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The Water Mirror (Dark Reflections) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, August 30, 2005

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 840L (What's this?)
  • Series: Dark Reflections (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry; 1st US Ed edition (August 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689877870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689877872
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,915,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Kai Meyer's engaging fantasy portrays Venice as a city alive with wonder--stone lions pad with heavy paws on the canal banks and sometimes fly (as steeds for the Venetian Guard); the canals are full of mermaids with wide shark jaws, and the island city has been under siege by Egypt for 36 years. Only the power of The Flowing Queen, the mysterious spirit of the waters, has kept the city safe. But now the essence of the Queen has been stolen by traitors within the government, and the powers of Hell are offering a blood treaty. Two orphan girls, Merle, 14, and blind Junipa, 13, have become apprentices at the workshop of Arcimboldo, the maker of magic mirrors. He treats them kindly and restores gentle Junipa's sight by replacing her eyes with two round silvery bits of mirror. Merle soon emerges as the more adventurous of the two, and experienced fantasy readers are not surprised when she is given a quest to save the doomed city. American readers of this German bestseller will be reminded of Cornelia Funke's The Thief Lord, by the intriguing mix of actual Venetian locations and a fantasy underworld, and also Neil Gaiman's Coraline, by the matter-of-fact acceptance of grotesqueries. In this unusually short (for fantasy) initial volume, Kai Meyer has planted enough backstory, hints, foreshadowings, and unanswered questions to fuel several sequels. (12 and up) --Patty Campbell

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5-8–This inventive and original fantasy is set among the canals of a fantastical medieval Venice and grounded by powerful imagery of light and shadow, stone and water. Two orphans are apprenticed to a magical mirror maker. Junipa, 13, is blind, but is given her sight in a magical but dangerous process. Merle, 14, is impulsive, courageous, and already the owner of a magic mirror. She finds herself at the center of the struggle for the survival of Venice in the face of the invading Egyptian army that is besieging it. The city has been kept safe thus far by the Flowing Queen, but now her spirit has been trapped in a glass vial. When Merle comes into possession of this vial, she is commanded by the Flowing Queen to drink the water in it, thus imbibing her spirit and voice. She then has to free Vermithrax, a flying lion of living stone long held prisoner by the Venetian authorities, as the first step in the process of ensuring the safety of the city. A powerful mix of political intrigue, adventure, and magic, the novel is peopled with believable and likable human characters along with mermaids, both feared and enslaved by humans; lions of living stone; and a fearsome and horrifying representative of the Kingdom of Hell. The Water Mirror is a standout in this year's crowded field of fantasy novels, and will have readers clamoring for the next entry in the series.–Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Kai Meyer is one of Germany's most successful authors, with millions of books sold worldwide and his novels translated into twenty-seven languages. The British edition of THE FLOWING QUEEN / THE WATER MIRROR won the 2007 Marsh Award for Best Children´s Book in Translation and his historical novel THE VOW was turned into a movie by celebrated German director Dominik Graf. Kai lives in Germany. You can visit him online at

Customer Reviews

I look forward to reading the next one in the series.
Michelle Boytim
In addition to these vivid fantasy images, Kai Meyer has created engaging and admirable heroines readers will be compelled to follow.
Teen Reads
This can not be read as a stand alone due to the cliff-hanger ending leaving us eagerly waiting for the second book in the series.
Jeannie Mancini

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By microjoe TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I think this is the same book as "The Flowing Queen" but with different covert art and title. The author writes in German, so this is a translation. In an alternate reality, we have a story set in Venice during medieval times, with its many canals and bridges. The Egyptian Empire is using its incredible mummy warriors to invade the city, after having conquered most of the rest of the known world. The spirit of the water, the Flowing Queen, has kept the city safe so far. Two orphan teen girls are made to apprentices to a mysterious man who makes real magic mirrors. They soon discover a plot to capture the Flowing Queen by traitors in the city, leaving Venice vulnerable for the first time in 36 years. And why are city officials holding the flying lion as a prisoner, when he can help save them?

Venice and the world portrayed by the author is full of fantasy and horror, and plot twists at every turn. From stone lions that walk, scary mermaids that live in the canals as pull the gondola boats as slaves to the humans, terrifying mummies, a demonfrom hell, and magic mirrors, she has created a unique world for the reader to visit.

I found the book to be full of enjoyable characters, courage, and inspiration. Kids that are 10 years old and up should enjoy this book as well as adults. My only complaint was that it is too short, but it is the first book in a series.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Madisen on February 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
As a fan of the fantasy genre, I was very happy to read this innovative book, which finally breaks free of the tired conventions authors have been following for years.

From the very start, the setting (a magical Venice, in the early 1900s) is a change from the standard Middle Earth ripooffs and medieval castles. Main character Merle is a well-rounded character who acts quite a bit more like an actual person than any heroine in recent memory. And the supporting cast is no slouch, either; in this well-crafted universe, even standard archetypes have been transformed into fresh new personalities.

As is required for any magical world, the fantasy Venice is sprinkled with all kinds of mythical objects and creatures, from stone lions and mummy warriors to "mirror phantoms" and mermaids. All of these are described in a way that makes them seem like they could really exist.

The constant stream of unique ideas only helps to drive an intriguing plot. Since this is the first in a series, the ending leaves plenty of loose ends for readers to ponder until the translation of book 2.

This book's pretty cover art drew me in, but its strong plot hooks and great writing will keep me coming back until the series concludes.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on October 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
When fourteen-year-old Merle is sent to be apprenticed to the mirror maker Arcimboldo, she's thrilled; she will finally escape the horrors of the orphanage. Besides, the mysterious master craftsman is rumored to be a magician of sorts --- how exciting to be that close to magic, even if it does mean relocating to the ominous Canal of the Expelled at the dead end of one of Venice's famous waterways.

Joining Merle as one of two new apprentices is Junipa, blind since birth. Merle is impressed by Junipa's heightened abilities to hear noises and sense feelings, and she's even more impressed when Arcimboldo cures Junipa on their first night in his home. The master replaces Junipa's own pupils with flat mirrors, enabling the girl to see even better than her friend.

Merle has a mirror secret of her own; set adrift on a Venetian canal as a baby, Merle was left one present by her absent parents. She is the possessor of a magical "water mirror," a hand mirror whose surface is water and whose watery depths are warm and inviting. The mysterious hand that grasps Merle's own inside the mirror and Merle's own dreams lead the girl to believe that she might have a secret connection to the Flowing Queen, the elusive power that has protected the city of Venice from the menacing Egyptians who have taken over much of the rest of the world. When the Flowing Queen is threatened, can Merle and her allies help save the city --- and even the whole world?

THE WATER MIRROR is full of richly imagined characters who seem familiar and yet strange. Marauding mummies threaten cities, soldiers patrol on stone lions, and mermaids seem more like sharks than sirens. In addition to these vivid fantasy images, Kai Meyer has created engaging and admirable heroines readers will be compelled to follow.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on September 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Waiting for this book for over two months was not easy,but when I finally got it I was satisfied.

When Merle and her friend Junipa are found a job in the mirror shop of the famous Arcimboldo, by the the orphanage, they are excited as never before.When they arrive they right away are introduced to a mysterious woman named Eft, who covers the lower portion of her face with a mask.

Fourteen year old Merle posses a strange mirror whose surface is made of water.Merle can stick her whole hand in the mirror and not get wet.Then Junipa, who has been cured of blindness, sticks her face into the mirror and looks into the dark with her "mirror" eyes.When she emerges she tells Merle to never ask her what she saw.Amoung that are the rival weaver boys across the canal, and Merle befriends the leader, Serafin.Serafin is later captured by the rival egyptians and the flowing queen,protecter of Venice is taken from the waters but saved by Merle.Together the two must erect peace and save all of Venice.

This is a great book that can be enjoyed by many.I recomend ages twelve and up and say it is about on an eighth grade level. You will not be dissapointed.

~KEL 13, U.S
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