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Obsidian Mirror Hardcover – April 23, 2013

4.1 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Chronoptika Series

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Hardcover, April 23, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

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
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 550L (What's this?)
  • Series: Obsidian Mirror (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Books (April 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803739699
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803739697
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,045,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
This fast paced novel is one of my favorites by Catherine Fisher. The story unfolds from multiple points of view, adding to the sense of mystery as the reader tries to figure out how each character ultimately relates to the story as a whole. The main plot follows Jake, a reckless teenage boy determined to escape his boarding school, go to Wintercombe Abbey, and confront his godfather Oberon Venn, who he believes murdered Jake's father. Jake's father and Venn were working on secret experiments involving something called the Chronoptika, and Jake believes that Venn killed his partner and best friend to keep the research secret. Venn is certainly ruthless, and willing to sacrifice anyone and anything to achieve his goals. However, what Jake discovers about his father, Venn, the Chronoptika and the secretive residents of Wintercombe Abbey will change his world, his future and possibly his past. This novel blends magic, science fiction, adventure and mystery seemlessly for an adventure that will leave readers eagerly anticipating the sequel.
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Format: Hardcover
As a fan of Incarceron, I wanted to like this book, I really did. And it was decent, but...like Incarceron, it had its issues.

The book starts off with a fascinating premise--a boy out for revenge, a mysterious guardian. The name Oberon (Midsummer Night's Dream, anyone?) is already a clue that there might be some fae magic going on, so when more sci-fi elements get brought in, its a pleasant surprise. I personally always love to see the two combined, and I was also looking forward to Jake as a central character, since many YA books are written from the girl's point of view.

Jake initially intrigued me at first, but unfortunately, I quickly became bored of and disappointed in him. He starts off as a dangerous teenage boy, willing to do anything to get expelled from school. Eager to see why, I read on, only to discover that my questions were answered all too quickly as he immediately opened up to a teacher he barely knew. All of the sudden Jake was a big softy with little spine and a willingness to accept whatever explanation was told to him. Every now and then he went back to that fierce determination, but I saw nothing else of the dangerous boy I glimpsed in the first few pages.

The story was fast-paced, the plot interesting, but I think half the problem with this book is that there are so many plot points and sub-plots that the characters get lost in the story Fisher is trying to tell. I had a similar feeling with Incarceron and Sapphique, where there were so many mysteries that I lost track of them, and sometimes when secrets were "revealed," I still didn't really understand their significance.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This was my first reading of book written by Catherine Fisher and I had no preconceptions. Except from the information contained in the Amazon overview abstract which peaked my interest. From my understanding, she has written a book called Incarceron, which I have yet to read. The Obsidian Mirror is adventure that combines Science Fiction in terms of time travel and fantasy. Tales that contain `Time travel' can be at times confusing, but Ms Fisher doesn't make it overtly too complicated. The narrative leaves many questions left unanswered, but there was enough revealed for the reader to enjoy the story. The obsidian mirror itself, is a time portal of sorts, and remains a mystery, but I am sure all will be revealed in the next instalment? The only irritant in this mix of themes, and simply refuses to fit, is the fairies. They might be colourful characters and are horribly creepy, but they seem be too be absolutely and totally an irrelevance to the narrative, and I can't understand their purpose in this story. Maybe their role will be clearer in the second book?

I am not too enamoured by a narrative that is told from of a multiple of points of view and I think I would have liked this book more if it were it told from Jake's perspective alone, and in first person. Third person narrative is my least favourite narrative choice here, this maybe me, but I feel you lose emotional bonds between the characters and the entire experience can come off being somehow seem cold and clinical in its delivery. For example the switching narration from Jake to Sarah and back, within a few short chapters with other narrative voices `jarred' the natural flow. Ms Fisher is an excellent writer with a good sense of pacing and wonderful imagination. Her sentences are short and clear, her style pleasingly concise, and yet she somehow avoids making it seem `wooden' in the telling. The Obsidian Mirror left so many questions unanswered and I look forward to the sequel.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Obsidian Mirror is a delightful read as a puzzle book. There is a bit to like about the male protagonist, however, he wasn't highly relatable for me. His father has gone missing, the boy presumes he's been murdered by a man his father knew. He is obsessive in his quest to prove the man murdered his father and basically prejudges every thing and everyone in the process to prove it.That may be particularly teen-like behavior but I wanted to like him more. The other characters are also self absorbed in their own quests and will stop at nothing to get what they desire. the one exception to this general characterization is in the person of Wharton who is a very likable character, cares what happens to others in the story and has a sense of morals that govern his behavior.

That said the story is engaging, the plot arc inventive, and the attention to detail quite amazing. Ms. Fisher does leave you wanting more. I like the change that the reader sees in the character of Oberon as well as the change the protagonist makes in his understanding of Oberon. Her world building is rich and the relationship/feelings the son feels for the missing father is highly believable.
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