Review: DARK MIRROR by MJ Putney

Dark Mirror (Dark Mirror, #1) 
Mary Jo Putney
304 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: March 1st, 2011
Source: ARC for review
Rating:  MEH

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.

I expected great things from MJ Putney’s YA debut – magic, history, and of course, action. It provided me with the first, the second, but not enough of the third.

I was mostly drawn to Dark Mirror because of its cover and the fact that its both historical fiction and a debut. I read mixed reviews, many that mentioned loads of action. I felt pretty disappointed by the lack of it.

Tory, or Lady Victoria Mansfield, is the youngest daughter in a wealthy, aristocratic family. Decades ago, magic was declared lowly, and looked down upon by the high folk. So when Tory discovers that “filthy” magic flows in her blood, she knows she must keep it a secret – or lose everything she has.

A near-tragic event suddenly befalls Tory, and she has to decide – save one life, or keep her magic a secret. Her decision ends up with her family and friends disowning her, and the life she knew, being yanked away from her.

Tory is sent to Lackland Abbey, where they will help her learn magical control and lock away her powers forever. Tory wants just that, so she can return to her home and try to restore her old life. But everything changes when she stumbles upon a group of rebels who actually embrace their magical abilities.

Soon, Tory finds herself in the middle of a storm. Its up to her to decide, once again, whether to hide her magic, or embrace it for the sake of her country.

The storyline is as unique and intriguing as it can get. The story itself, however, was dragging in some areas, yet left out details in areas where I needed description the most. I felt that Tory asked too many questions, and that her answers were given too soon, leaving her no need to find things out on her own.

I guess my main issue with Dark Mirror was the writing style. To me, the writing wasn’t developed as much, and even in areas where the reader can obviously guess what’s happening, there’s an explanation or dialogue. Its pretty difficult to explain, but that’s the best way for me to put it!

After much debate, I’ve decided to give Dark Mirror 3 stars. I expected too much out of it, and the beginning promised my expectations to ring through, but as I continued, I began to get more and more disappointed. However, like I said above, the plot is very unique, which is why I picked up the book in the first place!

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Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.



  1. Reply

    Lauren M

    March 18, 2011

    Hmm. I've pretty much only heard so-so things about this one. It's a bummer that the writing wasn't as fleshed out as you'd like it to be. I'm still going to give Dark Mirror a try, though. I love historical fiction! :)

  2. Reply

    The Slowest Bookworm

    March 19, 2011

    Oh no! I was hoping this one would be better. It sounds so good. I am waiting for my copy to arrive at the moment.

  3. Reply

    Chi Kittie

    January 12, 2012

    Great review and I love the cover of this book. I still want to read it even know you did not care for it as much as your would have liked to.

    – Beckie

  4. Reply


    January 24, 2012

    No there wasnt much action until the end but i was ok w/ that. :) I realy enjoyed this book and i just started the second one. If u want action don't read Dark Passage i first half is mainly Tory visiting her sister and the rich sob weather mage (Im really bad w/ names!)going to Jacks for xmas. After that the plot finally starts.

  5. Reply


    December 20, 2012

    I didn't really enjoy this book that much either. It was just so slow!! Just not for me.