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A Winter's Promise: Book One of The Mirror Visitor Quartet

Review

A Winter's Promise: Book One of The Mirror Visitor Quartet

Written by Christelle Dabos and Translated by Hildegarde Serle

Touch the book and be transported into a world that challenges imagination. A WINTER’S PROMISE by Christelle Dabos is a novel swept up in a deceptive plot, magnificent imagery and a strong-willed, unassuming heroine. Dabos’ debut novel is already a sensation where it was originally published in France, and will no doubt inspire the same reaction in readers here in the States. If you know who you are, dare to look into The Mirror Visitor, and see what you find on the other side…

In Anima, Ophelia is unaware of the sinister future that is soon to arrive. As a reader, someone who possesses the power to look back into the history of objects, the young misfit is perfectly content running her esteemed museum and spending time with her uncle. However, her years of blowing off suitors have finally come to punish her when she is trapped in a political marriage. Following her enigmatic fiancé, Thorn, to the freezing Pole, she is determined to stay true to her character despite the corruption others have suffered. As a mirror traveler, she has a strong sense of self, and she will not give it up. But she has a lot to learn about the dangerous life ahead of her, and to survive it, she will have to become more than a reader and a mirror traveler.

"A WINTER’S PROMISE is as gripping as it is beautifully imaginative....Daring and spectacular, this is a novel to read under the covers, in spare time, whenever the chance arises; readers will not soon forget The Mirror Traveler."

Dabos employs an abundance of imagination and creativity in designing the world of A WINTER’S PROMISE. With a brilliant combination of fantasy and science in this steampunk world, Dabos includes ingeniously thought out details pertaining to setting of this new “Ruptured” world, in which chunks of the earth float in arcs in the earth’s atmosphere. The powers of the different arcs and the history of the current world are slowly revealed through Ophelia’s perspective as she learns these facts for herself. With court-like socialization and the cunning politicization of the Pole, everything has a sense of gilded grandeur, where the beautiful illusions only warn of the darkness underneath.

If someone were to consider this novel thick, it is only because it has an elaborate and fully developed plot, setting and character. A fascinating and slowly brewing plot, the book will have readers constantly turning pages as the danger and mystery escalate. A little bit of humor in the beginning adds a lighter tone to the setting of Anima on which Ophelia previously lives. While there is less humor as Ophelia delves deeper into the threatening political game and the tension picks up, Dabos’ cleverness continues throughout the novel, making sure readers are constantly intrigued.

The tension between Ophelia and Thorn is palpable; both are as secretive as they are stubborn. While it is unknown whether she can trust her fiancé, she finds allies in the humblest and unlikeliest of places. They help her to look past illusions to find truth, including dispelling her own illusions. These characters are endearing in their own way, making the reader smile despite the paradoxical qualities of the higher socialites. Ophelia is endearing as well; her sneezing and coughing adds to her reality as a character. Often described to be small, she proves that physique is not everything; she, in her own unassuming way, is a force to be reckoned with. Even with the multitude of characters, each one is fully fleshed out and complex with motives and backstories, leaving their mark on both Ophelia and the plot.

While in the beginning it is difficult to understand Ophelia, readers will quickly grow to believe in her. Her first, most noticeable quality is her stoic appearance; however, she is by no means submissive or unemotional. While most modern female heroines would never be described as quiet, Ophelia has a soft-spoken strength which surprises both other characters and the reader. Some readers may confuse this with meekness, while truly it is a mark of her strong will and proves to be one of her greatest strengths. Clever, analytical and confident, she defies all expectations when it comes to facing conflict and choosing her battles. As Ophelia’s uncle proudly asserts, “To read an object requires forgetting oneself a little...traveling through mirrors, that requires facing up to oneself.” With her two gifts, Ophelia demonstrates that while others may give up their conscience to fight in the game they are required to play, she has the qualities that help her to stay true to herself and prevail.

A WINTER’S PROMISE is as gripping as it is beautifully imaginative. An amazing heroine, Ophelia proves that even when the world insists that one cannot stay true to oneself and survive, strength of character will prevail. Daring and spectacular, this is a novel to read under the covers, in spare time, whenever the chance arises; readers will not soon forget The Mirror Traveler.

Reviewed by Lauren C., Teen Board Member on October 16, 2018

A Winter's Promise: Book One of The Mirror Visitor Quartet
Written by Christelle Dabos and Translated by Hildegarde Serle

  • Publication Date: September 25, 2018
  • Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult 15+
  • Hardcover: 468 pages
  • Publisher: Europa Editions
  • ISBN-10: 1609454839
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609454838