guards ride winged lions made of stone, and Hell has been 'proven... to be a real place' at the center of the earth. Merle's only possession (found with her in the floating basket that held her as a baby) is the mirror of the title — an object into which she can reach her entire arm — and feel someone clasp her hand. When she and a rival apprentice, handsome Serafin, overhear a plot to betray the Flowing Queen, they are swept into overseeing her safety. Merle's quest (very much unfinished at the book's end) is not only to protect the Queen but also figure out why she's been chosen for the task. There's a creepy edge to the narrative — Arcimboldo, for instance, replaces Junipa's unseeing eyes with mirror shards to allow her to see. Like the work of Diana Wynne Jones, this novel requires a sophisticated reader to follow its many threads, and one with patience, since most of the tying up is left for subsequent volumes. Ages 12-up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A thrilling, sinister adventure; readers will be eager for the next in the series." KLIATT
"[A] standout in this year's crowded field of fantasy novels." School Library Journal
About the Author
Kai Meyer is the author of many highly acclaimed and popular books for adults and young adults in his native Germany. The Water Mirror, which was nominated for the German Book Prize and was on many bestseller lists in Germany, has been translated into fourteen languages. Kai Meyer lives in Germany.
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©andcopy 2001 by Kai Meyer
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