Smoke and Mirrors, The Trueheart by Helene Opocensky

Smoke and Mirrors is a somewhat Harry Potter-like YA fantasy, where very rare mages hide themselves in the world amongst us non-magicals while the last inquisitors try to root them out to the last. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I decided to read the book, but the crow on the cover got to me. I love crows, they are such amazingly smart birds, I took the leap.

Smoke and Mirrors centres on Corbin and how he discovered he had magic the very worst day of his life: the day he lost his mother, his only caretaker, his life, a woman who wasted away from heartache. And here, at just 10 years old, he became a crow and flew off to live as a crow, until another mage found him, taught him, shared his dream for mages not to be excluded and persecuted anymore and ultimately set him up in the only mage village on Earth.

It was a sweet story, very clear, the magic of that world is very well explained, and no reader should be left wondering how any of it came about or what it means. The plot did not go as far as I thought it would, and I know the author is keeping a lot up her sleeves for future reveals to pepper in the next books and to heighten the character conflict. I guess there will be a lot about the Elf world next.

Delving more into this first volume, I’m a little sad to say I found the characters a little too simple for my taste. I do like things a little more convoluted and personalities a little more defined. As it is, I have very little sense of the friends of Corbin, except for Lorelei and Hyacinth. There is also one big flaw in Corbin’s mentor, Max’s past. It is not explained how that was possible, it contradicts some of the things which are said in the last few chapters of the book. Maybe it will be explained better later, because as it stands it made little sense to me, world building wise. I cannot mention it without spoiling so I’ll keep that to me, unless someone asks 😀 Sadly it will remain a mystery to me as I won’t continue the series, I do think it really is suited more for people who haven’t read much fantasy.

I was bothered by all the kissing and flirting between friends. To me that was very weird. Even in a fantasy incorporating romance. I liked the main character less for all his casual kissing of girls. It doesn’t really fit with the rest of his thoughtful and very aware persona, I thought.

This is a light book for people who want a little magic, romance, light plot twist. It reads very fast and will take the younger bookish people into a casual fantasy novel. I would also recommend it to all the people out there wondering how they really find new wizards in Harry Potter. This book has a much better explanation!

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