Broken Wish (The Mirror #1)
Julie C. Dao
Published October 6, 2020
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About Broken Wish
Sixteen-year-old Elva has a secret. She has visions and strange powers that she will do anything to hide. She knows the warnings about what happens to witches in their small village of Hanau. She’s heard the terrible things people say about the Witch of the North Woods, and the malicious hunts that follow. But when Elva accidentally witnesses a devastating vision of the future, she decides she has to do everything she can to prevent it.
Tapping into her powers for the first time, Elva discovers a magical mirror and its owner—none other than the Witch of the North Woods herself. As Elva learns more about her burgeoning magic, and the lines between hero and villain start to blur, she must find a way to right past wrongs before it’s too late.
BROKEN WISH was not the book I expected it to be. (Not in a bad way!) I thought it might be dark, the way that FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS is. I thought it would be strictly from Elva’s point-of-view.
It’s not nearly as dark as Dao’s debut novel, which didn’t bother me at all. I liked the sort of quaint, small town feel of Hanau, where the story is set. There are a few references to Grimm’s fairy tales, and the setting of the story definitely felt like a place where those tales would happen.
The story isn’t limited to one point-of-view. The early chapters are told from the perspective of Elva’s mother, who befriends a solitary neighbor and later learns that she’s a witch with the power to give her the one thing she desperately wants– the ability to have a child– in exchange for her friendship.
BROKEN WISH then shifts to Elva’s point-of-view, and we learn about her special gift and the struggle she faces: she must either hide her gift forever or risk being exiled, or worse. She’s a sweet girl who wants to believe the best of everyone. I loved her courage and her unwavering commitment to the people she loved.
Another thing that I enjoyed is that BROKEN WISH is mainly a story of female friendships. Agnes (Elva’s mother) and her relationship with Mathilde (the solitary neighbor with magical abilities), and then Elva’s relationship with Mathilde, both as mentor and friend.
On the whole, I really enjoyed reading this book, and I’m really excited to read the rest of the series, which looks like it’ll be four books, each written by a different author. The next book in the series will be SHATTERED MIDNIGHT by Dhonielle Clayton and will be set in New Orleans in 1928.
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
Major characters are white and German. Mathilde grew up with an aunt and her female partner.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
No profanity. In one scene, a woman makes reference to a group of men saying awful things about her, some of them sexual.
Kissing between boy and girl.
Mathilde and Elva both have magical abilities. Performing magic requires a kind of exchange, and if the exchange is not met, the magic can take an unexpected price.
Children sicken after eating poisoned candy. A group of angry men say cruel things to a woman and call for her to be hanged.
Elva’s parents drink alcohol at a party.
Note: I received a free copy of BROKEN WISH in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support the costs of running this blog.