Obsidian Mirror by Catherine Fisher
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Publishing Date: October 4, 2012
Jake's father disappears while working on mysterious experiments with the obsessive, reclusive Oberon Venn. Jake is convinced Venn has murdered him. But the truth he finds at the snow-bound Wintercombe Abbey is far stranger ... The experiments concerned a black mirror, which is a portal to both the past and the future. Venn is not alone in wanting to use its powers. Strangers begin gathering in and around Venn's estate: Sarah - a runaway, who appears out of nowhere and is clearly not what she says, Maskelyne - who claims the mirror was stolen from him in some past century. There are others, a product of the mirror's power to twist time. And a tribe of elemental beings surround this isolated estate, fey, cold, untrustworthy, and filled with hate for humans. But of them all, Jake is hell-bent on using the mirror to get to the truth. Whatever the cost, he must learn what really happened to his father.I checked out a copy of this book from the library. All opinions are my own. Buy a copy from Barnes and Noble today.
Let's just dive in: There was just too much going on. 'Obsidian' includes a bunch of characters, most of the them playing large parts. Each character had backstory or ulterior motives, 'Obsidian' just felt like an overwhelming tangle of mysteries and storylines trying to unwind. I could tell almost immediately that this novel was too short for what the author was trying to accomplish with all these characters. Telling the story from the different viewpoints of these many characters left me feeling disconnected and I found myself reading too quickly through the chapters.
Wharton and Summer are two characters I just didn't understand. We meet Wharton first as a professor at Jake's boarding school. He has hated Jake all year because of Jake's obvious disobedience and intent on getting expelled. Wharton was just an odd puzzle piece that didn't fit into the rest of the story. He is forced to accompany Jake 'home', ends up staying on a while and then suddenly becomes fiercely loyal and protective of Jake and all this 'friends'.
Summer was just a bummer. Haha I know I rhymed, but sorry it is true. Reading that this book was supposed to include a 'tribe of elemental beings' was one of the bigger draws to this novel, but they play such an inconsequential piece to the larger picture. Fisher could have omitted them completely and the story would have carried on just fine. Summer herself was confusing. The leader of these elemental beings, she appears ancient and powerful. But in the end? She has done squat. Perhaps she plays a larger role in book two?
So why did I keep reading through this giant mess of character and mystery? I wanted to enjoy more of the sci fi elements! Time travel? The overall mystery of the mirror? Umm..YES. This is what I wanted more of.
'Obsidian' is my first Fisher novel and while this particular novel has definitely turned me off of the rest of the series, I don't think it has turned me away from Fisher herself. I'm willing to still try 'Incarceron'. This piece, however, was like an overly long, confusing intro to something I just don't feel inclined to continue. I could only recommend this one to those who are fans of Fisher already. I give it 2 stars.