Books Young Adult Fiction The Obsidian Mirror (Chronoptika #1)

The Obsidian Mirror (Chronoptika #1) Featured

http://www.yabookscentral.com/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x275s/1e/b5/b6/the-obsidian-mirror-5-1366819260.jpg
 
4.3
 
3.8 (2)
504   0
Publisher
Age Range
14+
Release Date
April 23, 2013
ISBN
978-0803739697
Buy This Book
      
The obsidian mirror. Its power is great and terrible. Men have been lost in it, the dead brought back to life through it, and the future annihilated by it. Or this is what will happen unless the mirror is destroyed. Three people seek the mirror: the first has been sent from the future to shatter its power; the second will protect the mirror at all costs, obsessed with its power; and the third needs the mirror to find a murdered father and save his life. But only one can succeed. The mirror can send you to the past, but it will not bring you back. With superb world-building that includes the real world, the faery world, and a dystopic future, this hauntingly astonishing adventure is the start of a new trilogy from the master of the sci-fi/fantasy genre, Catherine Fisher.

Editor reviews

Catherine Fisher is at it again with “The Obsidian Mirror,” the first book in a new trilogy that blends science fiction, fantasy, and time travel.

“The Obsidian Mirror” follows Jake, a boarding school student who will do anything to get out of school and confront Oberon Venn, his godfather and mysterious explorer, who Jake thinks killed his father. When I say he’ll do anything to get out of school, I mean anything, including stabbing a student in order to get expelled. Needless to say, that scheme worked, and Jake learns the disappearance of his father is far more complicated than it seems.

What I love about this book is that every character is insane. I’m not using that in a lighthearted, “ha ha” kind of way. I mean that each character is driven mad to some degree by the obsidian mirror, the device that lets the characters travel through time. Jake is starting to go mad with his need to find his father; Venn is definitely crazy, turning into a recluse, with his obsession to find his deceased wife; Sarah, a suspicious stranger, is insane with passion to accomplish a task she was assigned in another time; Janus and Maskelyne, two characters from separate times, are each mad in their search to find the mirror and use it for their own purposes; and Wharton, Jake’s boarding school teacher who has been tasked with delivering the teenager to Venn, is having a hard time wrapping his mind around the fantastical beings and time traveling conundrums he’s been unwillingly thrown into.

Ultimately, this insanity serves a purpose. Fisher tells readers that it’s important to live in the here and now, rather than obsessing over what happened in the past or what could happen in the future. If you’ve made mistakes, realize that you can’t undo them, but you can move forward with life learning from those mistakes and making yourself a better person because of it.

A heads-up as you head into the book: There are going to be parts in the first half of the book where your brain goes “Whaaaaa?” and you think, “Wait, I don’t get it.” It is all going to pay off, I promise! Fisher puts the pieces of this mystery together one by one, and those pieces create one cosmic picture that is definitely worth the wait.
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Jason Gallaher Reviewed by Jason Gallaher April 24, 2013
Top 50 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (106)

Mirrors Have Never Been This Detailed or Mind-Bending

Catherine Fisher is at it again with “The Obsidian Mirror,” the first book in a new trilogy that blends science fiction, fantasy, and time travel.

“The Obsidian Mirror” follows Jake, a boarding school student who will do anything to get out of school and confront Oberon Venn, his godfather and mysterious explorer, who Jake thinks killed his father. When I say he’ll do anything to get out of school, I mean anything, including stabbing a student in order to get expelled. Needless to say, that scheme worked, and Jake learns the disappearance of his father is far more complicated than it seems.

What I love about this book is that every character is insane. I’m not using that in a lighthearted, “ha ha” kind of way. I mean that each character is driven mad to some degree by the obsidian mirror, the device that lets the characters travel through time. Jake is starting to go mad with his need to find his father; Venn is definitely crazy, turning into a recluse, with his obsession to find his deceased wife; Sarah, a suspicious stranger, is insane with passion to accomplish a task she was assigned in another time; Janus and Maskelyne, two characters from separate times, are each mad in their search to find the mirror and use it for their own purposes; and Wharton, Jake’s boarding school teacher who has been tasked with delivering the teenager to Venn, is having a hard time wrapping his mind around the fantastical beings and time traveling conundrums he’s been unwillingly thrown into.

Ultimately, this insanity serves a purpose. Fisher tells readers that it’s important to live in the here and now, rather than obsessing over what happened in the past or what could happen in the future. If you’ve made mistakes, realize that you can’t undo them, but you can move forward with life learning from those mistakes and making yourself a better person because of it.

A heads-up as you head into the book: There are going to be parts in the first half of the book where your brain goes “Whaaaaa?” and you think, “Wait, I don’t get it.” It is all going to pay off, I promise! Fisher puts the pieces of this mystery together one by one, and those pieces create one cosmic picture that is definitely worth the wait.

Good Points
A great blend of sci-fi, fantasy, and time travel elements.
Each character, whether major, minor, good, or evil, is compelling.
A multitude of story lines that are intricately woven together to create a satisfying finish.
Was this review helpful to you? 
 

User reviews

Average user rating from: 2 user(s)

Already have an account? or Create an account
Overall rating 
 
3.8
Plot 
 
4.0  (2)
Characters 
 
3.5  (2)
Writing Style 
 
4.0  (2)
I realized the other day that I, for some reason, always seem to mix up Catherine Fisher and Cornelia Funke. This led to me being a little hesitant to pick up The Obsidian Mirror because I was thinking it was written by Funke and I haven't particularly cared for any of her books. I did, however, enjoy Incarceron and ended up being rather pleased with The Obsidian Mirror as well.

I'm not going to lie. I was pretty darn confused for the first few chapters. Heck, I didn't realize it was set in the present until they were on a plane (and then I only realized halfway through the ride), but then again, I can be pretty unobservant. There's a lot of mystery and dancing around the main story, but eventually things start coming to light and I don't think it took too long either.

I often don't like the third-person omniscient POV because it can be confusing and feel too far removed from the characters and the story, but Fisher does an excellent job with it. Sometimes it will transition from one person to another within the space of a few paragraphs with no warning, but it was so smooth that it didn't bother me at all. And thankfully, I liked all the characters. I wasn't particularly disappointed when it would move from one character's situation to another because I was equally interested in them.

I loved learning all about the mirror, it's past and future. I'm really hoping that we'll eventually figure out the mirror's backstory because even while everything else is going on, there's the ever-present question: where did the mirror come from and what was it's original purpose? On top of that, there's both the past and present strorylines which I'm dying to know more about.

The Nutshell: The Obsidian Mirror has pretty much everything you could ask of a scifi/fantasy. Time travel, a desolate future, a man determined at all costs to get what he wants, interesting faeries, and about a million storylines that manage not to get all tangled and confusing. If you're looking for a story that will capture you with it's mysteries, you should definitely check out The Obsidian Mirror.
Hit
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Jasmine Reviewed by Jasmine April 27, 2013
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (327)

The Obsidian Mirror review

I realized the other day that I, for some reason, always seem to mix up Catherine Fisher and Cornelia Funke. This led to me being a little hesitant to pick up The Obsidian Mirror because I was thinking it was written by Funke and I haven't particularly cared for any of her books. I did, however, enjoy Incarceron and ended up being rather pleased with The Obsidian Mirror as well.

I'm not going to lie. I was pretty darn confused for the first few chapters. Heck, I didn't realize it was set in the present until they were on a plane (and then I only realized halfway through the ride), but then again, I can be pretty unobservant. There's a lot of mystery and dancing around the main story, but eventually things start coming to light and I don't think it took too long either.

I often don't like the third-person omniscient POV because it can be confusing and feel too far removed from the characters and the story, but Fisher does an excellent job with it. Sometimes it will transition from one person to another within the space of a few paragraphs with no warning, but it was so smooth that it didn't bother me at all. And thankfully, I liked all the characters. I wasn't particularly disappointed when it would move from one character's situation to another because I was equally interested in them.

I loved learning all about the mirror, it's past and future. I'm really hoping that we'll eventually figure out the mirror's backstory because even while everything else is going on, there's the ever-present question: where did the mirror come from and what was it's original purpose? On top of that, there's both the past and present strorylines which I'm dying to know more about.

The Nutshell: The Obsidian Mirror has pretty much everything you could ask of a scifi/fantasy. Time travel, a desolate future, a man determined at all costs to get what he wants, interesting faeries, and about a million storylines that manage not to get all tangled and confusing. If you're looking for a story that will capture you with it's mysteries, you should definitely check out The Obsidian Mirror.
Hit

Was this review helpful to you? 
If I had to describe The Obsidian Mirror in one word it would be: rebel. No, this book is not about some revolution but it simply rebels and defiest to be labeled. I really had problems tagging it. Should it be young adult or middle grade? Where would you put Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling or The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman? Well, put this book right there with them.

If you try stuffing The Obsidian Mirror into one genre only, you would run into similar problems. Is it contemporary? Yes, since most of the plot happens in present tense. Is it science fiction? Well, you could say so, since there is time travel involved and description of society in distant future... Is it historical? There are excerpts from old journals and some parts of the story happens in 19th century - so yes, it's historical fiction also. Is it fantasy? There are fey and magic and a lot of unresolved plot elements that may turn to be other supernatural surprises, so you can definitely call The Obsidian Mirror fantasy or urban fantasy or paranormal... So there you have it. This is contemporary historical paranormal science fiction/fantasy novel. Ha! Take that Catherine Fisher! You thought you could fool me, but nothing stops my OCD. :D

The Obsidian Mirror is a thrilling adventure set in England at the estate of Wintercombe Abbey. The atmosphere in Wintercombe Abbey is so dark and gothic and one of the big mysteries in The Obsidian Mirror is the house itself and the secrets hidden in it.
"Nothing in the house was straight; everything leaned or tilted; even the floors sloped, and Jake had the unsettling feeling that the Abbey was warping almost as he walked through it."

Story is about multiple characters who all gather in and around Wintercombe Abbey to accomplish their personal, often mysterious goals. Narration is told from third person point of view and jumps between different characters constantly, the more intense the moment, the more switches you should expect. This turned out to be a great tension builder, it does not help for you to really connect to the characters. Although I liked some of them very much, especially Sarah, girl of unknown origin but suspected runaway from mental hospital, and Piers, ever-present all-knowing butler.

The Obsidian Mirror covers a lot of topics. Coping with loss of a close family member, human greed and manipulation, does goal always justifies the means, fight for the better future, lost love, family, friends,... And surprisingly, solution to all of their problems seems to be The Obsidian Mirror.

This is the book that will keep you puzzled and on your toes until the last page. There are so many twists and turns in plot and always something new is happening. The Obsidian Mirror is definitely not ordinary novel full of tropes and cliches. But, for some unknown reason, I had hard time reading it. Or should we better say slow time. I would read and read and read, for ages, and when I check only ten pages passed. This is very strange since I am usually a fast reader, especially with books I like. And I liked The Obsidian Mirror.

If you liked gothic atmosphere of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, scary but beautiful fey from The Iron King by Julie Kagawa or you enjoy reading middle-grade/young adult fantasy novels that revolve around large set of characters and involve mystery, time travel, paranormal and a lot of thrilling action, you are probably going to enjoy The Obsidian Mirror by Catherine Fisher. You are definitely not going to say: "Meh, I read it all before" after finishing this book.
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0

Book that will keep you puzzled and on your toes until the last page

If I had to describe The Obsidian Mirror in one word it would be: rebel. No, this book is not about some revolution but it simply rebels and defiest to be labeled. I really had problems tagging it. Should it be young adult or middle grade? Where would you put Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling or The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman? Well, put this book right there with them.

If you try stuffing The Obsidian Mirror into one genre only, you would run into similar problems. Is it contemporary? Yes, since most of the plot happens in present tense. Is it science fiction? Well, you could say so, since there is time travel involved and description of society in distant future... Is it historical? There are excerpts from old journals and some parts of the story happens in 19th century - so yes, it's historical fiction also. Is it fantasy? There are fey and magic and a lot of unresolved plot elements that may turn to be other supernatural surprises, so you can definitely call The Obsidian Mirror fantasy or urban fantasy or paranormal... So there you have it. This is contemporary historical paranormal science fiction/fantasy novel. Ha! Take that Catherine Fisher! You thought you could fool me, but nothing stops my OCD. :D

The Obsidian Mirror is a thrilling adventure set in England at the estate of Wintercombe Abbey. The atmosphere in Wintercombe Abbey is so dark and gothic and one of the big mysteries in The Obsidian Mirror is the house itself and the secrets hidden in it.
"Nothing in the house was straight; everything leaned or tilted; even the floors sloped, and Jake had the unsettling feeling that the Abbey was warping almost as he walked through it."

Story is about multiple characters who all gather in and around Wintercombe Abbey to accomplish their personal, often mysterious goals. Narration is told from third person point of view and jumps between different characters constantly, the more intense the moment, the more switches you should expect. This turned out to be a great tension builder, it does not help for you to really connect to the characters. Although I liked some of them very much, especially Sarah, girl of unknown origin but suspected runaway from mental hospital, and Piers, ever-present all-knowing butler.

The Obsidian Mirror covers a lot of topics. Coping with loss of a close family member, human greed and manipulation, does goal always justifies the means, fight for the better future, lost love, family, friends,... And surprisingly, solution to all of their problems seems to be The Obsidian Mirror.

This is the book that will keep you puzzled and on your toes until the last page. There are so many twists and turns in plot and always something new is happening. The Obsidian Mirror is definitely not ordinary novel full of tropes and cliches. But, for some unknown reason, I had hard time reading it. Or should we better say slow time. I would read and read and read, for ages, and when I check only ten pages passed. This is very strange since I am usually a fast reader, especially with books I like. And I liked The Obsidian Mirror.

If you liked gothic atmosphere of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, scary but beautiful fey from The Iron King by Julie Kagawa or you enjoy reading middle-grade/young adult fantasy novels that revolve around large set of characters and involve mystery, time travel, paranormal and a lot of thrilling action, you are probably going to enjoy The Obsidian Mirror by Catherine Fisher. You are definitely not going to say: "Meh, I read it all before" after finishing this book.

Was this review helpful to you? 
 
Powered by JReviews

LATEST YABC BLOG POSTS - BLOG TOURS, ANNOUNCEMENTS, AND GIVEAWAYS

  • Books Aren't Dangerous Campaign

      Do you remember that book that changed your life as a reader, or maybe just your life in general? You do? That’s great!        Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, authors of the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES series, have started a campaign called BOOKS AREN’T DANG ...

  • TOMORROWLAND - Drive Through Movie Review

    **********NO SPOILERS************ The Nerd Riders, Kristin and Clint, give their thoughts on the new Disney film TOMORROWLAND.    QUESTION: If you could go to an alternate universe what would you want to see there? ...

  • It's live!! Cover Reveal: The Secret Side of Empty by Maria E. Andreu + Giveaway (US/Canada)

    Hi, YABC! Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for THE SECRET SIDE OF EMPTY by Maria E. Andreu, releasing September 1, 2015 from Running Press. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Maria:   YABC Readers!  I’m so excited to share the pape ...

  • May 2015 YABC Book Haul

    Hey YABCers! Once again, our office has been innundated with books, books, and  more BOOKS! We've run out of shelf space which can only mean one thing .... it's time for the May Book Haul! Enjoy the video and let us know in the comments which books you can't wait to add to your TBR. &nbs ...

  • It's live!! Cover Reveal: Insidious by Dawn Metcalf + Giveaway (US/Canada)

    Hello, YABC! Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for INSIDIOUS by Dawn Metcalf, releasing August 25, 2015 from Harlequin TEEN. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Dawn:   You know when you finish a story, you never really finish because there' ...

  • What's New in YA

      Are you wondering what's new in YA today? Check out these wonderful new releases!       A School for Unusual Girls is the first captivating installment in the Stranje House series for young adults by award-winning author Kathleen Baldwin. #1 New York ...

  • The Librarian's Corner

      This month's theme for the Librarian's corner is all about picture books you can share with teens! Picture books aren't just for kids and babies anymore. In fact, teens love storytime too!    For May, I am featuring some of my favorite picture books to share ...

  • The Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival

        The Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival--TBF 2015 Contributed by Kayla King, Blog Manager and Staff Reviewer   Here at Young Adult Books Central, we LOVE YA! Fortunately for us, The Greater Rochester Book Festival held at Nazareth Collge devotes itself to s ...

  • Giveaway: If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski (US Only)

    If You Feel Too Much: Thoughts on Things Found and Lost and Hoped For By Jamie Tworkowski Release Date: May 26, 2015   About the Book In 2006 Jamie Tworkowski wrote a story called “To Write Love on Her Arms” about helping a friend through her struggle with drug addiction, ...

  • Giveaway: Nova by Margaret Fortune (US Only)

    Nova by Margaret Fortune   Release Date: June 2nd   About the Book *36:00:00* The clock activates so suddenly in my mind, my head involuntarily jerks a bit to the side. The fog vanishes, dissipated in an instant as though it never was. Memories come slotting ...

  • It's live!! Cover Reveal: Briar Rose by Jane Yolen

    Happy Friday, YABCers! Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for BRIAR ROSE by Jane Yolen, releasing April 19, 2016 from Tor Teen.      Ready to see? Scroll, YABCers! Scroll! ...       ...     ...

  • Giveaway: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone (US Only)

    EVERY LAST WORD By Tamara Ireland Stone In stores June 16th   About the Book If you could read my mind, you wouldn't be smiling.   Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and ...

View more blog entries

Latest Book Listings Added

Category: Kids Fiction
It was an average day at Harry Buttz Elementary until . . . KABLAM! The five-bean burritos churning in Darren...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
This powerful middle-grade novel from the Newbery Honor author of RULES explores a friendship between a small-town girl and the...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
Twenty-year-old Ethan Jones has a secret that even his parents and foraging companions don't know - he's a mutant. And...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
Olivia Davenport knows what she needs to be happy. Now, if only she could get the rest of the world...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
When Josie and her brothers uncover a haunted camera, the Mothman legend becomes a terrifying reality that threatens their entire...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Laura Martin is visiting Rome on a class trip, and she's entranced by the majestic Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now,...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
The Stick Dog series continues in author-illustrator Tom Watson's hilarious Stick Dog Dreams of Ice Cream. In the follow-up to...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Ranger, the time-traveling golden retriever, is back for the second book in Kate Messner's new chapter book series. This time,...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
22635844.jpg
Category: Kids Fiction
Rye O'Chanter was shocked to discover that her father was the leader of the notorious band of outlaws known as...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Kiera Cass's #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series has enchanted readers from the very first...
 
3.7
 
3.7 (2)
What if the world holds more dangers—and more wonders—than we have ever known? And what if...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
23111784.jpg
Will this Mad Tea Party put Alice in hot water? Alice is rebellion-ready, eager to save...
 
4.7
 
5.0 (1)
Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is...
 
5.0
 
4.3 (1)
Alias Hook.jpg
"Every child knows how the story ends. The wicked pirate captain is flung overboard, caught in...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson and Gayle Forman, Every Last Promise is a provocative...
 
3.8 (2)
 
3.2 (2)
The conclusion to the bestselling InterWorld series, from Neil Gaiman, Michael Reaves, and Mallory Reaves! Joey...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon and made...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
By the author of the critically acclaimed Wild Awake, a beautiful coming-of-age story about deep friendship,...
 
3.7
 
3.3 (1)