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The Mirror of Her Dreams by Stephen Donaldson

Review by Jojo

This is my first Donaldson (of the Thomas Covenant fame) book, and one that grabbed my attention time and again but I never bought. Recently it was gifted to me, and I quickly ate my way through it.

The World
Honestly, we don't see a whole lot about the world outside of Orison, the large, sprawling building that houses the King of Mordant. Mordant is very recently a kingdom, made up of united Cares, which are pretty much like duchies or principalities. For most of history the sovereign of the Cares passed back and forth between the two big kingdoms to either side of them - Cadwel and Alend. Mordant's biggest means of keeping their independence from Cadwel and Alend is simple: their Imagers. At the end of King Joyse's campaign, he gathered, by peace and by force, all the Imagers and formed a Congery of them and set them to work on matters of peace - but with the Congery King Joyse had created a formidable defense that had the other kingdoms hesitant to raise against him.

Magic exists in the form of Imagery. Here, mirrors can be used to translate things, and in wars previous, Imagers - men who are born with the talent of translating (basically, being able to pull things through the mirrors) - would pull nightmarish things through to aid their side. This form of magic struck me as wonderfully fresh and the philosophical theories the Imagers and others have about the Images translated was really wonderful, making them human. I absolutely loved this.

The Characters
We meet so many. Our mains are Terisa Morgan, late of New York, who is pulled into this new, strange world by Geraden, a hapless, clumsly Apt who has been training longer than any to become a Master Imager. He is sent forth to translate a champion to come to the aid of Mordant, and gets Terisa instead. We meet King Joyce, an old man who seems uncaring or oblivious to the threats to his peace; Adept Havelock, a man gone mad; and a slew of Geraden's brother's. Among others. Lots of characters.

The Plot
Morgant is in trouble. There is dissension in the Congery. Many of the Cares are being attacked by translated images, people are dying, and King Joyce seems oblivious to the threat. All around people are conspiring, trying to save the land from falling into certain war, and when news spreads to Cadwel that the Congery is torn, war is plotted. On top of that, as soon as Terisa arrives she is set upon by a mysterious man, bent on killing her. From the get go she is drawn into the troubles of this land, and Geraden with her...

The Grade
I *loved* this book. The first one out of two books - the second one out of print :o( - I was sucked right in. Parts of it were slow, and parts were really predictable, but that was okay, as it was greatly enjoyable. Granted, I am a sucker for urban cross-over fantasies, but we are hardly in our world for very long before Terisa gets dragged in.

Having never read any of his other work, I don't know how it compares. I give it 4 out of 5 amulets. :)


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