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The Universal Mirror Paperback – February 13, 2012


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Paperback, February 13, 2012
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Hydra Publications (February 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615596517
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615596518
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,529,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

The Universal Mirror is the first novel in the epic fantasy series, Artifacts of Empire.  Its sequel, The Jealousy Glass, will be released on December 1, 2012.

About the Author

Gwen Perkins has always regarded the deep rainforest of the Olympic Peninsula the one place that she feels most at home. Gwen grew up in small towns across the Pacific Northwest, going to slug races and strawberry festivals when she wasn't scribbling on any scrap of paper she could come by. She boasts the dubious distinction of going to a public school with only eight students, learning Irish sea chanteys from a man who sang with the Clancy Brothers, and catching tadpoles during classes.

Her adult life is generally just about as much fun.

She lives in the City of Destiny (better known as Tacoma, Washington). Her hobbies include wandering beaches, baking pies and lampworking, or creating glass beads. In between all of this, Gwen has written two novels in the Artifacts of Empire series: The Universal Mirror and The Jealousy Glass.

More About the Author

Gwen Whiting has always regarded the deep rainforest of the Olympic Peninsula as the one place that she feels most at home. Gwen grew up in small towns across the Pacific Northwest, going to slug races and strawberry festivals when she wasn't scribbling on any scrap of paper she could come by. She boasts the dubious distinction of going to a public school with only eight students, learning Irish sea chanteys from a man who sang with the Clancy Brothers, and catching tadpoles during classes.

Her adult life is generally just about as much fun.

She lives in the City of Destiny (better known as Tacoma, Washington). Her hobbies include wandering beaches, baking pies and lampworking. In between all of this, Gwen has written two novels in the Artifacts of Empire series: The Universal Mirror and The Jealousy Glass. The Universal Mirror has been nominated for a 2013 Endeavour Award and has been re-released by Rara Avis Publishing.

Customer Reviews

Gwen Perkins does an amazing job of creating a world we've never been to.
Tina Ruddiman-Fisher
Quentin has a great asset in his friendship with Asahel, in which they both have a forbidden desire for magical knowledge.
Suzanne in GA
I really liked the character's as I thought they were well written as was the story.
Janie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Tina Ruddiman-Fisher on February 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Gwen Perkins does an amazing job of creating a world we've never been to. With her wonderfully detailed descriptions of the island of Cercia, as well as the characters in the book, I feel as though I've not only been there, but would love to visit again! It is obvious in her writing, Gwen cares for her characters and their settings and I could practically feel the energy she must have had during the writing process. I cannot wait to see where the story goes and join Asahel, Quentin, Felix, and Catherine in their adventures. My only complaint about this book is that it wasn't longer. Gwen Perkins has left me wanting more.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ella on March 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
My rating is actually 3.5 of 5 stars.

Set in a fantasy country, where magicians are forbidden to leave or cast, harmful or helpful, magic on people.

This was an interesting read as it seesawed between being high-action and quickly paced to dramatic dialogs. The book is composed of four parts, and in the third, the plot became much more interesting and I became more sympathetic to the characters. The book did promote interesting ethical questions including how much a life is worth, and the value of knowledge. Perkins creates some interesting characters, though I would have liked to see more about the side characters. Perkins certainly set up a universe that's very open to future novels. Personally, I would like to read more about Felix.

On the other hand, there are quite a few typos and occasionally Perkins over-explains an idea.

Nibble: "I used to catch frogs and let them loose on her head, and she never screamed, not once. In fact, she used to put spiders in my tea when her mother called on mine."

I would recommend this book to lovers of fantasy.

I received a free electronic copy from the author.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Desiree Finkbeiner on March 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the best books I've read in years! Well written and well researched, the characters and customs of the people fit in perfectly with historical customs of the time period. And though it was a fictional place, the island of Cercia, Gwen's makes it feel real...

The story builds in suspense with every chapter, and drew me in immediately with the tension of grave digging, forbidden magic, rotting corpses, lost love, murder, betrayal and secret conspiracies... Unexpected turns are in store for the reader. I could tell Gwen is personally acquainted with her characters as they are easy to love, hate and empathize.

My favorite character, Asahel, is a tortured soul, trapped in between the classes and feels that he doesn't belong, an outcast who wears his feelings on his sleeve. His hunger for belonging tests his strength, his ability, his loyalty and leads to some unexpected turns in the plot.

Quentin, struggling with his own dysfunctional relationships at home, reaches out to Asahel, risking his own reputation to embark on a great adventure wrought with peril and deceit.

Felix, a character whose true intentions are unpredictable, driven by deep rooted motives, a manipulative character who plays a significant role in bringing the plot full circle. I couldn't decide whether to love him or hate him until the end.

Catherine.. I see myself in this character. Self-punishing and driven, hard-shelled and stubborn, yet a hidden tenderness which eventually propels her into the plot... a lifetime of regrets to atone for. Her weakness becomes her strength when she finally realizes what's at stake and she learns to appreciate what she has taken for granted.

To top it all off, there is an excellent moral to the story...
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By E J Miller on June 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I really struggled with this book. I've now made two attempts to get into it but I'm afraid I'm going to have to pass after reading less than 20%. The main reason for this is overwriting - there is no physical experience too small to describe in detail and in the first couple of chapters so much skin, so many noses, cheeks etc. are going red with emotion that I found it difficult to get into the actual story. It slowed the pace and became irritating for me - others obviously do not agree and I respect their views.

Sorry!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Wanda on February 15, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
On the island of Cercia, the gods are dead, killed by their followers and replaced with the study of magic. Magicians are forbidden to leave their homeland. Laws bind these men that prevent them from casting spells on the living--whether to harm or to heal.

Quentin, a young nobleman, challenges these laws out of love for his wife. His best frien...d, Asahel, defies authority at his side, unaware that the search for this lost magic will bring them both to the edge of reason, threatening their very souls. The Universal Mirror shows how far two men are willing to go for the sake of knowledge and what they will destroy to obtain it.

Review 5 out of 5

On the island of Cercia, after a war where all the gods were killed, magicians were forbidden to leave their homeland and laws were created to prevent them from casting their spells on the living - whether to harm or heal.
When the island is affected by a plague, Quentin, a young nobleman defies authority out of love for his wife. His best friend Asahel helps him with his experiments. Knowing that the punishment for heresy is severe if found out, Quentin is determined to heal the damage caused by the plague on his wife.

When I began to read this book, I wasn't sure if I liked it or not. I was a bit confused at first. It felt like I was coming in half way through a conversation. However, my confusion soon evaporated as I got further into the story. It soon turned into a page turner that I couldn't put down! The beginning felt a little bit like a story from Burke and Hare! I began to empathise with Quentin's character. He's in love with his wife who, due to a plague, had been badly disfigured.
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