This tale springs alive in the first chapter, almost in media res. Main character Leah, once a two-year-old foundling on the beach in upscale Sea Cliff Heights, California, knows that her rescue is tied to a graveyard incident involving mysterious disappearances. On the anniversary of that night every year, weird things always happen. She’s weird. Doesn’t belong. She fumbles into her ability to conjure past events and distant places in her bathroom mirror, when the power in her basement goes out on that anniversary. She’s amazed and confused. So are we. Should I know more about this strange town? Did I miss book one? There isn’t much room for questioning, because that’s just the beginning and things happen very fast.
Don’t get hung up on little details, because Palmer has many more surprises in store. Subtly may have been sacrificed but efficiency wins the day, and this story just keeps flowing. It flows impeccably, as a squeaky clean narrative that anyone old enough to tackle the grade level would be safe reading. Mirror Masters would be a wonderful read for pre-teens or young teens, before the obsession with proof and explanation takes over. And where is the fun in that, anyway? This is fantasy, just go with it. For any reader, I advise to suspend disbelief—float along and enjoy—because the first half of the book only sets the stage for the real epic, when Leah finds herself in her actual hometown, on another planet called Jantyr…and she faces a destiny that may better have been called a curse.
On Jantyr, Palmer lets loose with the pure fantasy that she must have been craving to write, and her story takes some unique twists and turns. Singing sand, talking keys, and lightening orb weaponry—no questions asked! A beautiful scene that I loved: Leah witnesses souls trapped in the wall of an old castle, being led to the light by a dearly departed friend. There is much to explore on this world, and I loved being there—Palmer gives just enough detail to fire up the imagination, yet not so much that it slows the story down. I found myself quite caught up in the plight of Leah’s doomed planet (yes, there is death and destruction), rooting for her unlikely love match (yes, the romance is very sweet), and scared that she might face a fate worse than death at the climax…
The climax could have gone on for an entire chapter or more, with all the nuances that Palmer invites a reader to ponder about a soul’s existence beyond what we normally understand. That's good stuff! Unfortunately, after such a build-up and at break-neck speed, the story ends so fast I felt my neck for whiplash. Yet, there’s something to be said for calling an encore! Lora Palmer created a world that I want to investigate more, to settle into and fall in love with, and brave Leah is an inspiration for any young woman.