I’ve just finished a couple of books. The first one, Mira, Mirror by Mette Ivie Harrison, was pretty good. This book is fairy tale-ish along the lines of Snow White. But instead of re-telling the fairy tale, the story follows the wicked queen’s magic mirror. The story begins with two peasant girls, apprentices to a local witch. The girls think of themselves as sisters but the first sister only seems to care about beauty. She becomes more and more power-hungry and evil, eventually trapping her sister in a mirror.
The rest of the book is about the mirror’s journey. Not just her physical journey, but her emotional one, too—how she enters the lives of two other girls and as she helps to change them, she herself changes and learns what love is.
I found the writing in this book quite good. It flowed very well and it must have been hard to show everything from the point of view of a wood-and-glass mirror that has to be carried everywhere, but it was wonderfully done and didn’t feel contrived for the most part. The story was fascinating and made me want to keep reading. The characters seemed real and fun and interesting. The mirror’s gradual change in feelings and beliefs was done pretty well; there were only a few spots where I was pulled out of the story to think, “Where did that come from? That was sudden.”
When I finished the last page last night I closed the book, puzzled. It was not a very satisfying conclusion. Yes, there’s redemption and a form of happiness, I suppose. But it felt very rushed and not complete. I wanted to see much more of Mira, after all her long years of waiting.
Final grade: B+
Deeper by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams
I also (finally) finished Deeper this week. It’s a sequel to Tunnels, which I read last year and found very different, boring in some parts, and quite scary/freaky in a lot of ways. I was interested enough to read the sequel, I guess. These books follow two teenage boys who stumble upon a mysterious Victorian society deep under the streets of London. In Deeper, the boys go…where else?…deeper underground, many miles below the surface of the earth. They encounter strange plants, animals, giant bugs, lots of dirt and dust, really evil bad guys, and a plot to take over the earth.
It took me a really long time to read this book…nearly two months. That’s because I found a large part of it really boring. It’s far too long, for one thing—I love long books if the story is a page-turner, like Harry Potter. I can’t get enough. But for this book, most of it felt like all they did for several hundred pages was wander around in the dark, exploring yet another dusty, hot tunnel. 643 pages of this can get pretty old. I think I only kept plodding through it because after 300 pages I thought, “I can’t bear to waste all the time I already spent…I might as well finish.” So I’d read in brief, 10-minute stints. The characters are okay, but really annoying at times, and they do things that don’t really make a lot of sense. They’re not completely believable. The authors also seem to have a goal to be as gross as they possibly can…gory stuff, really disgusting stuff, they don’t seem to care as long as it’s nasty. Perhaps they think this really appeals to teenage boys?
That said, though, it did get more exciting toward the end, and I’ll probably force myself to read Freefall, the next book, when it is published in the U.S. (It’s already available in the U.K.) I do feel vaguely interested in the fate of the characters. But if you have to “force yourself” to read something, that kind of speaks for itself.
Final grade: C+