The Vast Wasteland

Sheila's rantings, most likely of no interest, on TV, movies, books, music, etc.

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Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

I live in Seattle, am married, have two cats (one is a genius, the other insane), and am a mild-mannered copy editor by day. I love horseback riding, coffee, reading, TV, movies, music, playing (too much) World of Warcraft, and lying on the couch. This isn't a personal blog, but rather a place for me to vent about movies, TV shows, books, music, etc. Thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Book Review: The Water Mirror

(General review; contains some mild spoilers. Also, contains zombies: John, you've been warned!)

The Water Mirror is a young adult fantasy novel, written (in German) by Kai Meyer and translated (decently) by Elizabeth D. Crawford. The most remarkable aspect of this book is the setting: it's set in an alternative Venice, a city that's full of magic (literally) and under seige by Egypt's undead armies. This was a quick read (which I found a relief after Diana Gabaldon--believe me) with some interesting (and creepy!) ideas, such as:
  • A character, who is blind, has her sight restored by getting mirror transplants in her eyes. Her vision becomes better than normal--she can see in the dark, and even into rooms she's not in. However, it's disconcerting to others, who can't see anything but themselves in her eyes.
  • There are mermaids in the canals of Venice, but they're not the beautiful creatures we think of--they have huge, split heads with rows of shark teeth in their oversized mouths. Humans treat them like animals--they race them, keep them in cages, etc.--and the mermaids are dying because of pollution in the waters.
  • Every once in a while, the main character (Merle) gets a glimpse of another Venice--ours. There are certain times and places where the barrier between the two cities grows thin, and they start to leak into each other.
  • A grotesque minion of hell comes to Venice (via a fiery crack in the earth) to offer the city a partnership: hell will drive out the Egyptian undead armies (which have taken over most of Europe, by the way) if the Venetians pledge them...their souls, of course. The Venetians attack and kill hell's messenger, which was kind of kewl.
There are also flying stone lions, a magical mirror that Merle can reach into but never get wet, fabulous cover art, and lots of political intrigue. A decent book, and I'll read the others when they come to this country.


Blogger K Jones said...

I read this book as part of a critique group and I am so happy you liked it as well. I have never experienced a book with so many unique characters and so much real (surreal) danger. A great read and quick to boot.

2/10/2006 7:57 PM  
Blogger Sheila said...

Thanks for your comment! :-)

3/09/2006 1:27 PM  

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