The first Christmas read is done – A Winter’s Promise was one of my mother’s gift and I loved it. Originally titled Les Fiancés de l’hiver, it’s the first book in the French series The Mirror Visitor by Christelle Dabos. Here are my thoughts!
In a world after the Rupture, there are no more continents, but arks where families live on over decades, protected by the family spirit. Ophelia, an animist able to read objects and travel through mirrors, has never been interested in anything other than her museum and is therefore less than thrilled to hear that her family arranged a marriage with an anonymous man from another ark. As she travels to another ark to accompany her future husband, she finds herself in the middle of vicious and scheming people and no one but her aunt who’s accompanying her, she can trust. Living in a manor with her fiancé, his aunt and his grandmother, she discovers the true intentions of her arranged marriage, secrets she shouldn’t know for her own good and the undying thirst of everyone to get between her fiancé and her.No one is who he seems to be and friendly faces can’t be trusted – that are lessons Ophelia has to live by to survive her new life far from home…
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: June 6th 2013 (in France)
Rating: 5/5 stars
Who would have guessed that I find my favorite book of this year three days before it ends? I thought I had bumped into a great book when I first came across the second one, but who would have believed to encounter such a gem?
The plot was magnificent: Ophelia finds herself in a completely new and strange world utterly different from her previous life and home and she now must adapt to all the new social attires and customs. I specifiacally loved the idea of her living in a manor with the only relative she was allowed to bring and her fiancé, Thorn, his aunt and his grandma. The one thing he always told her was to only trust his aunt and while she tormented Ophelia, that sentence shaped the book.
The book was filled with one mystery to the next – nothing could be certain and the new world and her marriage was never explained to the reader, nor to Ophelia, the protagonist. And while the book has one not very uncommon trope, I did love Thorn’s and Ophelia’s relationship because it’s just super different from all the other books I’ve read. They don’t like each other, they have nothing in common and neither one of them wants to be engaged, but they do have a certain sparkle and I’m super excited how the story will continue.
The characters were magnificent. While I really love the protagonist, it’s Thorn’s aunt Berenilde whose the best character. I don’t understand whether she’s entirely bad or good because she can be utterly cruel one moment and then be a caring mother for Ophelia in the next and I love undefined intentions. All in all, every character is more complex than you first believe them to be.
The book lives off the world building – atmosphere and writing are what make this book special. (I can’t completely judge the writing as it’s not the original langueage, but it’s still beautifully written.). Magical descriptions of illusions and worlds strange for us appear on each page and we find ourselves in a phenomenal new world, where it’s no wonder critics compare this book to Harry Potter.
Recommendable: for everyone, especially those in search of something like Harry Potter!
This is only the first book in a series of four, and so I can’t really judge how it will continue but will start the second book with nothing but pure excitement. It’s been a long time that I’ve been so passionately enjoying a book and therefore it’s safe to say it will turn out to be one of the best books of this year.