The Missing of Clairedelune: Book Two of the Mirror Visitor Quartet
By: Christelle Dabos
Fantasy, Foreign Novels
Published (in English): May 7th, 2019
From the Cover:
In book two of the bestselling Mirror Visitor Quartet, “the plots multiply, the world of the Arks gains depth, details abound, and the story envelops the reader as the pages fly by.” (Le Monde des ados).
When Ophelia is promoted to Vice-storyteller by Farouk, the ancestral Spirit of Pole, she finds herself unexpectedly thrust into the public spotlight. her gift—the ability to read the secret history of objects—is now known by all, and there can be no greater threat to the nefarious denizens of her icy adopted home than this.
Beneath the golden rafters of Pole’s capitol, she discovers that the only person she may be able to trust is Thorn, her enigmatic and emotionally distant fiancé. As one influential courtier after another disappears, Ophelia again finds herself unintentionally implicated in an investigation that will lead her to see beyond Pole’s many illusions to the heart of a formidable truth.
I don’t typically venture into the fantasy genre often, however, after reading the first novel of the series (See: A Winter’s Promise), I admit I was intrigued. There is something about escaping into a story that is so unique and different from reality. After reading the first book, I felt like I was left hanging in the worst of ways. The book was 400+ pages and it felt like it was just setting the scene for the rest of the series, so I was left feeling disappointed. Throw in the fact that this series is written in French and the second book wasn’t expected to be published in English for another 6+ months. I wanted to give the series the benefit of the doubt, so I waited expectantly for the second book’s release.
Fast-forward to now. Well….. here I am. I tried to like it, I really did. The world Dabos has created is exceptionally cool and I want to give her credit where credit is due. It is unique and well-crafted, and the intricate details she provides for this alternate reality are exquisite–even in English. BUT. But. The characters. I just can’t get past this detail. They are exhausting. You know when you watch a horror film and the main character DOES THAT THING that is so incredibly stupid, and you just want to shake them from the other side of the screen because you know they are putting themselves directly into the path of a killer clown? Well, this is how I felt when reading about these characters.
I don’t know if Dabos intended to write a love story, a feminist manifesto, or something in between. The relationship and engagement between Ophelia and Thorn is at once prolonged and rushed. I found that Dabos seemed to rush through important parts of their relationship that I felt needed more profound attention, while also fixating on parts that were insignificant. I wanted more from Ophelia’s character as I sensed a significant development brewing after finishing the first book. While Ophelia did develop as a character during the second book, I still found her lacking in both the leader and feminist that she was advertised to be.
Overall, I can’t say I will be anxiously awaiting the translation of the third novel of the series. I was disappointed with the ending of the second book and I don’t feel particularly upset at the idea of leaving this series hanging. I won’t lose sleep over it, but after 1000 pages committed to this series, it is disappointing nonetheless to walk away from this kind of commitment without feeling satisfied.