Rachel R. Smith lives near Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband and the cutest dog in the world, Sumo. When not writing, she plots to fill the interior of their home with books and mineral specimens and to cover the exterior with roses. Reflection: The Stranger in the Mirror is the first book in the Records of the Ohanzee series.
I enjoyed this book. I chose to read the prologue, which it says is optional, but it really does help to get a better understanding of the story. I like the characters and the main character, even though she is an heiress she is strong and wilful. A few different things are brewing in this book that I can see leading up for events in future books and I'm looking forward to seeing what's going to come of things. I'm certainly looking forward to getting my hands on the next book!
A good solid first book in the series. Writing quality and editing was excellent, no grammatical errors that I caught. The world building was good although the "bad guys" were a little one dimensional. All in all I will probably read the next book.
Nerissa is a very interesting character, who captured my attention from the beginning. There are many characters in this story who add dimension and intrigue to the story. Rachel R. Smith does an excellent job at creating characters that make you care about them, cheer for them and draw you in to the story. Although, due to the somewhat complicated plot, some of the characters that seem to be important to the story are not developed as much as I would like to see. This could happen in the next book, however.
This story was filled with intrigue, danger and a touch of romance. Sadly, the romance may have ended before it really began, but there may be another romance beginning. The plot is strong and holds the readers' interest, though it does tend to slow down a little too much at places.
Nerissa changes a lot from the beginning of this book to the end due to circumstances caused by the violence that erupted at the masquerade ball, another sign of a good author. An author who writes a story in which the main character shows growth and change of some sort from the beginning to the end of the story has done a good job.
Now Nerissa has difficult decisions to make. Will the decisions she makes lead to success or failure? Will the romance that seemed to bud during the masquerade be able to bloom, or will rules and regulations forbid it? What will happen to Chiyo and the people Nerissa cares about?
If you are a fan of YA fantasy or YA historical, you will probably be drawn into this story too.
I can't say that I am a fan of the style in which the story is written. It is written in a serialized style with a story line that flows continuously through the books, and there are four books in the series. I have read series books before, but they usually have a fairly strong conclusion even though the story continues in the rest of the books in the series. This, however, ends right as a decision is made and they are planning their action, so the reader is left completely hanging and MUST read the next book to find out what will happen next. It's an effective marketing ploy, but I still don't like it. I am only thankful that with this particular book, the next two are already written and available and Ms. Smith is working on completing the final book of the series to be released in early 2017. However, if I had read this book and would have had to wait six months to a year for the next installment, I'm not sure I would bother. I don't like to be kept waiting to see where a story will go next. Yes, all series do that to an extent, but not in the middle part of the major plot as this story does.
However, since the series is nearly finished and I do like Nerissa and a couple of other characters and want to see how things turn out for them in the end, I will most likely finish reading this series, but if Ms. Smith plans another series like this one, I don't think I'll pick up the first one. I have many books I want to read, and don't want to have to be tied to one author's work as I wait for another installment.
I was drawn to this book by it's cover. It reminded me of The Jewel and The Selection Series. But this book is none of those. While the cover is beautiful the story is strong a well written. At first I was not sure with but as each page turned I began to find myself wanting to know more of it. What really stands out with this book is how the the story is told through so many people giving you a clear view as to what and where the character all stand. I have read many books where it is told through one or two people. Seeing the same event unfold just from a different perspective. But Rachel Smith has accomplished telling a story while in motion form many people. I found this to be wonderfully delightful because I no longer had to wonder what they were doing. She takes the most pivotal point of view to continue the story with. As soon as I finished book one, I immediately went in for book 2.
The plot was promising but it did not progress. There were too many characters and unnecessary chapters. I had to skip on some of them out of boredom. From start to finish the story was lagging. I literally could not keep up with all the characters. It was hard to get to know all of them because there were too many. I would not recommend this book
When I originally requested this book last year, I had seen it popping up almost everywhere. I decide that this is definitely one of those self-published books that I definitely had to read. I cannot wait to read this book and see where it takes me. It is one of those that I know almost nothing about. Here it goes...
Thank you so much to the author, Rachel R. Smith for sending me a copy of her book to review. Just a small disclaimer for those reading this review. I have received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. Please note that this doesn't not affect my opinion in any way. All thoughts are my own.
I loved how easy it was to get into this book. I kind of just started reading the book and found that I was twenty percent through the book. I loved that the pacing of the writing was fast. The writing wasn't particularly detailed but there seemed to be enough detail when the author describe certain important things.
I loved how this book was set up. It wasn't too filled with action and it was also not too bland. The author found the perfect middle where you kind of have the action happening at the correct time and then the more filler elements set up the series quite well. We get a mix of history and interesting elements that make us question how it will come into play at a later stage. I really loved that this book read differently in comparison to other books. It really makes it unique.
The book was on the short side of things and whilst we could see some clear characteristics coming through from each character, I felt like the author didn't really fill them up and create a well-rounded character. However with that being said, the base for the characters are there, they only need to grow.
Overall, I was actually surprised by this book. I didn't know what to expect really but I was very happy with what I read. The writing was good and easy to get into, the plot set the series up quite well and I definitely think that the series will pick up. The characters did lack some dimension but they had a base and they will grow and become more well rounded. I definitely cannot wait to see what the next book has in store! Thank you so much to the author for sending me a copy of her book to review!
5つ星のうち3.0Waaaay too many POV's but an interesting story!
Favorite Quote: "Remember that Chiyo may be in ashes, but the phoenix will rise again."
I received an ARC of: Reflection: The Stranger in the Mirror via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Reflection, does not read like a typical book. It doesn't have the usual climax and ending. It is meant to be read as a continuing story into the next book so there is no climax at all and kinda just...ends. Now this was new to me and I kind of like it. A lot was left unsaid so I definitely want to read the next one.
My biggest problem is that we just follow too many people. Now I love a story with a lot of side-plots and characters but I don't always need to know what they are doing. It kind of takes out the mystery of all the subplots twining together beneath the story. This story swaps POV's like nobodies business. We follow Nerissa, Charis, Shae, Shae's daughter, Einar, Einar's wife, Rial, Raysel, Tao, the villains, like everyone we meet. On top of that it will change POV mid-chapter from paragraph to paragraph. One paragraph Nerissa, the next Charis then back to Nerissa. It makes the reading rather muddled. It takes out all the surprises completely. We always know what everyone is thinking or doing. I would have liked it to be more subtle I guess.
The romance is...kind of there? Rian comes across as a love interest for all of a chapter and a half before we don't see him again until the end of the book at all even though he is technically there. Which is convenient considering she has memory loss of meeting him, which is also convenient considering she is royalty and he is an Ohanzee. There is the possibility of Raysel which I hope not, because then we would have the horror of a love triangle. Please don't do this to us Rachel.
Then we dive into the cliches. While even though in this world royalty can marry whoever they want, OF COURSE it's FORBIDDEN for Ohanzee warriors to be romantically involved with royalty. Just like OF COURSE women can't be an Ohanzee warriors because it's "tradition" not "sexism". It's then "explained" that women don't WANT to be warriors and they are the ones that chose to not allow women to be warriors anymore. Of course by "explained", I mean this mysterious "reason" is conveniently mentioned but not given. Probably because there isn't a good one. It's total bs I'm sorry. If you don't want women to be allowed to be warriors for the plot (I understand why she did it) but don't give me that nonsense reasoning. If these cliches aren't enough let's throw in a prophecy with "the chosen one" for good measure.
I liked a lot of the elements like the crystals and the prophetic dreams. I can tell we'll have more of Shae and the prophecies. While I'm not all that interested in the overarching prophecy of the story, (I fail to see why it is necessary other than to make Nerissa "special") but I am interested in her role as having foretelling dreams and how those could be used in the future.
There is so much to do and I'm quite interested in the plot. I like Nerissa as she is strong and not overly annoying. She didn't grow all that much in this first book but we have a lot to grow and she isn't that terrible and already a pretty strong character. From here I'd like to see more romance and some action.
5つ星のうち4.0This is NOT another run of the mill princess story...
Rating 4 This story actually begins six hundred years in the past. Six hundred years ago Argina has a dream...so vivid, so real that she had to act if Renatus was to be saved. The dream was that the royal manor was up in flames by a blue dragon roaring fire balls upon the manor... with utter destruction. A Phoenix arises from the ashes and flies to the mountain...What can this mean??? I’m already captured into the story...I’m hooked.
Nerissa is Heiress of Chiyo. She is oblivious to the forces in play of the future which have been foretold generations ago and have remained hidden till now. This is NOT another run of the mill princess story... this is a story that has been known and, subsequently, forgotten for 600 years, until the time was right. The dream prophecy had been preserved in books. These books must be found quickly before they fall into the wrong hands. And Nerissa, is she up to the task and challenge? I think so. I hope so. There are many characters in this book, both in the past and in the present and at times, it was difficult to keep track of. The point of view of the narrative changed often, sometimes in mid chapter; but I did not find this confusing at all because it flowed so well.
This series is NOT just for tweens /YA but also for adults who love fantasy and dreams. Adults who missed out on a lot of good stories because they grew up. Well, I’m an adult who refuses to grow up where good books are concerned...
5つ星のうち3.0intriguing start but the story just stops
This story has a lot of potential - prophecies, conflict between two nations, compelling characters. However, even though it is described as Part 1 of a story arc, including that disclaimer in the description does not make it okay for it to not be a complete book. The story unfolds from numerous points of view, and at the beginning it is a little difficult to keep all of these characters and their allegiances straight, particularly since the prologue takes place hundreds of years earlier. Although there is conflict through the book, it doesn’t build toward a climax. The book just ends. Nerissa, the heiress of Chiyo, is an intriguing character, and it seems like there could be a possible romance with Rian, whose background would make that connection even more interesting and drive the conflict, but after their initial encounter, they don’t have any contact again. This is just one example of story points that start, but then aren’t addressed again. While I’m sure that these things should unfold in subsequent books, I still feel strongly that a book should have a beginning, conflict that builds to a climax, and then a conclusion. Of course a series will have overarching conflict throughout, but each installment should have its own problem. While I’m intrigued enough to read the other books, if they are all going to be only pieces of one story, I would prefer to read them as one novel.
I really enjoyed the world Really enjoyed the equalization of women and the mulan retelling aspects was really fun. Liked the different perspectives However not a lot of action lot more talking about action than action. I also loved the crystal use in this book I am a fan of crystals so when hearing all the descriptions of the gems and jewelry makes me want to make some like the book. The characters were cool however a couple of them have made me mad at the current moment (cough Rian cough Raysel) I also loved the names how unique they are and the history of the world is really awesome to learn about however putting the history in the prologue made it a bit confusing at first but then it was resolved. Overall I really enjoyed this book and I would give this book a 4 out of 5 stars just because of these points I am absolutely looking forward to reading the rest of this series in paperback!!!! Thank you so much @rachel_r._smith for the opportunity to read your book!!!!
I really enjoyed this book! First thing: the prologue is said to be optional, but I would definitely recommend reading it. There is a lot of worldbuilding information that makes events later in the book clearer. I want more about the history of Renatus, too! Oh, and about crystal lore. I love the use of crystals in this book and can't wait to see how the six ancient books finally come together. Nerissa is a book-loving, responsible, playful woman with a talent for archery. Hello, this character combination! She is aware of what it means to be Heiress and loyal to her people. Her determination and dedication is already shaking things up with the Ohanzee, and I can't wait to see where she goes. Rian and Raysel were a pleasant surprise! These swordsmen are like brothers and both are close to Nerissa in different ways. Not saying much because spoilers, but I need more of them stat. The end of the book took me by surprise! It was rather abrupt, but that was the intention. "The Records of the Ohanzee series is written in a serialized style with a story line that flows continuously between books." I haven't seen it done before, but it made me that much more eager to grab the second book and continue on! Overall, this is a great start to a fantasy with some futuristic elements, loveable characters, and probably many still-hidden secrets.
5つ星のうち5.0Beyond excited to read the rest of this series!
Reflection: The Stanger in the Mirror is a story I savored. It brims with prose so beautifully delivered I found myself re-reading sentences just to hear them again.
There was always something to look forward to and I never had to wait long to see the anticipated thing realized.
Right away, the characters and I were old friends. They literally had me laughing out loud. Between them and the lure of Chiyo's bergamot and cedar scented breezes, I had an incredibly difficult time putting the book down when real life demanded I participate.
I am beyond excited to continue reading this series! Harbinger of the Pheonix, here I come!
5つ星のうち5.0I really enjoyed this book and look forward to the others in ...
I really enjoyed this book and look forward to the others in the series. The characters are interesting, and although it is fantasy, there are other elements too ( a little mystery, romance, etc.). I especially enjoyed the humor and the subtle meanings behind the names of people, places, and swords. The writing flows easily, and the use of descriptive words often put pictures in my mind as I read! Very well written for a first time author. I highly recommend it for a good read.
5つ星のうち4.0Other then the Crystals in the Beginning, Interesting Story
I had a hard time in the beginning with all the characters, and the crystals at the beginning were not my favorite, but once it hit the masquerade, I started to enjoy the journey and see what would happen to the characters. I love the idea of the hidden town, the learning of combat, and just the different characters. I am ready to read the next book. :)
I grabbed this book for free on my kindle. The blurb was interesting and I had heard good things about it from some friends. I must say it did not disappoint. Smith's writing is well thought out, informed while still delivering the lightness of a great fantasy! I immediately bought the next three in this series upon finishing this one! Definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the fantasy genre! 5 stars!