Saturday, June 14, 2014

Review: Plague in the Mirror by Deborah Noyes

Plague in the Mirror
by Deborah Noyes

Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 272
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: June 11, 2013
Suggested tags: young adult, paranormal, time travel

From Goodreads:
"In a sensual paranormal romance, a teen girl’s doppelgänger from 1348 Florence lures her into the past in hopes of exacting a deadly trade.

It was meant to be a diversion — a summer in Florence with her best friend, Liam, and his travel-writer mom, doing historical research between breaks for gelato. A chance to forget that back in Vermont, May’s parents, and all semblance of safety, were breaking up. But when May wakes one night sensing someone in her room, only to find her ghostly twin staring back at her, normalcy becomes a distant memory. And when later she follows the menacing Cristofana through a portale to fourteenth-century Florence, May never expects to find safety in the eyes of Marco, a soulful painter who awakens in her a burning desire and makes her feel truly seen. The wily Cristofana wants nothing less of May than to inhabit each other’s lives, but with the Black Death ravaging Old Florence, can May’s longing for Marco’s touch be anything but madness? Lush with atmosphere both passionate and eerie, this evocative tale follows a girl on the brink of womanhood as she dares to transcend the familiar — and discovers her sensual power."

{ I received this as an ebook ARC from NetGalley. }

Plague in the Mirror was an interesting mix of the paranormal, time travel, and almost a kind of escapism. May travels to present-day Italy with her friend Liam and his mom, and while there she discovers her doppleganger, Cristofana, from 14th century plague-ridden Florence. Cristofana shows her a portal where they can travel between each others' worlds, and she lures May into her time where May sees Marco, an alluring artist that she just can't seem to get out of her mind.

The story is told in a unique way that may not appeal to all readers. I found myself not exactly viewing it as a typical story, where things build towards a climax and resolution, but as more of an exploration of a time and place, a "what if" experiment with a desperate girl from the past trying to save herself from her circumstances. I kept thinking "escapism," and that really appealed to me. May is escaping her troubled family situation in the present to romance in the past with Marco, and Cristofana is escaping her almost certain demise in her city ravaged by the plague. We get to see May and Cristofana struggle with each other as Cristofana tries to trap May in the past and take over her life in the present, thereby saving herself from the plague and dooming May to inherit whatever fate might have befallen her.

I felt almost as if I was in a dream as I read Plague in the Mirror; I don't know if it was the writing or the story itself. And that's not a bad thing, it's just something I haven't really experienced before. Cristofana is madness - literally, she's a disturbed girl, but the image of her in stolen dresses, creeping around homes destroyed by the plague, was just fantastic. She's dark and depraved and she's doing everything she can to save herself at the expense of everyone else. May came across to me as lost and confused and desperate in her own way. The Marco element creates not so much a love triangle, but more of another power play between May and Cristofana.

I enjoyed Plague in the Mirror because of Noyes's dreamy writing style, and because it left my mind reeling with what-ifs about escaping the dangers of one time period for another. I would definitely be interested to read another book by Noyes, to see what she else she can imagine and where she can help me escape to next.

Final verdict: I loved it! I thought this book was great! I might buy it for myself since I will probably be rereading it. I would definitely recommend it to others.

More about Deborah Noyes }

Deborah Noyes's Goodreads profile
Deborah Noyes's website
Follow Deborah Noyes on Twitter
Follow Deborah Noyes on Tumblr

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