From School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-In an exciting opening chapter, Jack Wilde's plan to get kicked out of boarding school works perfectly. He is sent to his wealthy guardian's home in the English countryside, where he plans to confront his guardian and godfather, Oberon Venn, about his father's disappearance. The teen suspects Venn of murder, but discovers that the truth is far more complicated. Venn, his butler, and numerous cats rattle around in Wintercombe Abbey, working on experiments with the Chronoptika, an ancient device that allows people to travel through time. The machine's history is murky and there are no instructions as to its safe use. Sarah, a young woman with her own secrets and interests in the Chronoptika's power, joins the household. A scarred man, an evil Replicant, and a Time Wolf prowl around, and the Wood surrounding the Abbey is full of hidden dangers. There is a notebook that communicates with the future, and in the Wood, the Shee add a Celtic fairy element to the story. The plot is told from varying points of view and set in different times. During his time travels, Jack trails his father to 1848 London, where he is befriended by a street urchin before being sucked back to the present. Sarah, in turn, is from a future that will be desolate if she does not complete her mission. The several interesting story lines have their moments, but the many loose ends make it clear that this trilogy opener is not meant to stand alone.-Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TXα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In this series opener a boy searching for his father, a mysterious girl, a reclusive genius tormented by his wife’s death, and a fairy changeling struggling to stay human converge at ancient Wintercombe Abbey, lured by the promise of the Obsidian Mirror. Found in the 1800s and taken from its owner by treachery, the mirror can open a portal into the past, but those who venture in are often lost. While Jake, looking for his father, and Sarah, sent from the future to destroy the mirror, are arguably the stars here, Fisher taps into the universal desire to right past wrongs with a large cast of interconnected characters, all sympathetic in their need for the mirror yet disturbing in the lengths they will go to procure it. Following the particulars can get hairy, but Fisher effectively alternates brooding mystery with thrilling action. With evil future replicants in pursuit, magical fairies on the defense, and characters from all time lines converging, this blend of science fiction and fantasy is certified fresh. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Fisher commanded attention, including that of Hollywood, for the two-book Incarceron series. Major promotion is planned to kick off this new trilogy. Grades 6-9. --Krista Hutley