In Mirrorscape by Mike Wilks, Mel lives in a world sort of like ours, except where he lives the five Mystery organizations control “pleasures”, or everything to do with the senses. That means you have to pay extra for your clothes to have color in them, or to eat food besides bread, water, and homegrown vegetables. Mel has lived in the country his whole life, drawing pictures in his spare time, until a famous artist asks him to come to the city and be one of his apprentices. It’s a dream come true…until he gets there. The head apprentice is jealous of Mel’s talent and the High Bailiff of the Fifth Mystery has got it in for him. Then he discovers a secret world inside of paintings where fantastical creatures, talking houses, and mines that seek inspiration (instead of minerals) exist. Mel and his friends find themselves in the middle of an epic battle between the Fifth Mystery and the people who want to keep pleasures affordable for everyone. This book celebrates art and creativity, and makes me want to start drawing. It also reminds me of another story with evil forces, a two-boy-and-one-girl trio of friends, and adventures that can’t seem to be avoided… Harry Potter, anyone?
Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian