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Mirrored (Kendra Chronicles) by Alex Flinn
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Mirrored (Kendra Chronicles)

by Alex Flinn

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Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: A predictable and underwhelming novel that was enjoyable, but didn’t stand out among all of the retellings.

Opening Sentence: I was a strange child.

The Review:

Violet has never been beautiful. Her eyelashes seem non-existent, her nose is misshapen, and her chin is weak. Her mother is too beautiful and glamorous to appreciate her ugly daughter. To top it off, Violet isn’t well-liked at school – she is bullied constantly. The only friend she ever really had is named Greg, and she’s falling in love with him, until he ditches her for the popular crowd and leaves her all alone. When Violet discovers Kendra, a witch, and learns that she too has magic powers, it changes her world. Suddenly she has the power to make herself beautiful. Although she thinks her new supermodel appearance could change everything, she is still hated around the campus, and Greg is still dating her nemesis Jennifer.

Flash-forward many years, when Greg and Jennifer have married and have had a daughter, the gorgeous Celine. Her beauty is almost ethereal, and its completely natural. When Celine’s mother dies in a freak accident at the zoo, Violet and Greg reconnect and soon marry, giving Celine a stepmother. She doesn’t understand the strange things that keep happening to her with Violet around: the scowls, the jealous and spiteful words, her cats attacking her and her hair appliances burning her. It seems almost . . . like magic. When Celine is almost killed, she takes refuge with the goofy, short boy from her drama class, Goose. But is that enough to save her from Violet’s vengeance?

When I saw the author’s name, I immediately recognized it from somewhere, and soon connected it to Beastly. I’d heard good things about the book, and Vanessa Hudgens starred in the movie, so I assumed that the novel must have been incredible. That being said, I expected a gorgeous, unique writing style – after all, Alex Flinn has written her fair share of books! She must be talented, right? Sadly, I found that the writing style was very simple, using language that didn’t seem experienced or mature. The novel would have fit more as a middle grade book, in my opinion, as it scooted around topics of sex, drugs, and alcohol anyway.

Luckily, there were some things about the novel that kept me reading and made it enjoyable. I actually liked Violet’s character the most; she was the most interesting. Her story was touching and sad, and watching her develop from the victim to the villain was a truly intriguing story arc. I found Celine’s part much less fun. Her character was almost too perfect: gorgeous, compassionate, empathetic. While I understand the part her perfection played in the plotline, it was not believable how little flaws she had, and that made her a hard character to relate to. The magic aspect of the story was okay, but not very original.

Altogether, I found the book alright and think it was a decent read. There was a love story as well, obviously, which was cute enough. I liked Goose’s character and found him more relatable despite the many differences between us, just because he was flawed. I enjoyed his backstory and seeing from his perspective as he developed as a character. Again, the magic and the characters weren’t anything too special, and the writing style was simpler than I had expected. I also found the plotline to be very predictable. I understand that it’s a retelling, and it will be closely related to the original, but there wasn’t anything that really stood out about this novel among a slew of Snow White retellings. However, I think that readers will enjoy it, especially younger ones (I’m still convinced it would fit in the middle grade genre!).

Notable Scene:

“I want to be beautiful. Can that happen?”

It sounded so bare, out in the open like that, out in the empty street. Yet, it was the only thing I wanted, had ever wanted. Well, that and Greg. I knew beauty was nothing. But it was also everything.

“Yes, yes, I can do that.”

FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Mirrored. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Dec 1, 2015 |
Loved the mixing of fairy tale threads in this Snow White tale. Interesting point of view switches evenly divided by the three main characters. I love reading Flinn's tales and waiting to see what story lines she will weave into the main story line. Flinn proves to be both clever and entertaining. Can't wait to see Kendra in the next book. Audience: high school, middle school, fans of fairy tales, Snow White fans, retelling fans ( )
  cablesclasses | Sep 18, 2015 |
Mirrored by Alex Flinn is a retelling of the popular Snow White fairy tale. It is very creatively done and the story really pulls you in.

The story is told in two parts. The first part is told by our evil witch Violet. We watch her grow up as an outcast and as a victim of bullying. We also get to see how she comes into her powers and watch her evolve into the character type we know her as. We get to see why she became evil and what drove her to be that way.

I felt drawn towards the misfit version of Violet. I felt her pain and her awkwardness. I hated that she was so horribly bullied by her peers. Her childhood was one that no child should have to endure. As she grows up she learns how to use her powers and become obsessed with beauty.

The second part of the story was told by Celine. Celine is the daughter of Greg, the object of Violets undying affection, and Jennifer, Violets nemesis growing up. I think you can see where this is going. I do not want to go into any detail and accidentally give what I would consider spoilers. Let me just put it this way: Celine has to watch her back all the time.

There are a couple of other key characters in this story. We have the beloved Kendra. Fans of Alex Flinn's work will remember her, as she typically makes some sort of appearance in her fairy tale retellings. However, do not fret if you haven't read the other books. This is very much a stand alone book. Then we have the ever wonderful and goofy Goose. Goose is an awesome character and friend.

I did enjoy this book a lot, but that is not to say that it didn't have its faults. A lot of the story seemed too simple and convenient. Those part of the story left me wanting more. I wanted to feel more struggle and angst from the characters. Also, the characters did not always feel very flushed out. Sadly I felt this happened not only sometimes with the main characters, but also with very important but still more in the background of the story characters. I wanted more from the characters. I wanted them to feel more real to me than they did.

All this being said, I still could not put the book down. I enjoyed it a lot. The way the story was put together just compels you as a reader to continue on. It makes you want to know what is going to happen next and it makes you want to know how it ends.

I recommend this book. Mirrored will pull you in and not let you go until you finish. It is a quick and enjoyably "fluffy" read. You will not be disappointed!

Review based on an advanced reading copy provided by the publisher through Edelweiss.

You can find more of my reviews on my blog:

http://readingwithcupcakes.blogspot.com/ ( )
  ReadingWithCupcakes | Jul 8, 2015 |
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A modern, multi-generational tale of Kendra, the witch from "Snow White," who trains Violet, an ugly, lonely, and heartbroken girl in the 1980s who transforms herself into "the fairest one of all" but still cannot win Greg's heart, and Celine, Greg's daughter with Violet's high school rival, Jennifer.… (more)

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