A Winter’s Promise (The Mirror Visitor, Book One)

Christelle Dabos, Hildegarde Serle

A Winter's Promise (The Mirror Visitor, Book One)
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A Winter’s Promise (The Mirror Visitor, Book One)

Christelle Dabos, Hildegarde Serle

Long ago, following a cataclysm called ‘The Rupture’, the world was shattered into floating celestial islands, known now as Arks. Ophelia lives on Anima, an Ark where objects have souls. Beneath her worn scarf and thick glasses, Ophelia hides two powers – the ability to read the past of objects and their human owners, and the ability to travel through mirrors.

When she is promised in marriage to Thorn, the young girl must leave her family and follow her fiance to Citaceleste, the floating capital of a distant Ark. Why has she been chosen? Why must she hide her true identity?

With a feisty, unforgettable heroine, a rich universe, romance and thrilling intrigue, A Winter’s Promise will appeal equally to readers of Cornelia Funke, Scott Westerfeld and Margaret Rogerson. Discover the first instalment in a grand saga, and a talented new fantasy author with seemingly boundless powers of invention.

Review

The first volume of this best-selling French quartet has now been translated into English and is available locally. The story is set in a world that is fractured into floating chunks, known as ‘arks ’, each overseen by an immortal being. The arks are populated by families with distinct supernatural skill sets.

Ophelia lives on Amina and, as a reader, her talent is knowing the history of an object through touch. She is also able to travel through mirrors. Her life is suddenly disrupted when she is betrothed to an unknown man from the Pole. It’s a place of which she knows nothing except freezing temperatures and giant beasts. Her fiancé, too, is cold and harsh. She travels with him to his home and is thrown immediately into hostility from both climate and people.

In spite of confusion about her situation and the reasons behind her marriage agreement, Ophelia is a bold and smart character, navigating unknown environments and struggling to find allies and answers in an unfamiliar society of excess and cruelty.

Fantastic characters and superb world-building will take hold of readers, allowing a plot revealed without hurry. This richly imagined, enthralling fantasy is packed with intrigue and is a perfect choice for readers of Philip Pullman. A cliff-hanger ending will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next instalment of this epic series. For ages 12+.


Kim Gruschow is the children’s book buyer at Readings St Kilda.

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