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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Book Review: The Telling Mirror by M.G. Nelson

My Rating: 
Book: The Telling Mirror
Author: M.G. Nelson
Page Numbers: 330 pages
Publication date: April 29th, 2015
Life has been hard on Sig and she isn’t taking it any longer. Stuck on her uncle’s farm in South Dakota, it’s time for her to make a break. With her mom locked away in a treatment center, she’s running away to find her long absent father. But she’ll need the money she’s swiped and hidden in the haymow of the farm’s old barn. As she digs her way through the hay bales to retrieve her money, the unstable stack collapses, pinning her to the back of the barn. Crushed and running out of breath she’s sure she’s a goner. Then the wall’s boards break from the hay’s weight creating a hole which Sig tumbles through. Her landing is hard, made even harder by discovering she’s landed in a different world, dark with evil and danger. Even stranger is the barn cat who jumps through the portal with her helping her navigate through this strange world, and a difficult journey of discovery.

My Review:

I received a copy from the author to read and review in return.

From the moment I received The Telling Mirror in my inbox from M.G. Nelson, I was instantly excited due to its engaging and exciting synopsis and promising storyingline. The further I got through the book, the more compelled I became by the its concept and characters. I would have given this book a 5/5 star rating, however due to the abrupt and, in my eyes, slight emotionless ending, I found myself left quite disconnected and a little confused.

From the first page of this novel, I was completely extracted from reality, plunged into the strange world that M.G. Nelson so tastefully created. Everything fell into place, meeting our protagonist Sig, getting to know her character as a self conscious, misunderstood and rebellious figure, to the bizarre and unknown world she literally falls into.

When Sig finds herself under a collapsed barn, she falls through a portal which brings her into a different dimension, a strange world filled with of gruesome creatures, dangerous centaurs, and gracious and magical fairies and butterflies. She finds herself not alone when she immediately bumps into Reggie, who she primarily doesn't even recognise to be her own cat from her life back on the farm. Sig quickly finds out that she has a special power which seems to be very valuable in this strange world. She can see images, people, and present happenings through a piece of mirror which she found during her dangerous journey. Throughout the story, the pair stick together in this dark and mysterious world, each on their own mission leading them into outlandish towns and landscapes and meeting some of the most bizarre and entertaining characters. They go through the most unexpected and nail-biting twists and turns, which kept me on the edge of my seat, longing to know what would happen next in the chapters to follow.

Things moved fast in this book, and I mean fast! This is different to calling the book "a fast paced read", which it definitely was, however I felt like the events taking place in this book unfolded a little too quick and fell into the reader's lap a little too staccato. I felt like I was being pulled from one exciting scenario to another, not always being able to accustom to the scenario Sig and Reggie landed themselves in to, as it was over as quickly as it had started; and meeting new characters which left the story as quickly as they were introduced. Eventually, towards the end of the novel the author began to connect the dotes together by bringing back some of the characters which we briefly met in the beginning of the story. However, due to the fact that these first acquaintances were in fact... brief, I did not feel as excited and emotional to see them reappear as the authors may intended for the reader to feel.

Despite the slight disappointment I may feel towards the way Ms. Nelson ended Sig and Reggie's odyssey, I feel the intense need to point out her ridiculously strong talent in her writing technique. Her writing style is so gracious, descriptive, easy to read, and extremly creatively constructed. Ms. Nelson leaves out NOTHING, by the way she describes a scenic location or even an object, to the foods which were served and consumed. I felt, tasted and saw everything which the author described, and felt myself desperately wishing to be on this journey along with our main characters.

Even though the ending was a bit rushed and abruptly came to a halt, 90% of the book I was completely hooked. This is a story that has to be given a chance, as I truly enjoyed reading Ms. Nelson's artistic and thrilling work, given the opportunity to vicariously live vividly through the character's amazing adventures.