M.J. Putney: Dark Mirror Blog Tour Review + Q&A

Today, we’re delighted to be part of the official blog tour for Dark Mirror by M.J. Putney. We’ve got lots of exciting content to share with you, including our exclusive Q&A with the author and your chance to win a copy. But first, here’s our review:

Early 19th century British society, a magical school and time travel combine in M.J. Putney’s Dark Mirror — the story of a society lady sent away to a school for mages, after her power is exposed and shames her high ranking family in 1800s England. But what Tory discovers at this school — meant to “cure” her of her magic — is more than she ever could have imagined.

At Lackland Abbey, Tory discovers that this reform school for mages may actually hold the key to embracing her power — and using it to fight a war not only in her present time against Napoleon, but a war in 1940s England. Through a magic mirror (possibly linked to Merlin himself), Tory and her classmates find themselves at the center of a key battle in World War II. This is where real-life history clashes with Putney’s imaginative fiction, creating a compelling story that readers of fantasy and historical fiction will surely embrace.

Though the two halves of the book can feel stilted — the time travel comes out of nowhere, unless you’ve been told about it ahead of time (the book’s synopsis is frustratingly vague) — the story does come full circle by the ending. And while the ending leaves room for future stories with these characters, it concludes in such a way that the book feels complete, in and of itself. (Which is refreshing for those readers weary of the seemingly endless march of new series in YA.)

And though Tory may not always be the most likable character (she’s not unlikable; just not completely endearing), it’s nice to witness her transformation throughout the book, as she comes to embrace her power. Her potential romantic foil is equally engaging.

Dark Mirror is in stores now.

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Here’s our exclusive Q&A with author M.J. Putney:

What made you choose to parallel the story between the war with Napoleon, and WWII? Why not just stay in 1800s? How would the book have been different without the time travel aspect?

Interestingly, a couple of editors told my agent that they might consider the book if I got rid of all that WWII stuff, but to me, the contrast in the time periods is the heart of the story.  The characters are facing similar perils in the two eras, but they are coming from such very different places.  The young Regency mages have to deal with prejudice and exile, while the WWII setting has forgotten magic, but Britain is in dire straits.  It just interests me how the characters and their backgrounds interact.

We know you can’t give too much away about future books in the series, but can you tell us a bit about what the future holds for Tory, Allarde, Jack, Elspeth, Cynthia & all the rest?

Well, I can say that the course of true love doesn’t run smoothly when there are conflicting goals.  Cynthia gets over some of her snobbery, and Jack—is irrepressible.

When Tory arrives in the 1940s, she marvels over all the modern conveniences. What’s YOUR favorite modern convenience? What would you hate to live without?

Electricity, because it makes so many other things possible!  With it, there would be no electric lights to read by, no music at the touch of a button.  NO E-MAIL!  It doesn’t bear thinking about.

What interview question do you always wish someone would ask you?

I’d like to be asked if I always knew I’d grow up to be a writer.

Now answer that question!

No!  Never!  I grew up in the farm country of Western New York.  We had lots of snow and dairy cows, but novelists?  Pretty thin on the ground.  I adored reading and burned through books in large quantities.  (Still do.)

But even though I daydreamed that it would be lovely to write books, that was a dream, not a goal.  It never occurred to that I could be one of those god-like beings who write novels.  Then I bought a computer for my graphic design business, and I found that I could put the stories in my head onto paper.  And when I fixed all the typos, they stayed fixed!  The rest is history.  And I’ve learned that most authors are very nice, but goddess like?  Not so much.

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Want to win a copy of Dark Mirror? Here’s how in our giveaway, courtesy of St. Martin’s Press:

  • Fill out the contest entry form to be submitted in the drawing
  • 2 winners will be chosen
  • U.S. only
  • One entry per person
  • Winners will each receive a copy of Dark Mirror
  • Contest ends March 21st at midnight (PT)

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For more on the book, check out these links:

Here’s the book’s official synopsis:

Lady Victoria Mansfield, youngest daughter of the earl and countess of Fairmount, is destined for a charmed life. Soon she will be presented during the London season, where she can choose a mate worthy of her status.

Yet Tory has a shameful secret—a secret so powerful that, if exposed, it could strip her of her position and disgrace her family forever. Tory’s blood is tainted . . . by magic.

When a shocking accident forces Tory to demonstrate her despised skill, the secret she’s fought so hard to hide is revealed for all to see. She is immediately exiled to Lackland Abbey, a reform school for young men and women in her position. There she will learn to suppress her deplorable talents and maybe, if she’s one of the lucky ones, be able to return to society.

But Tory’s life is about to change forever. All that she’s ever known or considered important will be challenged. What lies ahead is only the beginning of a strange and wonderful journey into a world where destiny and magic come together, where true love and friendship find her, and where courage and strength of character are the only things that determine a young girl’s worth.

Dark Mirror is in stores everywhere & can be purchased now!

And here’s the other places where you can check out the blog tour:

  • March 1: Culture Mob
  • March 2: Midnight Blooms
  • March 4: Eating YA Books
  • March 5:  Green Bean Teen Queen
  • March 6: Love Romance Passion / Literature Young Adult Fiction
  • March 7: Words for Teens
  • March 8: Pure Imagination
  • March 9: The Story Siren
  • March 10: My Pal Amy
  • March 11: YA Bliss
  • March 12: The Book Smugglers
  • March 13: Wondrous Reads
  • March 14: Novel Novice
  • March 16: TeenReads.com

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