Lovecraftian Old Ones and teen angst: the horror!

Title: The Mirrored ShardMirrored Shard cover

Author: Caitlin Kittredge

Publisher & Release Date: Delacorte, Feb 2013

The Hook: I read the first two, and was fascinated at the twists in mythology that Kittredge builds into her stories. The very personal is pitted against the good of the universe in Aoife’s choices – and I had to see if where the decision would finally fall.

The Lowdown: Aoife Grayson must face death to win back Dean, shot in the arctic north while trying to save her. But her path to the Deadlands will set her up against enemies new and old, force her to cross worlds and come face-to-face with an ancient being that knows only hatred.

Overall Impressions: A fast-paced quest to find a way to access the Deadlands, Aoife, her ghoul friend Cal and brother Conrad leap from peril to peril. There’s a distinctly creepy vibe to this book, between the villains and the dead – Dean is definitely not frolicking in the Elysian Fields. From we see of the worlds, the current structure is rotten and about to break, and the looming presence of the Old Ones makes for an interesting subtext.

The Highs: Kittredge’s world-building is excellent! I loved seeing more of the country of the Iron Lands, and the Deadlands was a creepy and intriguing version of Hell.  Great visuals and the awesome mix of magic, technology and lore that sucked me into the first book continues to intrigue. Aoife more often stood her ground in this book, or came up with clever ways to find solutions, rather than being fooled or blackmailed into disastrous decisions.

Buzzkills: Aoife’s short-sighted focus on saving those she loves at any cost have made me cringe through the entire series, especially when she should have started recognizing the danger of this around the seventh time it backfired.

Excepting the last, they bounce so quickly from enemy to enemy that there isn’t much of a build-up of tension.

Personal peeve: Dean’s nicknames for Aoife, “princess” and “darlin’.”

The Source: Public library

Disclaimer: No chocolate or other faerie ambrosia was provided by the publisher for this review.