May's Reviews > The Water Mirror

The Water Mirror by Kai Meyer
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's review
Jun 20, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: fantasy

This might've been three, if I was in middle school.

Merle is an orphan who was chosen to be apprenticed to a mirror maker, in Venice. Her blind friend Junipa is chosen as well. Serafin is an ex-thief who is apprenticed to a tailor, but Serafin has little importance except in a small section of the book, so we're not sure why he's mentioned. In that small section, Merle and Serafin discover a plot to capture the Flowing Queen--a mysterious entity that has been protecting Venice from the invading Egyptians. And suddenly Merle is called upon to do heroic things, which she does remarkably slowly.

It's a neat idea--set in an alternate-universe-Venice, a world with mysterious magic and mythical creatures and war and magic mirrors and flying stone lions, a young girl is called upon to save the world. And maybe it was a good plot. I just couldn't tell, because of the writing. The writing is awkward, stilted, halting, and needlessly repetitive. It feels like it's written for a young audience, but then it goes and tries to be all prose-y, and use words like 'obstreperous' in order to reach an older audience. It wasn't until the last few chapters I realized there might be a plot in there somewhere, because the storyline was so meandering, and the characters so aimless. Sure, there were good elements: Mermaids with shark-like jaws, the mysterious Flowing Queen, a magical mirror mysteriously bestowed upon the main character, a master thief, stone lions. But they never seemed to actually fit together to create a real story. It was more like they were all just there, and the reader was given an overview of generic life in this other Venice.
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