The Mirror of Her Dreams
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The Mirror of Her Dreams (Mordant's Need #1)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  7,886 ratings  ·  238 reviews
With The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Stephen R. Donaldson changed the face of fantasy fiction forever. In The Mirror of Her Dreams, the astonishing first novel in the two-volume Mordant’s Need series, Donaldson shows us a world of wondrous beauty and seductive illusion, where mirrors hold the deadliest of magics and nothing is what it seems. . . .

The daughter of rich bu...more
Paperback, 656 pages
Published June 3rd 2003 by Del Rey (first published 1986)
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Main character too frustrating and not entirely credible

I was disappointed and even slightly disgusted by "The Mirror of Her Dreams" and its sequel, "A Man Rides Through."

SPOILER ALERT! I don't give away the end or even the middle, but still a bit of a SPOILER...

My biggest complaint was that this was too obviously a middle-aged male author's botched attempt at portraying a young female protagonist (Terisa). Terisa's thoughts and motivations were heavily-influenced by MALE psyche and ego to the p...more
Unlike his Thomas Covenant, this duology is one of my favorites. I really love the characters, and the story is really interesting and well-told.
Jul 21, 2009 Lynne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fantasy fans
Recommended to Lynne by: Husband
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
Every three years or so, I go back and read these two books. Terisa Morgan is a rich girl living in a high-rise in NYC when a handsome young man from an alternate reality stumbles into her apartment through one of her mirrors. His home is in danger; he was headed somewhere else to pick up a champion with armor and weapons and ended up in Terisa's apartment instead.

You see, in his world, mirrors are portals to other worlds. "Imagers" do research and create these mirrors. One Imager creates a mir...more

Edited: Dear Stephen R Donaldson-- Write shorter books!!
heh- This book happens to be part one of two. No part of the book actually mentions it, not the dust cover, nor the title page, nor any other decent location. You realize that this is a two booker series when you get to about thirty pages before the end, realize that all of the threads he has opened can't possibly finish by the end of those thirty pages and scream in frustration because 'damn it! it was getting really good'.

Donaldson seems...more
A.J. Maguire
I chose this book because the author was said to have redefined the Fantasy genre ... and since I write fantasies, I thought it a good idea to check this one out.

While the world was compelling and the plot was interesting, I could not get over my dislike for the main character. Teresa was weird at first, and her sense of detachment to the world was a little sympathetic -- but I stress "at first." As the plot continued forward, I grew to hate her. Midway through the book, I wanted to bash my hea...more
In a word: Boring. Prolix.

In two words: glacial plotting. Unsympathetic characters.

In five words: Pathetic, colorless, wimpy uninteresting heroine.

I'm 1/3 of the way through listening to this (9 hours or so!!) and I'm thinking of quitting. Maybe I'll read it so I can skim. God he's wordy and keeps saying the same thing over and over and over again (maybe I don't exist, my father didn't love me). Boohoo. Hullo? We get it!!

Mostly, I want to slap the heroine. And the king. Or kill them both so the...more
One of the most problematic reads I have ever picked up. It ended up in my trash can. Never. Again.
Nov 21, 2011 Jam rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: fantasy
The book is well-written, and some parts are actually enjoyable, but I only gave it one star because half of the book focused on a character which I found to be absolutely irritating. Halfway into it, I was prepared to throw it away. I found the character to be that annoying. But, I didn't throw it away. Instead, I skipped all the way to the end, and found out that this character, Terisa Morgan, doesn't get any better. She stays almost as weak and stupid as she was at the start of the novel, onl...more
It's been a while since I read this book. Stephen Donaldson has a way of creating thoroughly dislikeable lead characters. I found the same with his Thomas Covenant series, where I was getting increasingly annoyed with Thomas' whining and poor action. This book is much the same in that regard as Terisa's self-involved ignorance gave me, to put it crudely, the shits. There were so many instances in which even a young child would have thought 'hang on a sec, this doesn't seem right' and yet she is...more
I first read this book about 15 years ago and it's still one of my top favorite fantasy novels today. When the book opens Terisa Morgan is a beautiful girl, living in a busy city but she feels cut off from the rest of humanity. She has no close friends, no family that really care about her, no ties to anyone- and that lack has left a deep impression on her. It's gotten so bad that Terisa has covered her entire apartment in mirrors and she spends hours sitting in front of them, trying to prove to...more
OTP GAME TOO REAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't know why I had so much trouble with this last year, unless perhaps I was so repelled by Master Eremis that I just ollied right out (to my past self: that's fair. Dude is 500% ollie-worthy), as this time around I just about blasted through it. Truth be told this is fairly standard swords-and-sorcery fantasy with thinly sketched supporting characters and a great deal of emphasis on the usual Fake Europe Fantasyland political machinations with the bad guys fai...more
This is one of my favourite two-part series, which is interesting because the main character is not really that likeable of a person. She's indecisive, easily pushed around and a bit of a whiner. That being said, it makes sense that she is these things because of the way she was raised and for some reason, it made me want to see her come into her own.

I think it's the universe that is the most interesting to me. To be able to travel between worlds via mirrors was something I always pretended was...more
Joanne G.
I know the author wanted to show the reader the progression of a timid girl into a strong, fierce woman, but the protagonist started out so insipid and cowardly, she irritated me constantly. I made myself read the sequel--it is a two-part story--and it was a more enjoyable read once the heroine got a backbone. However, Donaldson uses too many similes and metaphors for my taste. He also has a low regard for his readers' ability to figure anything out, so everything is explained in excruciating de...more
Lisa Seaman
I loved this 2 book series. As always, the main requirement of crisp well-defined characters has been met. The storyline is unique (to me) and I totally relate to the main character, which as I have read in other reviews totally irritates many of the other readers... explains alot on other peoples irritation for me through the years (I guess). (I also relate to her counterpart lead character) But yet I totally understand the feeling of invisibility... the struggle... the feeling of having valuab...more
Lasairfiona Smith
Aug 31, 2007 Lasairfiona Smith rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Meh
My god this book draaaaags. It is an interesting story about a girl who ends up in another world and has to deal with that world and all of its intrigue but boy does it need a good editor. It isn't that he goes into too much detail about the world. The problem is that there is so much detail about every little decision that the main character makes. Actually, a different heroine would be good too. She is just so dense you want to scream at the book. "NO! Don't do that! What are you doing? How mu...more
I keep reading Donaldson's books, hoping he will eventually write a "protagonist" character I don't hate. I mean, really hate. There's no doubt Donaldson is a good author; no other writer in my memory has ever made me hate their characters like Donaldson does. This book is no different; as others have mentioned, the primary starts out so weak, so spineless and cowardly, I can generate zero empathy for her. It's true genius how Donaldson keeps writing about such winning personalities over all the...more
Mike (the Paladin)
You may have read my reviews of Mr. Donaldson's Thomas Covenant books. I felt trapped in them....his life is crap attitude and the constant "woe is me" attitude drove me crazy. A friend recommended these to me and I mentioned how I felt about the Covenant books. She assured me that these were different...I open the book..and the main character started "woe is me". Enough. If you like it, I'm happy for you.
Megan Lillian
Subtle is a good description of this book. It has an almost Alice in Wonderland quality, with more time spent being lost in the main character's confusion than lost in the unfamiliar customs and creatures of an alternate world. Although complex, and at times bogged down with its own intricate details, this book was very well-crafted. Context clues leave no room for last moment twists and yet somehow the suspense still remains. It's like the proverbial train-wreck you can see coming a mile off an...more
Just Emily
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Donaldson has an almost poignant ability to make you hate characters if he so desires. This book gave me a hard time. Despite enjoying the environment, immersive prose, and the interesting takes on magic and power struggles this book can feel like an uphill ordeal. As a result, despite this author being one of my absolute favorites, I couldn't stick with this novel all the way through on two separate attempts. Determination to find out what happens set me trudging through to the end though.

The s...more
After 11/22/63, I needed a palate cleanser. Something I didn't have to worry about too much. This book--which I first read back in junior high or high school--fit the bill perfectly. It's a fat, fluffy, fantasy novel and you know it's all going to come right in the end.

What I didn't remember (this is a recurring theme with books I revisit as an adult) is quite how sexist the whole thing was. I'm not going to complain about Terisa's passivity; he made a good case for why she is the way she is, a...more
Trixie Vardon
NO spoilers. (July, 2012)

This is my 'go to' duology. When I'm feeling blue, or need a pick-me-up, I pull out these two novels. I have no idea how many times I have read them, but I have read them a lot.

I have no idea why, as it's not the most uplifting of stories, but then perhaps it's the fight for good, or something along those lines? I'm not too sure, and I don't really want to analyze it. Suffice to say, that I've had the series for two decades now (ick, that long? Where DOES the time go?),...more
A great story ruined by lots of unecessary salacious crap. It's like he thought no one would read the story unless there were vast amounts of abuse, sexual and otherwise, heaped on the womenfolk.

A common theme in his works unfortunately. I don't object per se, it's more that it was so totally unecessary to have the blow by blow descriptions, and not at all relevant to moving the story along. The story about the mirrors was engaging enough.

I read this and the next one directly after each other,...more
Donaldson's 2-part Mordant's Need series has the same basic scenario as the Thomas Covenant - modern American is translated to a fantasy kingdom whereupon she learns that she has hidden magical talents that will solve everything if she can only learn how to master them. I suspect that these books were a bit of a quicky for Donaldson. But at least in this one he has made the rapist (he does have a thing for them, doesn't he?) the bad guy. These take a long time to get anywhere, but once they got...more
Joan Podleski
This 2 book story is my favorite fantasy novel of all time. I reread it every couple of years. While it's obviously well written, because Donaldson never puts out a book that isn't, I think it's the core of each character that moves me the most. Each recognizes their imperfections, doubts their strength, but just keeps moving forward and accomplishing more than they thought possible. And while recognizing their own weaknesses, they also recognize the strengths in each other and band together to...more
The main character, Terisa, is very annoying for the first half to three-quarters of this book, because she is indecisive and doubts her own existence. That character trait in itself may have been bearable, but we are reminded of it every few sentences, and it quickly wearies the reader. Not surprising really, since it comes from the author of the Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever series, but at least in this series, the hero finally recognizes she has power and starts to use it. Things pick up nea...more
Jackie Gamber
The best kinds of books—like the best kinds of teas—are the ones able to be savored over and over again, without losing their magic. "The Mirror of her Dreams" is this kind of book for me.

Just like St. Paul's London Breakfast Tea, my BookTasting companion to Donaldson's novel. Together, it's poetry in notion.

Find the full review here:
Kathy (Kindle-aholic)
I read this in the late 80s, maybe early 1990. I remember this book becuause I read it even though I wasn't "supposed to" (parents had decreed it had too much sex, which meant of course, I had to read it).

The magic system was pretty cool, and I liked the use of mirrors (I still remember most of it). The main character bugged me. She had quite a few "too stupid to live" moments as I recall.

I'm giving it 3 stars because although I remember it even after all of this time, I remember enough that I...more
I wanted to like this book. It's difficult to a like a book when you can't get interested in the main character. She spends the majority of the first book trying not to "fade" and gain a personality. That, and knowing who the antagonist was within the first little bit of the book, when it seemed no one else did, was frustrating.

The story idea was interesting enough, however, that I am reading the second book now (that and the girl finally started getting a personality). Hopefully I like it and d...more
Erin Nizolak
This book was definitely an exercise in frustration. While I appreciate flawed characters as much as the next girl, I was constantly yelling at this book's protagonists for their frustrating, idiotic decision. While I found Terisa, the narrator, interesting and likable enough, her terrible judgment drove me to distraction! If a character is going to befriend someone who will betray them, especially when the book is from their own perspective, I want to believe in the character and be surprised b...more
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What's The Name o...: Rather thick Fantasy novel from the 80's [s] 8 45 Aug 24, 2013 08:35AM  
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Stephen Reeder Donaldson is an American fantasy, science fiction and mystery novelist. He earned his bachelor's degree from The College of Wooster and master's degree from Kent State University. He currently resides in New Mexico.

Stephen R. Donaldson was born on the 13th May 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio. His father, James, was a medical missionary and his mother, Ruth, a prosthetist (a person skilled i...more
More about Stephen R. Donaldson...
Lord Foul's Bane (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, #1) The Illearth War (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, #2) The Power That Preserves (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, #3) White Gold Wielder (The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, #3) The Wounded Land (The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, #1)

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“The story of Terisa and Geraden began very much like a fable. She was a princess in a high tower. He was a hero come to rescue her. She was the only daughter of wealth and power. He was the seventh son of the lord of the seventh Care. She was beautiful from the auburn hair that crowned her head to the tips of her white toes. He was handsome and courageous. She was held prisoner by enchantment. He was a fearless breaker of enchantments.

As in all the fables, they were made for each other.”
“He was too many things at once - a boy, a man, and everything in between - and the differing parts of himself seldom came into balance. She found him attractive in that way. Yet the perception saddened her: she herself wasn't too many things, but too few.” 3 likes
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