RogerBW's Blog

The Mirror Prince, Violette Malan 28 July 2022

Max Ravenhill is a history professor, or so he thinks: but then a strange woman tells him that he's really an exile from the lands of the Fae…

Yes, well, everything I've read by Malan does go over well-trodden ground. But rather than just crank out another genre fantasy book, she always manages to make things interesting. Max's whole life is a false memory, the latest of many sets he's had over the thousand years he's been on Earth, and he's reasonably worried that if his "real" memories are restored the "him" that's living now may well cease to exist. (And various allies of the man he was are surprised that he isn't all in favour of that.) This is the sort of thing I want, if a standard idea is being used: dig into it, look at the implications, make it a part of the story rather than just pasting it into the background to remind us that this is a fantasy.

Similarly, there's an evil prince who's in charge… though while one couldn't call him a good guy, he does at least have a consistent mental landscape, a set of reasons for doing the things he does.

There are armour and weapons crafted from the user's own blood, which work superbly for them and not at all for anyone else. There are various sorts of Fae beasts and people (and the dividing line isn't universally agreed), and no humans, though the Fae look close enough to them that this has implications about Earth. There are various shapes of magic, though nobody seems to know as much about it as they'd like. Yes, there are also Significant Capitals; and it's probably fair to say that this isn't as good overall as the Dhulyn and Parno books that were the reason I started to read Malan. But there's a lot more here than one might assume.

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