Saturday, 12 March 2011

Mieradome by Kate O'Hegarty

Published in 2010
323 pages, Paperback 
Review copy (this was a PDF rather than a paper copy)

Young Adult, Fantasy 

Faeries, both the cute and the wild side of magic, political intrigue, lots of plot twists, a few violent scenes, ingenious devices, mystery, automatons, lots of scary moments, 

Blurb from 
Mieradome pulls you into a uniquely different fantasy world of faeries, a different take on the Alice in Wonderland concept. The novel revolves around a fifteen year old girl named Amavia, who believes she is human, but comes to find out that a bit more magic runs through her veins within the land of Mieradome. Slowly who Amavia is begins to unravel to show the truth; the truth that she just may be the evil that the faeries and creatures of Mieradome need to destroy.

Nayuleska's thoughts
When I first heard from Kate, she explained the Mieradome is a little like Alice in Wonderland. I don't like Alice in Wonderland (it's creepy. And yes I've read all the books - I had a compendium when I was little with all the stories & strange poems). However, I didn't think about Alice once when I read the book. It's a world of it's own. The way that Amavia gets captured is frightening, and a sign of the trials that await her. I felt so sorry for her because she doesn't have a clue what's going on, but everyone else seems to. She really gets thrown in the deep end, although it doesn't help matters that she volunteers for some games without knowing what they entail. That shows the kind of girl she is - adventurous! The result of the games leads to a revelation about who she really is. Even before the games end the intrigue carries on, with people plotting against her. Amavia's smart, and with a little help finds ways to outsmart some of her well-meaning attendants. These escapades made me smile when they were successful. 

There's a huge cast to Mieradome, yet all of the characters felt real. They all act differently to Amavia, and she in turn likes them in varying degrees. I think my favourite character that she meets are Captain Mielseki, who has enough experience not to be fooled by Amavia's attempts at disguise, who has a pretty awesome ship with amusing commands and does his best to keep her safe. As for the real enemies (the obvious & the hidden ones) they all have me running for the safety of a cushion. There are usually features which they can be identified, so when I started seeing them in the book I knew something bad was going to happen. I really enjoyed the Snow Queen's court, because I've read a few stories involving that particular character, and it was intriguing to see how she was recreated in Mieradome. 

The level of detail of the environment, of the different contraptions and of how magic works took my breath away. The vivid images were a pleasure to read, although occasionally there was a little too much information before any action happened. Until I got to the end, I was always confused when Amavia heard voices and spoke about her children. I knew she was a teenager, and I knew she hadn't married etc, so I couldn't figure out how she knew her children existed. It was a big light bulb moment when it was explained how fairy babies come into being (no stork, just flowers!), and the confusion dissolved. 

Final conclusion 
This is a must read for anyone who loves fairies. The richness of the world has me excited about what the future will hold in store for Amavia, who is an Empress to be that no one messes with lightly. 

Be sure to check out more about Mierdome and Kate on the Mieradome website.

Suggested reads
The Iron King by Julia Kagawa Also involving a girl with a magical heritage she knew little about
Knife by R J Anderson, first in a fun series about fairies

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