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The Dark Mirror (The Bridei Chronicles #1)

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,168 Ratings  ·  392 Reviews
THE DARK MIRROR is the first book in Juliet Marillier's Bridei Chronicles.

Bridei is a young nobleman fostered at the home of Broichan, one of the most powerful druids in the land. His earliest memories are not of hearth and kin but of this dark stranger who while not unkind is mysterious in his ways. The tasks that he sets Bridei appear to have one goal-to make him a ves
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by St. Martin's Press (first published September 1st 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
I rounding my rating up to a 3, but only because it's Marillier.

I'm a huge fan of her Sevenwaters trilogy; after reading the reviews, I ended up buying The Dark Mirror used. I agree with a lot of what has been said here: this book may not be bad as far as general fantasy is concerned, but for Marillier it's lackluster. Worth reading if you're a fan, but not her best effort.

The Dark Mirror, written in third person, mostly follows Bridei, the hero. There is a "heroine," Tuala, but her entire lif
Admittedly, I have not read many epic fantasies so I have very few works to compare The Dark Mirror to (I’m fairly certain this would constitute as an epic fantasy). I was worried when I began that I was not going to like the book but I stuck it out and am glad that I did. Once involved in the story I truly enjoyed it and it had absolutely no problems holding my attention. The reader is introduced to the characters and the world in such a way that it is easy to understand the complexities of the ...more
Oct 27, 2015 Paige rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
~4 and a half stars~ (I can't go any lower for a Marillier book)

This review and more at
Before even starting this book, I knew I would like it. It's written by one of my favorite authors - one that never lets me down. It's another amazing tale of twisted fate and Otherworld influences. I loved the two main characters, Bridei and Tuala (although Tuala kept reminding me of Sorcha, my favorite Marillier character from Daughter of the Forest). Bridei is courageous a
Mira, a escriba
Aug 10, 2012 Mira, a escriba rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Durante a viagem da vida, há coisas que mudam, outras que perdurarão…

Após a leitura dos três primeiros livros de Sevenwaters e “Sangue-do-coração”, ansiava perdidamente para que Agosto chegasse. Como tradição desde 2008, em todos os verões leio um livro de Juliet Marillier. E este ano não poderia ser excepção! Com “Espelho negro” inicio uma nova série desta minha escritora favorita: “ As Crónicas de Bridei”.
Estava com receio que a inevitável adoração que nutro sempre pudesse influenciar a minha
Esta revisão mete nojo. Tuala consegue ter três nomes diferentes, Bridei às vezes é Britei conforme a disposição e milhentos outros erros acompanham a história, ARRUINANDO-A. Mais uma vez, a falta de profissionalismo nas edições portuguesas a estragar uma história tão bonita. Depois queixam-se que não têm mercado. Claro, eu como leitora, prefiro mil vezes ir comprar o original do que pagar horrores por edições portuguesas de terrível qualidade. Por isso, editoras portuguesas... tenham vergonha n ...more
The Dark Mirror is a strange read. It's artistic, it's artsy, it's character-strong and character-weak... Early on I thought I might give it 4 stars, but now I can't bring myself to give it 3...

Pros: Prose; lots of nice prose, though not amazing. The supporting characters offer a lot to the book as well, with a variety of interesting and unique personalities. The plotting varies, sometimes moving very quickly and sometimes quite slowly, but it is mostly strong and compelling.

Cons: Very weak main
May 19, 2008 Charlotte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pagans and Picts
Shelves: fantasy
This was my first read by Juliet Marillier and I found it captivating. Bridei and Tuala were easy to like and identify with. I especially appreciated Tuala's struggle with finding her place as a woman in this society. In fact, the theme of a woman's role and the pagan vs. christian religions reminded me of The Mists of Avalon (one of my all-time favorites).

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Marillier's descriptions of the scenery, gods, pagan ceremonies, etc. Usually I get bored by that kind
Jan 10, 2014 Sandrus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was thinking of giving this 3 stars as it was too slow but I did really enjoy the last chapters (opening interesting options for what might come next) so I am giving it 4 stars.
Amelia, the pragmatic idealist
Okay, I *love* this book!!! like, incredibly love it!!!
Excellent blend of history and fantasy in a quite unique timeperiod: writing about the 6th century Picts is no easy feat, since most of their culture has been lost. I will caution that this is a very "wordy" book: Juliet Marillier is very good about drawing readers into her story through vividly descriptive passages. In other words, she spends a lot of time, I think, on details, and sometimes that can seem overwhelming. Fact and fiction may
Feb 22, 2010 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Midwinter Eve, a devoted, lonely boy finds a baby, left on his foster father’s doorstep by moonlight tucked in a soft, down basket. Raised strongly on Druidic belief; Bridei promises the Shining One to be this child’s protector, knowing too well how the folk of a Druidic household will take to a baby, clearly left by the Good Folk (Realm of Fey).

554 AD Bridei, King of the Picts (Priteni) led his people against the Gaels of Dalriada; this story was so deftly told, I kept forgetting that it was ba
This took me a ridiculous amount of time to finish considering I had Spring break. This wasn't because the book was difficult or boring. It was well-written and moved at a good pace. Bridei was nicely developed (though I do have some difficulty imagining a 5 year old with his maturity) and likeable. He was not unnecessarily described to be toughest and the best of the lot, he was just the most worthy to become king. Tuala was the other protagonist, described to be selfless, loyal and true. She i ...more
Sep 04, 2010 Larissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Bridei's destiny is to one day become king, the druid Broichan and his secret council have worked hard towards this even before Bridei was born. They planned every step and every aspect of Bridei's life, save one.

Tuala was a gift from the gods, a daughter of the goddess and a child of the Good Folk. She and Bridei grew up together, much to Broichan's dismay, but even he would not turn his back on what was seen to be the will of the gods. But neither would he trust her, especially with Bridei.

This is a good book. The writing is fairly good, the world well researched and evocative, the action well paced, and the story resolves well emotionally while leaving the larger plot open for the next two novels. Its main flaw is that it seems so terribly familiar. It is an imaginative chronicling of Bridei, son of Maelchon, who ruled the Picts in Scotland in the 11th century, but it could be any number of historical fantasy novels. There is the requisite young boy destined for greatness; his di ...more
Oct 13, 2011 Emiiva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
I always wanted to read this book series, but somehow the story about the growing up of a druid's foster son and the strange little girl he finds one morning on his doorstep did not seem interesting enough to me.
After the first few sentences I was completely captured by this book and the story.
I really enjoyed the point of view, which made it possible to be everywhere from time to time, looking into Bridei's thoughts as well as Tuala's, and even some of the Good Folk.
Also, I usually do not reall
Mar 12, 2008 Karin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
The Bridei chronicles have been a wonderful series. I can't wait until the next one is releases in the US. One thing I have always been impressed about in Marillier's work is her absolute shamelessness in making religion a huge part of her storyline. The bridei Chronicles are an amazing example of this. Of course, the religion is pagan, and they are battling the Christians, but they are very tireless in their worship. It's a nice change from author's who refuse to even acknowledge how important ...more
Emmeline (The Book Herald)
Dear Juliet Marillier,


For this story.

And I:


This story was epic. I swear, I think I've nearly read every single on of Marillier's books and each of them I loved.

This one was so filled with action, with intrigue and with ancient religious practices (some that was severely creepy to me!)

The romance was sweet, i swear Marillier is a form of 'word-wizard' she just draws you into her tales dashed with mesmerizing intrigues and bittersweet conflicts!

She makes the characters so loveable!

We begin th
Oct 09, 2015 Patrícia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, favorites
Apenas uma coisa a apontar: esta edição quase me tirou do sério devido à quantidade de erros nos nomes das personagens.
Nov 22, 2015 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite a very slow start (it took me some months so get through it) I ended up really enjoying this. I shipped it.
The Dark Mirror had many of the elements I love in a fantasy book: lush otherworldly scenery, a variety of interesting characters, and a plot I was able to easily follow and get invested in. There were the special touches that Marillier novels bring as well: a touch of Celtic elements, the characters and lore that flit across the tenuous borders of the Otherworld and a quest/challenge that will test the relationship between key characters. I very much enjoyed the book and would highly recommend ...more
I read this a long time ago, but for some reason could not remember what it was about (you know how it is) and so I read it again, because I wanted to read the next two books in the series. I actually found out, I have read the next one, but didn't know it until I saw the name Faolan in The Dark Mirror. But I don't know if I 've read the third one, so I'll continue in my re-reading journey-it's always worth it with Juliet Marillier.And this is saying a lot for me, because I don't ever re-read bo ...more
Janne Varvára
Apr 19, 2013 Janne Varvára rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
When first I started reading this book, and encountering it at the local fantasy bookstore, I told my boyfriend "oh, this is sooo beautiful!". Then, a while later, I actually had to put the book away, due to the fact that I couldn't handle it.

The Dark Mirror tells the story of the childhood and youth of Bridei, his learning in a Druid's household, his strong relationship with his foster sister, and his molding for kingship.

The most prominent themes of this novel is power and control. How one cla
Juliet Marillier é um dos nomes possantes do Fantástico. Considerada a herdeira de Marion Zimmer Bradley, a neo-zelandesa conquistou milhares de fãs em todo o mundo com a aclamada e amada trilogia Sevenwaters. Conhecida pelas suas histórias, pelas suas protagonistas, a escritora desenhou mundos que fazem parte do imaginário de todos os que já tiveram o prazer de a ler e é considerada por muitos como insubstituível.
Mas não só Sevenwaters apaixonou os seus leitores. As Crónicas de Bridei é conside
Jul 22, 2012 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Quick mini-review:

I read The Dark Mirror by Juliet Marillier as part of a buddy read. The goal was to read a few chapters at a time and then discuss. Yeah, I got a little into the book and kind of finished it in about two days. Oops. Like every other book she has written, this one was awesome. I will say that it did take me a little longer to get into this one than her others, but once I was into it, I was hooked and had to keep reading to find out what happened to all the characters. Bridei an
This book is very long, very wordy, and very descriptive - at times, it was a little too distracting. I would stop paying attention to what I was reading and my mind would drift to other random thoughts.

However, the book was fantastic. I loved it. The character development was perfect. I loved how the book started with Bridei as a child and with Tuala, falling in close behind, as a baby. I loved seeing them grow up together; becoming playmates, friends, and then, sweethearts. I hate how much the
Aug 04, 2015 Michelle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sandy Lender
Jul 11, 2009 Sandy Lender rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy readers, history fans
Excellent Fantasy Story

When Bridei arrives at Pitnochie as a four-year-old, Juliet Marillier lets the reader see the unsure thoughts of the druid Broichan who will mentor and educate him. We get to wonder if this little child will be able to handle all that Broichan has planned for him. And the mystery just keeps piling on from there. Marillier reveals little pieces of the puzzle as the story unfolds, as Bridei takes lessons in magic, in history, in battle, in strategy, etc. Marillier lets Bride
Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms)
I love Juliet Marillier's books and kept comparing this one to her others. This is a complex story of 6th century Scotland, and Marillier brings it alive beautifully. I love learning about the Druids and the old religion and life in that era. This story is a tale of a a boy who is, unknown to him, destined to be King and a clandestine group with a plan to span 15 years of preparing him. At the same time the beings of the Otherworld have their own plan with the same goal but with many twists and ...more
Jan 25, 2010 Holly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Bridei is only 4 years old when he arrives at Pitnochie, his new home with foster father Briochan, a druid of power and influence in the kingdom of Fortriu. Although there's little time for play, Bridei comes to love his sheltered, disciplined upbringing. He knows he's been uprooted from his family and specially tutored for a purpose, but he's not sure what, and he will learn nothing from calculating Briochan. But Briochan will learn quickly that not everything is under his control when Bridei, ...more
Dec 15, 2009 Eileen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unlike the Sevenwaters trilogy, which I tore through in about 2 weeks, this book was less gripping. I could easily read a chapter, set it down and go about my business, without needing to know what happened next. I think it was because it had a lot more politics, war and intrigue than the others, which interest me less. I skipped entire paragraphs at times because I couldn't even be bothered. I liked the Tuala character, and felt for her along the way but would be hard pressed to describe Bridei ...more
Dec 21, 2009 Kelley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is not altogether a heinous attempt at historical/fantasy fiction... but it's not an amazing success at one, either. It is obviously meticulously mapped in terms of plot, but character development was oddly disjointed. Some of the action didn't make sense at all and could have been dispensed with, I think. Although the grammar and actual writing was better than average, some of Ms Marillier's word choices were inappropriate, usually in their historical connotations. She obviously paid atten ...more
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what to after this trilogy or just after Julliet Marillier in general 3 16 Jul 22, 2014 09:36PM  
Admirers of Julie...: The Dark Mirror Buddy Read 41 28 Jul 30, 2012 07:25AM  
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Juliet Marillier was born July 27, 1948 in Dunedin, New Zealand and grew up surrounded by Celtic music and stories. Her own Celtic-Gaelic roots inspired her to write her first series, the Sevenwaters Trilogy. Juliet was educated at the University of Otago, where she majored in music and languages, graduating BA and a B Mus (Hons). Her lifelong interest in history, folklore and mythology has had a ...more
More about Juliet Marillier...

Other Books in the Series

The Bridei Chronicles (3 books)
  • Blade of Fortriu (The Bridei Chronicles, #2)
  • The Well of Shades (The Bridei Chronicles, #3)

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“His thoughts inhabit a different plane from those of ordinary men; the simplest interpretation of that is to call him crazy.” 15 likes
“There was so much of beauty here: the neat, small tracks of a foraging creature, stoat or marten; the inticate tracery of a skeleton leaf, still clinging vainly to its parent tree as, little by little, time stripped it of its substance, leaving only the delicate remembrance of what it had been.” 6 likes
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