Share for friends:

The Mirror Of Her Dreams (2003)

The Mirror of Her Dreams (2003)

Book Info

3.89 of 5 Votes: 3
Your rating
0345459857 (ISBN13: 9780345459855)
del rey

About book The Mirror Of Her Dreams (2003)

Reviewed for THC ReviewsI first read The Mirror of Her Dreams probably close to twenty-five years ago, so when I picked it up for a re-read, I barely recalled anything about the story. As I read, some small things started to come back to me, but by and large, it was like reading it for the first time all over again. The thing I did remember was really liking the book the first time around, and while I did still enjoy it this time, I picked up on a few things that I would kind of consider flaws. This is most likely because back then, I took everything I read at face value, but now, after spending six years analyzing authors' writing in order to review books and becoming a published author myself, I tend to see these things a little differently. The main thing that kept the book from receiving a higher rating from me was that the pacing is pretty slow in places. This is especially true of the first half of the novel, which the author primarily uses for world-building and setting up the plot. During this time, there are a number of conversations in which a character tells Terisa rather long stories about the history of Mordant. The author can also be somewhat verbose at times, taking paragraphs to explain or describe certain things that probably could have been pared down a bit. It didn't help that I was extremely tired while reading a large part of it, and kept dozing off. Admittedly, that's mostly my own issue, but I couldn't help wondering if I would have had an easier time staying awake if there had been more action.What I do (and did) really love about the Mordant's Need duet is the basis for the fantasy elements. In the land of Mordant, mirrors are magical things that are meticulously crafted by Imagers to see other places within their own realm as well as into parallel worlds. Each mirror only shows one place, so there are many mirrors within Mordant. None of them, however, show a man's reflection, and if an Imager makes a flat mirror in which he can see himself, he'll go mad. They also sometimes use mirrors to augur the future. The whole mythology that surrounds the mirrors and Imagers and the Congery (the group of Imagers as a whole) is utterly fascinating and pretty unique, not something I've really read before, albeit admittedly, I haven't read that much fantasy fiction. The other thing that is quite well done is the political intrigue. While parts of this were sometimes what put me to sleep, I can't deny that Stephen Donaldson did a great job with keeping the reader on their toes. It's almost impossible to discern who can be trusted and who can't, because everyone is suspect to some degree. I think this helped play into the reader feeling Terisa's confusion. There is also the whole question of why the King isn't doing anything to save his own land. Is he going senile or is there something greater at play? Also we're given the sense that Terisa and Geraden are going to play a big role in saving Mordant, but what and how that might be is a mystery, as both of them seem like the most unlikely of saviors. All of this is what really kept me reading and made the story an enjoyable one.Terisa is a young woman from our own world who struggles daily with a sense that she is fading into nothingness. This is probably due to childhood abuse and being largely ignored by her wealthy parents. She now lives alone in a luxury apartment paid for by a father who didn't want her around anymore, while working a dull, dead-end job as a secretary for a charitable mission. Her apartment is filled with mirrors to prove to herself that she really does exist. One night Terisa has a strange dream in which she hears the trumpet of horns and a man saves her from three riders who seem bent on her destruction. The next day, Geraden steps through one of her many mirrors and all but begs her to return with him to his land. They need someone to save them from their enemies, and he believes she is their augured champion. Figuring she has nothing to lose, she goes with him and steps into a medieval-style word of castles and royalty, knights and Imagers. Geraden and some of the others believe Terisa may be a powerful Imager herself, because of the fact that Geraden found her in a room full of mirrors that reflected her image but didn't make her go mad. Of course, Terisa believes no such thing, and repeatedly tells them she is just an ordinary girl, not an Imager or the Champion they seek. I like Terisa, because she is sweet and unassuming. At the same time, I could get a little frustrated with her. Due to her past and her feelings of unreality, she's so uncertain of herself that she often behaves in a very passive way, making her an usual choice as the main POV character. Sometimes she knows what the correct response should be, but she can't stir herself to act, then her inaction has consequences of its own. This does get better as the story goes along though, and with each action she dares to take, I think she grows a little bit more confident in her abilities, or at least, she becomes invested in Mordant and the outcome of the impending war with its neighboring realms. I think what frustrated me most about Terisa though, was her willingness to give in to the seductions of a man who practically made my skin crawl with his oily, slimy air, when she had a great guy like Geraden who'd walk through broken glass for her. However, I can't deny that I understood on some level why she did, and thankfully it didn't go too far. This is another one of those areas where she had to slowly come to the realization on her own, which requires more of that action that is so unfamiliar to her, as well as a bit of patience from the reader.Geraden is disrespected by his peers for being bumbling and accident-prone, but he's sweet and charming with a heart of gold. He's also extremely determined. He's spent a decade trying to become an Imager, but has not yet been able to rise above the status of Apt (an apprentice). He's the oldest Apt in the Congery by a wide margin, and is known far and wide for his legendary screw-ups. That's why, when the Congery needed someone to step through a mirror and bring back their augured Champion, Geraden was the one chosen for his expendability. Of course, the person he brought back was far from what they'd seen in the mirror. This set off a debate over whether Geraden was the most powerful Imager ever known or if this was just another in a long line of major mistakes. What I liked most about Geraden was his unwavering belief in Terisa being the Champion even though it seems like she's just another one of his mishaps. He has a childlike faith in her, and I admire how he always follows his gut instincts even though he says they're usually wrong. I also adored him for how he behaves like a gentleman and treats Terisa with dignity and respect, like she's someone who matters even if she isn't the Champion. There are many in the Congery who believe that the people or creatures they find in their mirrors are of their own creation and therefore not real and can be used as they see fit, but Geraden believes otherwise.There are many standout secondary characters, really too many for me to name and each plays an important role in the story. I will mention that my favorites were Geraden's brother, Artegel, and the King's daughter, Myste. Artegel is a charming rogue who is known as the best swordsman in all of Mordant, while Myste is a hopeless romantic who cares a great deal about others. Both become good friends to Terisa and treat Geraden with respect when others don't. There is much to like about The Mirror of Her Dreams. As I mentioned before, there is plenty of court intrigue, nearly enough to rival Game of Thrones. There is also suspense as multiple attempts are made on both Geraden's and Terisa's lives, leading the other characters and the reader to wonder what might be so special about these seemingly ordinary people that would cause murderous enemies to rise up against them. The magical element is complex, fascinating, and well thought out. Terisa may not be the most compelling POV character I've ever read, especially considering that she carried virtually the entire book herself, but I did enjoy watching her slowly grow to start making some decisions and taking action. Sometimes I wanted Geraden's perspective, but I guess it made sense that the character who was most unfamiliar with this mysterious land would be the one to observe as things unfold. It makes the reader feel almost as confused as Terisa does as she learns what's going on and often finds more questions than answers. There's a touch of romance as well. Although definitely not enough to call this a romance, it was just enough to give this romance enthusiast a relationship to root for. Even if it was a bit slow-paced at times, overall, The Mirror of Her Dreams was an enjoyable read, which has left me looking forward to re-reading the sequel, A Man Ride Through. The Mirror of Her Dreams has a cliff-hanger ending, so readers will definitely want to have the second book on their TBR pile before finishing this one.

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 fairly obviously such to the reader and many of the ~revelations~ re: characters' motivations not so much deep as (to jack a joke from Bob's Burgers) deeply dumb, BUT YO: TERISA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW. TERISA. Terisa, I LOVE YOUWhat elevates this book from a three or even two star rating/the horrors of mediocrity for me is that so much of it is bound up in the emotional and personal growth of the heroine and main POV character, Terisa. She begins the book trapped in habitual passivity, a lifestyle encouraged by years of neglect and outright abuse on the part of her parents, so much so that even in a dream (that, as this is That Sort of Fantasy Novel, proves somewhat prophetic) she cannot act in her own defense; by the end, it is Terisa who drives most of the positive action, Terisa who does so purposely and with narrative agency - Terisa who argues on Geraden's behalf, Terisa who confronts people of power, who comprehends and acts to counteract plots others have not understood, Terisa who is seen as a threat by our obvious bad guys not because of what she might be but for what she is. And when her prophetic dream becomes a reality well into the book, it is not Terisa who must be saved: it is Terisa who saves Geraden. So, dang, yes, I am just so excited and so happy that this book is what it is with regards to Terisa, that the subject of her agency is the propelling force at the heart of this book.Tying into that: I hate Eremis a LOT, so so so much, I don't often hate anyone or anything, but I definitely hate this guy and if he doesn't kick it in the next book I'm gonna be so fricking mad. Dude is a burgeoning rapist - he definitely assaults Terisa - and while it's a difficult subplot and one I did not really enjoy in the sense of YEAH, THIS IS THE SHIT I LIKE, I did appreciate how Terisa's understanding of and reactions to Eremis' advances on her evolved. That is: Eremis repeatedly takes great advantage of Terisa, touching her, kissing her, assuming control of her body in ways that are enormously disrespectful and alarming even before he purposefully ignores her rejection, and for much of the book Terisa, having been educated by her parents to accept the attentions of others without commentary, does latch on to him, thinking that Eremis will define her and that the liberties he takes are things she wants even when she is uncomfortable - but as she becomes more cognizant of her own identity and capabilities, she recognizes her discomfort, she recognizes what he is doing and trying to do to her, and she rejects him. And again, I don't like this subplot, it wasn't necessary and there were many other ways in which Donaldson could have achieved the same effect without utilizing sexual violence, but I can appreciate how it ties into Terisa's growth.Geraden, btw, the dude hero, is WONDERFUL, like, he is a total beta man, he's repeatedly described as being puppyish - eager and kind and thoughtful - and while he totally loves Terisa, like, a LOT, like from first sight, dude is totally like Aladdin spotting Jasmine in the marketplace all WOW [sighs wistfully], he never once forces his feelings on her. While he dislikes Eremis' role as a suitor it is framed as a dislike based not in jealousy so much as a genuine concern that Eremis is dangerous. Like - how to explain it? He's not selfish. It's just really nice, how sweet he is, how he encourages and supports Terisa, how he is everything Eremis and the sorts of male leads Eremis represents are not. He's respectful. He's protective without being possessive. He listens to her; he cares for her and about her. His love is not a demand, but a gift. Yeah.SOME OTHER STUFF!!!!! I'm going to be honest, a lot of the political machinations in this book were a) rote or b) kind of juvenile, and many of the supporting characters do very silly things. Saddith, Terisa's maid, is consistently slut-shamed and the ~tragicomically mad~ Adept Havelock's unending sexual commentary is hella gross and hella unwanted, BUT I also loved Myste and Elega, the princesses, very different in temperament and want but neither of them shamed or punished for their decisions. I'm very excited for what roles Myste and Elega will play in the second book, and I do hope they have roles to play. But I'm most excited for Terisa and Geraden!!!!!!!!!

Do You like book The Mirror Of Her Dreams (2003)?

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 build an "us" that is far greater than the sum of each "me."
—Joan Podleski

Main character too frustrating and not entirely credibleI 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 point of being unrealistic. Her obsession with Eremis, an older, unattractive and arrogant man, was weird and unnatural in light of the fact that there was a super-nice, handsome young man hanging about who was obviously in love with her. Her ridiculous whining about "how will I know I'm real unless I have sex and no one will have sex with me except Eremis" was pitiful. Like she couldn't have figured out that Geraden might possibly be interested. Yeah right. I felt like I was reading the thinly-disguised and slightly perverted fantasies of a middle-age man who wants to pretend that teenage virgins still desire him.I realize many of you will mark me as unhelpful for that. Oh well! Sorry!King Joyse's behavior was about the stupidest and most frustrating I've ever read. That logic just doesn't hold up.I did enjoy the mirror ploy, with its accompanying philosophical "what's real" questions, that was clever.

I really enjoyed the feel the prologue gave to the whole book. Several of the characters were week and frustrating, but the teased curse in the prologue made it excusable.This was a book club book and I didn't do my due diligence to realize before the last 20 pages this was a duology, which gave out a very sudden and unsatisfying ending. After I read the 2nd book I may come back a chance my star rating. Up if it wraps up many of the mysteries the 1st book has me invested in our down if it doesn't pay off I the end. Stay tuned...Final verdict: Not everything paid off as much as I would have liked, but still comfortable leaving this at 3 stars.

download or read online

Read Online

Write Review

(Review will shown on site after approval)

Other books by author Stephen R. Donaldson

Other books in series mordant's need

Other books in category Fiction