Reviews

5star-shiny-webFIVE STARS from Reader's Favorite!

The Mirror of Doom is the first book in The Out-of-this-World Adventures of Tim Hunter series, written by Bailey Baxter and illustrated by LaSablonniére. When twelve-year-old Tim Hunter steals his sister Kat’s diary, he gets a lot more than he’d bargained for. His older siblings, Ron and Kat, chase Tim through his grandmother’s Connecticut home – a place where they had all lived since their stepfather, Erick, had mysteriously disappeared two months earlier. Before he realizes it, Tim discovers that he is on the forbidden third floor of the house, locked inside a room with his scary Uncle Edgar. As Tim tries to escape, Edgar distracts him by unveiling a mirror which had once belonged to the Brothers Grimm. From an inscription in the gold frame, Tim learns that the mirror is magical and is a gateway to another world. Tim, Ron and Kat soon find themselves on the other side of the mirror in a medieval land of castles and dangerous beasts. They might have thought of it as a fun adventure, were it not for a prophecy which tells of three strangers from a faraway land who would defeat the evil Queen Morissa, returning King Gunther and Prince Gavril to the throne and thus restoring order to the land of Tryton. When given only two choices – fulfill the prophecy or be executed – the three siblings are told of the simple task ahead of them of stealing the queen’s mirror, but what they find instead is a truth which is too shocking to believe.

Without a doubt, The Mirror of Doom is the most delightful children’s story I have read in some time, with three squabbling children, none of whom possess an ounce of responsibility, suddenly realizing that they have to trust and rely on each other in order to survive. Bailey Baxter’s tale of typical teens was written in a realistic fashion up until the fantasy realm takes over, when they are magically transported to another world. Tim’s humorous narration of the story gave me cause to chuckle in many instances, as he told things from a twelve-year old’s point of view, inclusive of his personal analysis of each of the other characters in the story, holding nothing back. All three of the children are initially shown as quite self-absorbed and selfish, but their emotional growth and respect for one another is evident as they face each challenge head-on. I noticed that The Mirror of Doom has been left open at the end to allow for the possibility of a sequel. I very much look forward to reading that too. Bailey Baxter is a writer with great talent and has a flair for telling stories of intrigue to readers of all ages.

I recommend The Mirror of Doom to all readers who enjoy fun, action, sci-fi, fantasy, and a major dose of comedy in their magical adventures.

--Rosie Malezer, Readers’ Favorite

WOW! I couldn't put it down!

As soon as Tim(my) stepped (or was he pushed?) through the mirror, I was hooked. The plot moves at a quick pace and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. Baxter has developed characters that are true to their age and situation in life. The illustrations are fabulous and stays true to the diary theme the author has created. The Mirror of Doom will be the first read aloud in my fifth grade classroom this year. This is a must read for any fantasy loving middle schooler or adult who still remembers what it was like to be a kid!

--James Pate

A really fun read!

Bailey does a great job of trapping sibling rivalries and the arguments that go with them. But as they go on their quest they learn how to get a long (mostly) and show concern for each other. The commentary from Tim Hunter all through the book is most entertaining. The ending certainly makes me eager to see what will be in the 2nd book!

--Andrew Aube

Wholesome, Family Friendly, Contemporary Fairy Tale for Young Readers

Originally I was going to title this review, “An Accessible Narnia” because of its obvious parallels to that novel. But by the time I finished the book I realized this tale, being much easier to read than the C.S. Lewis tome, is quite different - and while there are similarities, they are superficial and share much more in common with traditional fairy tales.

I purchased Mirror Of Doom for an eight-year-old family friend who happens to read at a much higher level, and is quite fond of children’s adventure and fantasy literature. I also picked up a copy for myself (I’m much older than 8) on Kindle. I read the book over a holiday weekend and wanted to share with other readers what I found.

I would categorize this work as a contemporary fairy tale fantasy adventure.

All the elements of fairy tale fantasies are present, such as a magic mirror that transports the characters to a magical and distant land populated by Kings, evil Queens, ambitious Princes, dwarves, wicked creatures called Galrogs and even a real fire-breathing dragon!

That’s right … there’s a DRAGON!

The story is told through the eyes of Timmy (scratch that … make that TIM) Hunter, a scrawny, scrappy young boy who passes through a magic mirror from his present day existence, entering a fantasy world of medieval proportions, complete with the fantastic creatures and characters mentioned above.

He’s immediately followed by his annoying (to Tim) older sister Kat and their older, star athlete brother Ron. They learn their only way back through the mirror to home is to commit a worthy act of bravery.

Soon, they are off on a mission, meeting up with Prince Gavril, a no-nonsense leader and son of the ousted King of Tryton. Along the way they pick up a friend of the Prince’s, Beriman a worldly dwarf, and experienced soldier-type with considerable sword-fighting skills.

Beriman is blessed with the one of the most dramatic moments and memorable quotes in the book: “Dwarves never surrender!”

There’s a lot to like about Mirror Of Doom. It’s written in a whimsical, fun style, punctuated by comical moments, mostly having to do with the interaction between the siblings and the sometimes “fish out of water” moments because of the stark differences between home and this new reality.

I also liked the fast pace of the novel … not a lot of drawn-out exposition. Everything you need to know to follow the story is revealed either in conversation or within context of the events unfolding.

There are Easter eggs in this story too … such as conventional fairy tale tie-ins between this story and several Brother’s Grimm tales. You’ll see what I mean when you read it, but I thought those tie-in references really added a dimension to the story - wholly original.

I won’t spoil the story by revealing any more detail.

If you’re a fan of children’s lit, fairy tales, Narnia or even Tolkien-esque adventures, you’ll love this book, it’s wholesome, family friendly entertainment you can give to a young reader with absolute confidence they’ll enjoy the story without fear of corruption by bad language or extreme graphic content.

Mirror Of Doom is a fun, fast, and thoroughly enjoyable read. Hope you like it as much as I did.

--John Keever