The Mirror of N’De / L. K. Malone
HS Grades 8-12 Rating: 4 (out of 5)
L.K. Malone creates a fantasy about a young teen who has a series of dreams that foretell her role in saving her people from oppression by the ruling party.
In The Mirror of N’De, thirteen year old Hadlay is disturbed by dreams of a mysterious Being. When she shares the dreams with her parents, they counsel her to remain quiet. Hadlay and her people – the Ramash – live under the oppressive rule of the Oresed. When Hadlay is selected to serve the Emperor’s son, she is determined to right the wrongs done to the Ramash. But things are not what they seem – sometimes they are even worse.
The book starts out slowly but the author’s word pictures are quite vivid and captivating. Teens will identify with Hadlay’s struggle with a bully, her desire for revenge, and the meaning of true friendship. The Being serves as a symbol of the self-sacrifice and redemptive nature of Jesus.
One of the more interesting aspects of this book is the cross-breeding of species (a “nuppy” is a cross between a newt and a puppy). Many of the cross-breeds are harmless, but not the animal/human cross-breeding, especially since it feeds off human blood like vampires.
The book has plenty of unexpected plot twists. There are at least two scenes that are intensely violent and creepy, making this a book more suitable for older teens.
Like most Christian fantasy, good eventually triumphs over evil. The battle between them comes down to: how to tell who is a true friend, when a right decision is wrong, and how to find the strength to stand for what is right, no matter what the cost.
Recommended for teen collections in public and school libraries.
—reprinted with permission, Christian Library Journal, June 2012.