THE MIRROR: BROKEN WISH, by Julie C. Dao, Disney-Hyperion, Oct. 6, 2020, Hardcover, $18.99 (YA ages 14 and up)
A 16-year-old discovers secrets run in the family in Julie C. Dao’s The Mirror: Broken Wish.
Elva has a secret. She has visions and strange powers that she will do anything to hide. She knows the warnings about what happens to witches in their small village of Hanau. She’s heard the terrible things people say about the Witch of the North Woods, and the malicious hunts that follow.
But when Elva accidentally witnesses a devastating vision of the future, she decides she has to do everything she can to prevent it. Tapping into her powers for the first time, Elva discovers a magical mirror and its owner-none other than the Witch of the North Woods herself. As Elva learns more about her burgeoning magic, and the lines between hero and villain start to blur, she must find a way to right past wrongs before it’s too late.
The Mirror: Broken Wish marks the first book in a four-book fairy-tale series written by Julie C. Dao, Dhonielle Clayton, Jennifer Cervantes, and L. L. McKinney, following one family over several generations, and the curse that plagues it. —Synopsis provided by Disney-Hyperion
There’s so much to love about Broken Wish. It’s slightly darker than your average Disney fairy tale and a lot more nuanced. The book takes place in 19th century Germany and even makes reference to the Grimm brothers and their collection of stories. The German setting grounds the story, giving readers an exact idea of culture and events.
Though Elva is the “main character,” there are two more women that also play a huge role — Elva’s mother, Agnes, and the so-called witch, Mathilda. All three women are well developed and compelling. The book would not be as strong without Dao’s strong development on their part.
What makes Broken Wish so strong is Dao’s deft ability to stray from the expected while still creating a world that is familiar. The pacing is perfect, making you want to devour and savor at the same time.
Broken wish is a book I already want to reread, and I am excited for the rest of the series.
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