Catherine Fisher is not known for writing simple books, and this one is no exception. There are three prongs to this fantasy. The first is Oberon Venn, an explorer who has spent two years secluded from the world because he caused the accident that killed his wife, Leah. Venn will do anything to get her back. Anything. He and his trusty slave, Piers, are hidden out at Venn’s estate, trying to do just that: travel through time through the Obsidian Mirror.
The second player is Jacob, the son of Venn’s best friend, who has disappeared and is presumed dead. So Jake has gotten himself thrown out of yet another boarding school and is headed, along with his unsuspecting teacher, Wharton, to Venn’s house, Wintercombe Abbey, to force some answers from Venn. Little does he know the web he will be tangled in.
The final player is the most complicated one: Sarah is possibly an escapee from an insane asylum. Or perhaps she’s a traveler from the future, a future where the mirror has destroyed the world, in order to destroy the mirror and prevent Venn from bringing his wife back.
There’s so much going on in this one, it’s hard to know where to begin. Yes, the beginning is slow and confusing. But I stuck it out and was richly rewarded. It’s time travel mashed with a mystery mashed with faery stories (yes, the Fey show up and play a role), and if you give it time, it will begin to play out — it’s the first of a trilogy — in some incredible ways.
I can’t wait to read the next one.
Rated: Mild. There’s nothing really objectionable, though there is some fantasy violence.