"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."

Borges

Monday, March 19, 2007

Mira, Mirror


Mira, Mirror
Author: Mette Ivie Harrison
Publisher: Penguin Puffin
ISBN-10: 0142406430
ISBN-13: 978-0142406434

Mirror, mirror on the wall
Who’s the fairest one of all?

Whatever happened to the magic mirror when the wicked queen in Snow White died? What actually was the magic mirror? Where did that wicked queen come from?

Mira, Mirror answers all that and more in this dark and interesting modern fairy tale that has very little to do with Snow White.

Mira, the poor daughter of a peasant is sold by her mother to a witch who requires an apprentice. Affection starved, she bonds quickly, desperately with the other apprentice, a beautiful dark haired girl who has her own nefarious plans and becomes Mira’s adopted sister.

The beautiful girl befriends Mira and shares her magic with her, but it is a dark and scary magic wrought from the killing of little animals. As the adopted sister grows more and more beautiful with the magic she steals by killing, her purpose becomes clear. She will become a queen at any cost. One day she tricks Mira into holding a mirror for her and Mira feels herself change to glass and wood.

Mira is now a mirror and forced to do her sisters bidding for years as she hangs trapped in the old witch’s ramshackle cottage. One day the sister queen never comes back and Mira is left hanging (literally) for 100 years until a peasant girl named Ivana finds her.

Determined to free herself, Mira convinces Ivana to take her with her as she escapes from an arranged marriage. This flight leads her right into Talia who has her own escape to make. She and Ivana switch places with Mira’s magic and things get really interesting. Their adventures take them through another fairy tale loosely based on Beauty and the Beast.

Mira, Mirror is an interesting and dark take on the two fairy tales. It is narrated by Mira who is a pretty complex character. The strong and determined women characters make the story very interesting and layered. These are girls who forge their own way and change their expected roles in unexpected ways.

The story shows how true friendship, love and respect can transcend even the darkest of souls and change lives. It shows that you can become something else if you try hard enough. Another thing I loved about it was that it shows that beauty isn’t superficial, it comes from within. I think that Mira, Mirror is an excellent book with strong role models.

Book description from the publisher:

Two sisters. One a witch and a queen. The other transformed by her sister's touch into a mirror—a mirror with voice and memory and magic, but no power to transform herself back to the girl she once was. And then, mysteriously, the queen disappears and another girl finds the mirror. This girl has troubles of her own, but she is also a means to escape and soon the girl and the mirror are on their way to find the magic that will bring both pain and hope to both of them. Mette Harrison's mesmerizing voice spins a breathtaking tale of love, lies, and redemption.

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