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A Winter’s Promise / Christelle Dabos

Newspaper: The Little Book Owl
Date: Jun 21 2019

Originally written in French and published in 2013, this is the first book in the Mirror Visitor quartet. This edition is translated by Hildegarde Serle and is published by Europa Editions.

I knew very little about this one going in but I’m pleased to say that I really enjoyed it. I’ve since seen some pretty mixed reviews so I’m glad I went in not knowing about that, since I sometimes feel reading mixed reviews before hand will affect my reading experience. Firstly, the setting is one of my favourite things about this book. This world is spilt into many floating islands called Arks and each of these arks are home to different family clans. The inhabitants also have distinct powers based around their ancestry. The main character, Ophelia, has the power to read objects to find out their past, as well as being able to travel through mirrors. I’ve never come across a world like this and I appreciated it’s imaginative nature.

While the characters do lack a little depth, I still thought they were well written and I enjoyed finding out more about them throughout the book. The romance elements were a little frustrating at times – the male lead at one point says something like ‘I’m getting used to you’ which is just a bit weird, but it didn’t detract from my overall reading experience. I will say that I wasn’t a fan of one conversation in this book, in which a male character jokes about rape – that is never OK to do. The other main issue that I saw in a lot of reviews after finishing this book is the treatment of women. I have to say that I didn’t have an issue with this while reading it. Yes women aren’t treated very well in this world but how is that different from alot of other YA fantasy books? It is the way this world is and I’m looking forward to seeing how these women develop in the next three books.

I enjoyed the plot of this book, although it does drag a little in the middle. The pacing is relatively slow, as this is not an action packed book, but I never felt it was boring or too slow. The writing is good and I found it easy to settle into the flow of the story. However it is a little repetitive at times, especially in terms of character traits. For example, we are told numerous times that Ophelia is clumsy. This was a little frustrating at times but it didn’t detract too much from my overall reading experience.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and I cannot wait for the next book to released. The Missing of Clairdelune, book 2, is set to be released on the 11th July 2019. I would highly recommend checking this out, especially if you are looking for a new YA fantasy series. Have you read this book? I’d love to know what you thought. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.