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The Mirror by Natalia Lincoln
Cover Artist: Evi Numen
Review by Harriet Klausner
Space and Time Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780917053153
Date: 28 September 2007 List Price $19.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

In New York City, Mari meets Tom at an East Village poetry reading. They talk and she ultimately explains to him that she refuses to die for love; she prefers to be alone. He insists she is not built to be a recluse. They begin seeing one another although he keeps Italianating her Romanian name. Three months later when she fails to call him for a few days, he warns her that dumping him is suicide.

Miercurea the ancient vampire lives in a dank, dingy Manhattan tenement building basement. At times he muses his dump smells older than he is; of course he selected this hellhole for its olfactory ambiance that conceals the odor of his survivability requirements. When he first glimpses Mari on the streets of New York, Miercurea is stunned -- she awakens something inside him that he thought died centuries ago. He thinks she might be the key to correcting the magical mistake made by his parents. He awakens her to his vampiric world, hoping this time his medieval "Mirror" and the magical sword owned by his late paternal grandfather can undo the evil inadvertently caused by his parents that if left unchecked one day will make humanity extinct.

As the triangle becomes established, each participant brings grave faults and doubts to their interrelationships, but it is the Mirror that reflects the fatal flaws that could lead to the deaths of all three of them and many more.

Told in seven "books" (a loose term for non-linear chapters), readers who get past the first segment will be astonished by the twists and turns of the remaining six entries. The opening segue introduces the audience to the key players, including the Mirror who is personified as a real essence. Is the Mirror 200-proof evil or a victim of medieval magical mayhem? Mari is the mysterious woman; is she another Mina clone or something entirely different? Miercurea is a fascinating protagonist who initially looks like he came out of the Rice Vampire Chronicles playbook, but by Book II begins to be something much more and much less.Finally, there is the human who spouts poetry in public but is that part of a persona to hide the beast or is he a genuinely caring person who cannot even say her name correctly?

Still, even with these strong characters, the title protagonist dominates even when standing and reflecting nothing.

The storyline contains plenty of gore, but that is not what will frighten the audience; nor will the vampires or the human poet-beast either. It is the Mirror that will shake the core of the reader; that is what the tale is ultimately all about; the Mirror reflects everything and nothing, baring the souls of the soulless. Miercurea is starting to understand this after Mari enters his life; he sees his reflection for the first time in eight centuries. Natalia Lincoln writes a deep, scary, horror fantasy that will have readers putting sheets over their mirrors.

Our Readers Respond

From: Mike Rothman:
    The Mirror is a haunting story that will keep you guessing. I was swept away by the pure creativeness of the story and the poetry of the ending. The characters are well drawn and real, even when inhabiting different continents and centuries. Does Natalia have another book for us? I, for one, can't wait!

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