Thirteen-year-old Hadlay and her people, the Ramash, and looked down upon by the ruling class of the Oresed. When Hadlay is chosen for the honor of serving the Prince in the Tower, she hopes to find a way to right the wrong, but the emperor and his son are not as wonderful as she first believed.
The Mirror of N'de is a strong debut from L.K. Malone. Brave and courageous Hadlay and the mystery of the Tower will draw readers into this tale about an oppressed people. This book is a fine choice for young fantasy readers looking to delve into a creative new allegory with a fascinating storyworld, magic, symbolism, and a few neat surprises.
The story begins with a dream that Hadlay has had, when she awakens she is left not understanding it's strange message. She is troubled by this dream and eventually tells her parents and friends. She is told not to tell anyone else for fear of retribution and punishment. Thirteen year old Hadlay Mivana is a Ramash and they are ruled by the Oresed. The Ramash live as mistreated abused servants to the Oresed. Hadlay as well as several other Ramash children are chosen to be initiates in an apprenticeship program in the Oresed Tower. Hadlay had not wanted to be chosen, but she and her friends are. She excels in her studies. There is jealously and trouble-makers amongst some of the students. Hadlay perseveres because she wants to help her people, yet at what cost?
I have to admit when this story first began I was a little lost. I've only read a couple of fantasy fiction books. I think fantasy fiction requires a certain area of the brain in which to read and understand. That little area of my brain has not been used enough.
Although, I was quickly intrigued and anxious for each page to turn; I wanted to know what would happen to Hadlay and her family and friends.
Hadlay is a bright, independent minded, insightful, brave, and loyal character. But, because she is young she trusts too easily.
This is a deep multi-layered story of peoples and cultures on top of other peoples and cultures. Those that are the over-seers are the conquerors, and those enslaved are the workers.
The author used an Akkadian language for names of characters and a few other chosen words in the story. The Akkadian language is the earliest attested Semitic language in Babylon, Ur and Chaldea.
I felt the messages given to Hadlay from her dreams could not be a work of anyone else but God. God's name is never used in the story, instead the story is given as an allegory.
The story is written with great creativity and I was amazed at the plot, scenes, climax, and ending. At no point did I feel the The Mirror of N'de was awash with predictability.
I'm hoping for a book 2, surely there will be?
This is a phenomenal story and one that has not been told from this angle. I loved it!
Thank you to LitFuse Publicity Group and Kregel Publications for my free review copy!
Author L.K. Malone knocked it out of the park in her debut novel, The Mirror of N'de. Take a little excitement and danger, add a little intrigue and mystery, toss in a whole bunch of random animal "mixes" (like a Nuppy: Newt + Puppy), and a few unexplained occurrences and you have the makings for one addicting page-turner! Honestly, I could not put this book down. I finished it in one sitting.
In The Mirror of N'de, L.K. Malone creates a fantasy world that is easy to slip into. While I may have been intimidated at first by the preface of Names (2.5 pages of pronunciations, associations and brief descriptions), I quickly found myself absorbed in the story right from the beginning. The characters are rich and hearty, the plot moves quickly, and as with any good novel, there are many layers to dissect.
More than a coming of age story, The Mirror of N'de finds main character, thirteen year old Hadlay Mivana, on a quest to save her people, the Ramash, from the oppressive Oresed rulers. Hadlay is one of a handful Ramash selected by the (Oresed) Emperor to apprentice at the castle Early on in her arrival Hadlay unassumingly catches the eye of the Emperor's son and a friendship developsâ€”a vantage point that may benefit her people.
More than a quest to save her people, Hadlay finds herself pursued by a mysterious Being, who through the medium of dreams predicts the future. Hadlay realizes while the fate of the Ramash rests upon her ability to gain the Prince's trust and favor, her destiny is tied to the predictions and riddles presented by the Being.
Through circumstances hardly primrose or sanitized, author L.K. Malone explores complex themes. I appreciate Malone's willingness to fully explore the consequences of actions, both intentional and unintended. Good & Evil. Love & Betrayal. Trust & Deception. Illusion & Reality, The Mirror of N'de has it all thrown in there, mixed-up whirled-around and served with a dollop of "Sort of suspected that but you kept me guessing" and a side of "Woah! Holy Cow! Did not see that coming!" (A note to parents of tweens: this novel contains two scenes that are quite graphic and might be unsuitable for children younger than age 11.)
Overall, Malone has delivered a thoroughly entertaining debut novel. I honestly uttered an audible "NO! That's it?" at the turn of the last page. I certainly hope there is more in store for these characters!
(I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)