Saturday, October 16, 2010

Review: The Mirror of Her Dreams by Stephen R. Donaldson

Terisa is a woman with self-worth issues. Growing up as the only daughter of rich but neglectful parents has left her doubting her own existence. As a result she had decorated her apartment with dozens of mirrors to remind herself that she does in fact exist. She has also taken a job as a secretary at a mission house believing she might make a difference. However that notion is soon shattered when she sees that despite how hard the reverend tries he is ineffective. Terisa’s life is turned upside down when a young man named Geraden falls through one of her mirrors. Geraden seems just as surprised about his arrival as he had seen a mighty warrior in the mirror and came across to recruit him as a champion to save his world. Instead he found Terisa. Geraden believes that there are larger forces at work and convinces Terisa to come with him through the mirror. What she finds is a kingdom in danger ruled by a monarch well past his prime and ineffectual. With enemy forces gathering on every side can Terisa make a difference?

What I really enjoyed about this novel is how well it effortlessly combined a number of genres most notably fantasy and mystery. As Terisa was baffled as to what particular character’s motivations were so was I and I love to be kept guessing like that. Donaldson does a particularly excellent job of getting into Terisa’s head and the way her doubts and preconceptions colored everything she encountered was masterful. The magic system of imagery was well thought out and far more interesting than that of the Covenant books. Fans of Sanderson’s enigmatic magic systems will be left speechless. The only negative issue was a slight pacing one, as the beginning was a bit slow but aside from that this was a first-class read.

Overall I’m surprised that the Mirror of Her Dreams does not seem to be held in as high Esteem as the Covenant books. In my humble opinion it’s just as good if not a good deal better. After the cliffhanger ending I’m looking forward to reading the conclusion. 8.75/10

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