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Mirrorscape 02/17/11

cover art

Mirrorscape by Mike Wilks has a gorgeous cover and an intriguing premise. There's an artistic and magical battle going on between the Fifth Mystery (the artist's guild) and the Rainbow Rebellion, a strange but colorful underground society that wants to expose the corruption that runs rampant through the Mysteries and the very core of Vlam.

The book starts off strongly with Melkin Womper being apprenticed by Ambrosius Blenk, a master of the Fifth Mystery. He's sent to the capitol city to begin his work, able to finally be an artist without worries of repercussions for not being able to pay for the necessary licensing (or Pleasure as it is called).

Once at his apprenticeship the story loses its momentum. Mel is given menial tasks to perform which of course he doesn't want to do. These chores could have been a great way to further introduce us to Mel's world and to life in the capitol. It should have been a chance to discuss the mores of Mel's society.

But it isn't. It's the excuse to introduce Mel to the bullies of the school and to railroad him to point where he discovers the true power behind artwork the Fifth Mystery masters create. The bullying felt forced and really took me out of the world.

Finally, with all the descriptions of the artwork and the fascinating world of Vlam and given the author's illustration background, Mirrorscape needs to be a graphic novel. The illustrations would give Wilks a chance to show his world without bogging down the plot. If there ever is a graphic novel version, I would love to give Mirrorscape a second chance.

Two stars

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