Series: Fractured Fables #2
Author: Alix E. Harrow
Released: June 14, 2022
Warnings: Terminal illness
A Mirror Mended is the second novella in Alix E. Harrow’s Fractured Fables series, and once again, I am utterly enchanted. What I wouldn’t give for a million more books in this series.
Zinnia Gray has spent all her life knowing she will die. Having a rare but fatal illness does that to a person. As a child, she found herself connected to the tale of Sleeping Beauty. As an adult, she suddenly found herself gallivanting around different tale renditions, saving damsels and running from her future.
Unfortunately, you can only run from your past for so long. Perhaps that is why Zinnia found herself in a series of worlds that didn’t belong to her. One that almost always portrays an Evil Queen (capitalization required) and a princess on the run.
“In Sleeping Beauty stories, I’ve come to recognize certain moments-tropes, you might call them, repeated plot points-that have an echo to them. Pieces of the story that have been told so many times they’ve worn the page thin: the christening curse, the pricked finger, the endless sleep, the kiss. You can almost feel reality softening around you, at those times.”
Can we just talk about how much fun A Mirror Mended was to read?! I loved it, I loved it so much. Zinnia’s character is stubborn and bold, unafraid to jump into worlds unknown (literally) – especially if it lets her run away from her fate.
Okay, this admittedly gives the story a rather somber foundation. But it works. It puts Zinnia in a position to sympathize with those who feel they have no control over their lives. In an attempt to gain control in some aspects of her life, Zinnia instead focuses on helping others.
This can sometimes be chaotic since Zinnia doesn’t always bother to think things through. She leaps headfirst into trouble, assuming that her (somewhat exhausted and estranged) best friend will find a way to save the day should the need arise.
I think I’m babbling a little bit here. As the sequel in the series, A Mirror Mended does two essential things. First, it transports Zinnia (and us) into a different fairy tale (Snow White, in case that wasn’t clear). Second, it starts giving consequences to Zinnia’s running around the multiverse.
Having consequences always make a world feel more sustainable. In this case, it also forces a fair bit of character development. I’m not saying that Zinnia needed to grow up…but don’t we all? I think Alix E. Harrow perfectly captured all of this, cramming it into one concise novella.
On a different note, the romantic subplot (or is it the main plot? Zinnia did a great job making that unclear) was pretty beautiful. Yes, there’s a trope thrown into the mix, but there’s a certain level of self-awareness about that whole fact. I think that made me like it more.
My one issue/regret with this series? I can’t tell if A Mirror Mended is the end or not. It feels like a conclusion to the series, but that thought breaks my heart. I want a million more. Perhaps things merely look wrapped up, with the ability to happily carry on should Alix E. Harrow find the time/inspiration? One can hope.
Thanks to Tor.com and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.