Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - , , No comments

The Universal Mirror

Rating: 4.5 Stars
Version: eBook
Author: Gwen Perkins

GoodReads Summary:

On the island of Cercia, the gods are dead, killed by their followers and replaced with the study of magic. Magicians are forbidden to leave their homeland. Laws bind these men that prevent them from casting spells on the living-whether to harm or to heal. Quentin, a young nobleman, challenges these laws out of love for his wife. His best friend, Asahel, defies authority at his side, unaware that the search for this lost magic will bring them both to the edge of reason, threatening their very souls. The Universal Mirror shows how far two men are willing to go for the sake of knowledge and what they will destroy to obtain it


This was a very light, YA-fantasy read, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The story’s main characters are Asahel, Quentin, and Catherine (Quentin’s wife) and they are all native to Cercia. The town obeys the laws of a caste system, meaning that the civilization is divided by ranks of labor and power.

When it comes to the caste system, Asahel is a very complicated fit. He is born under a merchant family (one of the lowest ranks), but also possesses the ability of a magician (something that is reserved for the upper class). Being the misfit that he is, Asahel goes through a torturous university life, which sadly carries on into his adulthood. This is especially noticeable whenever Asahel finds himself around others. It seemed that he was always feeling incompetent and unsure of himself. It probably didn't help that his “best friend” Quentin, never allowed Asahel to visit his home, meet his wife, or even speak in public together to satisfy social standards. It can also be inferred that Asahel is extremely powerful. He has a much higher capacity of control and summoning power when it comes to magic than to any mentioned in the story.

Speaking of Quentin, he is an upper-class magician who was “bought” – as the book puts it – by his wife’s father.  Quentin’s family, though respected and powerful, ran out of money.  He operates under the assumption that Catherine hates him for the first half of the book and learns the truth towards the end (I won’t say what that truth is).  Asahel and Quentin’s friendship developed during their university years when Quentin ignored the social class and stuck up for Asahel. Yet, why that doesn’t extend to the present, I’m not too sure about.

I don't have much to say about Catherine, except that I don’t really understand why she acted the way she did.

I could also bring up Felix, but there’s not much to say about him either, besides the fact that he is a “friend” of Asahel. By friend, I mean that he never teased Asahel, but he also never came to his defense.

Now the rule within Cercia is that magic cannot be performed AT ALL on any human (living or nonliving). Also, magicians’ are not allowed to leave the island. The reasons for this are revealed in the book. If one were to violate these rules, the punishment would be either death or severing of the hands. The latter punishment can also be seen as death, because a magician controls magic solely by his hands. In fact, it’s revealed that most commit suicide after dismemberment.  You can now see the danger Quentin and Asahel face when I reveal that they are casting magic on dead bodies. However, they have a good reason to be doing so. Read the book and find out why!

There were a few twists that I didn't expect, and you’ll immediately know what I’m talking about when you read the book J. Something that is important, but I would like to mention, is that the name Cercia sounds pretty awesome.

Also, I do prejudge books by their cover's. This book I was very leery about, however if you're like me, don't let it fool you! It seriously surpassed all my expectations.


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