Review: Broken Mirrors by T.A. Pratt

Bonus points for multiple references to the heat death of the universe.

Pratt’s Hugo Winning short story “Impossible Dreams,” was filled with the delightfully imagined movie trivia of a universe next door to ours. Broken Mirrors, the 5th Marla Mason novel (1), has plenty of fun pop culture references, but its alternate dimension is not one I’d care to visit. Probably not much of movie industry either.

The road to publication for Broken Mirrors was likewise torn from a different universe than the preceding 4 volumes. Serialized online in 2010, it’s now available in print from The Merry Blacksmith Press. Aside from it’s path to publication, it’s exactly what a fan of the Marla Mason series would expect.

The big bad in this volume is Marla’s iconic white and purple cloak. This cloak is much more than a cloak and while its healing (and not so healing) properties have proven useful in past volumes, there were pretty significant hints that it had malevolent intentions. And malevolent intentions it has. Many bodies hit the floor, the fabric of the universe is torn and not even gods are spared.

The various schools of magic are interesting as usual. The fight scenes are more frequent and a step above what’s appeared before. Seeing Rondeau come into his own is quite satisfying. Pratt’s treatment of multiple dimensions (with references to Star Trek, Sliders and more in the dialog) was hinted at in Blood Engines but is significantly elaborated in Broken Mirrors.

Broken Mirrors is a satisfying bookend to the series, but Pratt leaves a clear opening for telling more stories in Marla’s universe. The short story “Shark’s Teeth,” that arrived in chapbook form with my print copy of Broken Mirrors (I donated to the project when it was being serialized) solidifies how some of those stories could play out. Here’s hoping for more Marla.

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