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Obsidian Mirror (Chronoptika #1)

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  1,368 ratings  ·  305 reviews
Jake's father disappears while working on mysterious experiments with the obsessive, reclusive Oberon Venn. Jake is convinced Venn has murdered him. But the truth he finds at the snow-bound Wintercombe Abbey is far stranger ... The experiments concerned a black mirror, which is a portal to both the past and the future. Venn is not alone in wanting to use its powers. Strang ...more
Hardcover, 378 pages
Published April 23rd 2013 by Dial (first published October 4th 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
I knew very little about Catherine Fisher before reading The Obsidian Mirror, only that she wrote Incarceron, which I have yet to read, so it’s safe to say I went into this with no expectations whatsoever, just the usual excitement over a pretty cover. In a nutshell, The Obsidian Mirror is a Middle Grade adventure that combines Science Fiction elements (time travel, to be exact), with fairy lore. Had I realized this in time, I doubt I would have requested it since I normally avoid MG like the pl ...more
Christina (Ensconced in Lit)
I have heard of Catherine Fisher before, and I was interested in reading her work, but this is the first book I've read of hers. And boy, did I love it. Now I have to get my hands on the rest of her books! I received this book from the Early Reviewers program on Librarything in exchange for an honest review.

The Obsidian Mirror by Catherine Fisher is an amalgam of different genres, but she does it seamlessly-- we have some paranormal elements with fantasy and faeries as well as some science ficti
Raising the bar high for epic young-adult fantasy, where your imagination will be taken on the most exciting journey; with dreams becoming reality!

The stunning, magical cover of this book that glistens under the starlight really captures your imagination before you even pluck this book from the shelf. I adore the fantasy genre and I know that Catherine Fisher’s work will be a big hit, as there are so many avid readers of the young-adult genre. What I love about this genre is that it is so diver
** This is an ARC review.
Any excerpts and quotes included are from an unfinished copy
and may change before the final print**

In 2010, before I started blogging, I came across Catherine Fisher's book Incarceron in my local library. I remember reading the cover jacket blurb and being completely intrigued. I checked it out, took it home and totally lost myself within its pages. That book had UNBELIEVABLE world building and incredible surprises inside of it. I remember my then eight year old son as
If I had to describe The Obsidian Mirror in one word it would be: rebel. No, this book is not about some revolution but it simply rebels and defiest to be labeled. I really had problems tagging it. Should it be young adult or middle grade? Where would you put Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling or The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman? Well, put this book right there with them.

If you try stuffing The Obsidian Mirror into one genre only, you would run into similar problems. Is it contemporary? Yes, since
Stephanie Boaman
Jake has an obsession: to get to the man whom he believes murdered his father, the man who is now his guardian, Oberon Venn. He gets himself thrown out of his boarding school in Switzerland and is accompanied to Wintercombe Abbey by his former teacher, Mr. Wharton. There, we meet Rebecca from the village, Oberon himself, Piers the mysterious manservant/butler/assistant/cook/etc., and Sarah, who claims to be Piers’ niece/an escaped mental patient seeking refuge. We also eventually meet Gideon who ...more
Clare Cannon

Fisher writes stories you can sink your teeth into. On the one hand they offer well-paced, surprisingly original entertainment, and on the other they raise profound questions for individuals and societies. Unlike any other author I know, Fisher successfully combines time travel, historical fiction and fairy lore, and from this cultured mix draws philosophical reflections on life and happiness. That’s my ideal for a storyteller.

All of the characters are interesting but we identify most with Jake
I had read Fisher’s Incarceron series and enjoyed it, so I was eager to read this latest book by her. Thanks to Dial and Librarything for the chance to review this book. There were some interesting ideas in here and the book starts out as intriguing. As the story continued though there were too many POVs and the story became fractured and a bit confusing.

Jake is convinced that his strange Godfather Oberon Venn has something to do with Jake’s father’s disappearance. When Jake journeys to Winterco
Whitley Birks
View this review and more at Whitley Reads

Fisher’s writing creates a sense of atmosphere that gives new life to old concepts. The plot isn’t anything we haven’t seen before (someone mucks with time to get their dead loved ones back, it goes awry), but the book isn’t plot-driven. It’s atmosphere-driven. I have to admit, I can’t remember the last time I could apply that description to a novel. It manages to mix the feel of a fantasy, a light-sci-fi, and a dystopian all in one, then sets it in a go
There should have been more for this than there will be, but it was lost to my falling into Someone Else's Fairytale. At this point, what I've got is the memory of feeling boredom and frustration just a few pages in, when hit by a wave of Don't Want This. "This" being the typical Catherine Fisher set-up of multiple POV characters, with all of them ranging from unlikeable to deeply unlikeable to untrustworthy. Here it was gold medal-level "this", and the POV characters kept on coming and coming a ...more

The Obsidian Mirror has the ability to let one travel backward in time. In order to properly go through the mirror (and not take years to make it through) one must wear a silver bracelet with an amber stone at it’s center. This is set in a place called Wintercombe Abbey, in the Town of Wintercombe. It is never revealed where this truly is or if it is a real place. It is a very large old house;most likely hundreds of years old. The time in which most of our story takes place is uncertain.The prot
I really enjoyed Catherine Fisher's "Incarceron" and "Sapphique" though I did find the conclusion a bit of an anti-climax. This book, the first part of a new series, is even better: a mixture of magic and science fiction - just my cup of tea.
A boy seeks out his guardian who he thinks killed his father. The guardian is a famous explorer, now a recluse living in an old-dark-house-in-the-woods. There are lots of mythic references here - the guardian is even called Oberon. There's a fairy queen and
I was once reading the Wikipedia page about pixies and found out that apparently they are abundant in Cornwall and Devon in England. So it was interesting to read a book that was set in a mysterious Abbey in Devon, surrounded by the wood that houses fairies, kind of like a relative to pixies I guess! I found the description of the fairy world absolutely fascinating –beautiful and magical and chilling to the right degree. I read other stories that took the fairy plot in a more sensual direction t ...more
So, this book is a mess.

But not particularly in a bad way.

I was seriously doubting my choice of book when the main character in the first pages stabbed another kid in a very cold and calculating manner, seemingly for no reason at all. He couldn't care less of what he had done, and I was wondering what kind of psychopath this book was going to be about. But it kinda grew onto me.

Partially, it felt a bit random. There are many changes between charachters, and all of them has different goals and ag
Jake deliberately gets kicked out of his elite boarding school with a vow to confront his father’s killer. When he meets this supposed murderer, Venn, he learns his father has actually disappeared and is not dead. Venn’s estate is surrounded by faeries and Venn has a black mirror that can make people travel through time. Complicating the story, there’s a ghostly man with a wolf threatening people and there’s also a man with a scar trying to get to the mirror. Just who is good and who is evil is ...more
Beth Kemp
This novel, the first in a series focused on the Chronoptika device built around a magical obsidian mirror, features an amazing array of elements. There is magic: in the mirror, in the glamorous and dangerous Shee who live in the grounds of the Abbey; there are also sci-fi elements in the time travel and the hints of a disaster-stricken future. Finally, there is mystery and adventure in spades. As a fan of folklore, speculative fiction and magic realism, I was sure this was a book I'd enjoy and ...more
Kirsty (overflowing library)

Obsidian mirror is an really interesting read and one of those books I want to reread again soon as I think I'll get as much, if not more, from a second reading.

The book itself is written in such an unusual way. It switches between protagonist and between past and present alongside extracts from documents from the world in which it is set and as a reader I felt very much like I was piecing together a jigsaw puzzle as I went along working out little by little how everything fit together.

The st
Obsidian Mirror kept me interested, but at times a bit overwhelmed.

The premise of the story grabs you right away. Jake purposely gets thrown out of his fancy boarding school because he wants to go live with his "godfather," Oberon Venn. Venn was once famous, but now is a recluse at a remote estate. Jake's father was Venn's best friend and colleague. His father died, and Jake is convinced Venn killed him.

Wharton, one of Jake's teachers, will accompany him to Venn's estate. When they arrive, Venn
I love the idea of time travel as the possibilities really are endless, but sometimes in fiction it just doesn't work out. I am so pleased to say that Catherine Fisher has mastered the art of writing about time travel superbly, I was simply glued to this excitedly brilliant storyline! The characters are fabulously quirky, extremely interesting and never dull! There is so much to this complex book, but the thing that I found most intriguing was the introduction of Lady Summer, Lord Winter and Th ...more
Note: I won this ARC through First Reads.

Wow. After finishing The Obsidian Mirror last night, that is the only word my lips dare utter. Wow... My brain is still reeling from this fantastical work of fiction that left me breathless and wanting more.

I had never heard of Catherine Fisher prior to reading this book, but let me tell you...after finishing this novel, I will now become more familiar with her work. I have always enjoyed fantasy novels, but often I find that they generally overuse the
Apr 19, 2013 Nikki rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: arc
For the record, I'm big fan of Catherine Fisher's Incarceron . I really enjoyed that book, and I had high hopes that this new series-opener would live up to, and/or possibly be even better than, Incarceron.

Unfortunately... it didn't, and it wasn't. If I had to describe Obsidian Mirror in one word, it would be fractured. (Hah, get it? mirror, fractured... broken glass... ugh, bad mirror joke.)

In all seriousness, though, there was just too much going on. On the surface, the blend of real-world, f
What is so magical and fantastic about England and great big old houses? The Lion, the Witch, the Wardrobe. Harry Potter. Lord of the Rings. The magic that is common in each of these stories draws me like a moth to a flame. From enormous castles and decrepit abbeys I find myself wandering corridors, looking at talking paintings and gazing into dark enchanted mirrors. Obsidian Mirror is an astonishing adventure filled with this same magic.

The story focuses on an enchanted mirror that is the obses
Courtney Schafer
Wow. Beautifully written, highly imaginative, with sharply drawn characters and a twisty plot - this book is hands-down my favorite YA read of the year so far. I don't think I've ever felt jealous of an author before, but damn, I feel jealous now - if I ever wrote YA, this is exactly the sort of novel I'd want to write. Not in terms of details of story, but of brilliance of execution. I love the way Fisher creates and maintains a sense of mystery, not just with the events of the story, but with ...more
Jenny Zhang
2.5 stars

As a longtime fan of Catherine Fisher (ever since I first read The Oracle Betrayed seven years ago, I've been hooked), I'm quite disappointed in this book. Far too many elements crammed into one novel = messy storytelling, as intriguing as those individual elements (Shee, time travel, lost parents, djinn, etc.) may be. Also not impressed with the cast of characters. None of them are very sympathetic or well-developed beyond flat archetypes (brooding male protagonist, mysterious girl, st
Joanna Gawn
The Obsidian Mirror drew me in, entangled me within its web, and left me wanting more, much more - which is good, as it's part of a series!

The storytelling is imaginative and pacy. There is some truly beautiful imagery, in particular the atmosphere conjured by the whirling snow and the old Abbey, and the stars described as "a dusting of diamonds". There are quite a few phrases in this that I wish I'd crafted myself!

The Shee are chillingly wonderful, and I love the way some of the characters are
Melissa McShane
I read Catherine Fisher's books primarily for the outstanding atmosphere and settings. This book feels very cold, feels like winter. The story is something like Faerieland meets Victorian natural philosophy. Overall, very engaging, though by the end I wished I hadn't read it until the trilogy was complete (and yes, I did know it was the first of a series when I went into it). There are twists in the plot, characters who aren't who you think they are, and sometimes it's not clear who the villains ...more
The obsidian mirror can send people into the past, but it can't bring them back. A girl from the future wants to destroy it, an explorer wants to use it to change the past, and a grieving boy wants to find his vanished father. Catherine Fisher delivers another fantastic and absorbing novel. She deftly handles the various fascinating plot threads and creates a complex and complete novel. You don't always like the characters but you always want to know what will happen to them. The plot twists are ...more
Slow, confusing start but worth the payoff in the end.
Really interesting dark, contemporary YA fantasy novel. The magic is really rich and well-developed and rooted in a sense of place that reminded me a lot of the adult fantasy author Robert Holdstock.

Honestly, this would be a 5-star review except that I personally prefer books that are more emotionally immediate. This one was told from multiple 3rd-person POVs, and I felt slightly distanced from the characters even when reading their POV sections. However, the writing itself is great, and the mag
The Obsidian Mirror is about a mirror that allows the user to travel through time, often with dire consequences.
I personally found the book quite confusing at first. As the book progressed further, you would learn more of what was going on — the style of Catherine Fisher. Not to cast any disdain on the author, but this type of plot deployment is quite despicable. You don't understand a bloody thing in the beginning, but you don't want to put down the book in case something good comes from the
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Catherine Fisher was born in Newport, Wales. She graduated from the University of Wales with a degree in English and a fascination for myth and history. She has worked in education and archaeology and as a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Glamorgan. She is a Fellow of the Welsh Academy.

Catherine is an acclaimed poet and novelist, regularly lecturing and giving readings to groups o
More about Catherine Fisher...

Other Books in the Series

Chronoptika (4 books)
  • The Slanted Worlds (Chronoptika, #2)
  • The Door in the Moon (Chronoptika #3)
  • The Speed of Darkness (Chronoptika, #4)
Incarceron (Incarceron, #1) Sapphique (Incarceron, #2) The Dark City (Relic Master, #1) The Oracle Betrayed (The Oracle Prophecies, #1) The Lost Heiress (Relic Master, #2)

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