Cover Image: The Mirror: Broken Wish

The Mirror: Broken Wish

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Member Reviews

WOW! I've read Dao's work before, but I wasn't sure if I'd like this one--fairy tales aren't really my thing. But this book delivers! It sucked me in from page one, and while it has a generous dash of fairy tale tropes, they don't overshadow the characters, who are compelling and lovable. This is a great start to a new series, and I can't wait for the next one!
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I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this book, it didn't start in a way that I thought it would. The beginning is kind of slow, but it picks up pretty quickly. This is kind of a "slow burn" plot, and I loved it. More often than not when a book takes a few pages or chapters to get the plot moving, I lose interest. But this book had what I am going to call a "slow burn" plot. The book is about Elva, but she is not who the book starts with, and things pick up long before Elva is there, and there is a lot of insight into the Witch of the Woods, and the magic surrounding the town that is needed for when things really pick up.

I loved the setting of this book, taking place in mid-1800's Germany in the town the Brothers Grimm were born, they even have a mention/cameo. The characters were also great. Elva and Mathilda were great characters. Elva trying to show Mathilda that there are people she can trust and how to open up to others again.

Finding the right words to explain what I loved so much about this book, while not spoiling anything, is really hard fresh from reading it. There was so much more to this book than the magic. It was about the relationships people form, Agnes and Mathilda, Elva and her brothers, Elva and the boy she is betrothed to, and the most important one Elva and Mathilda. The bond they have is one of the more special parts of this book.

This book touches on acceptance and trust. That it's okay to trust, but that you should also be careful of who you trust. It was just a lovely book, and I was crying by the end.  

This is the first book I have read by this author, and I really want to go read her other books. I can't wait to read the rest of this series, and I am really curious for how this series will turn out. Each book is written by a different author and each book takes place in a different time period. I hope all the books in this series are as touching as this one.
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While I am grateful for the experience my only concern about this novel is the town featured here is  the bigoted.   Readers will want to hold a section of the story accountable on its own terms.  

 Dao is an extremely talented writer other elements in the story shows her skill and craft, her previous book as well.  She is amazing representation.     

Everything else stays true to Disney theme and world building. Will see how the finish product turns out.   All is forgiven.
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This book was received as an ARC from Disney Publishing Worldwide - Disney-Hyperion in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

I could not help but feel transported into a magical world where it is difficult to distinguish the good and evil characters. While reading this book, I could not help but think Snow Queen meets Game of Thrones and all because of perception and magic. When Elva discovers her magical powers, and figures out she possesses the magic mirror of the evil queen, the line from right and wrong is blurred and its up to Elva in discovering what is right from wrong before evil magic invades her way of life. Disney with the brilliant mind of Julie Dao delivers a masterpiece that I know our YA fans will enjoy. I can't wait to hear the discussions that spring from this book at our next meeting.

We will consider adding this title to our YA collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
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Wow. Dao is so talented. It's a beautiful world where good and evil are not definitive. Hero and villain are one in the same. This is a series I would continue to read.
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Wow! This was fast pacing, entertaining, well-written, riveting story! It’s also dark, depressing and intense with the alluring vibes of Grimm Brothers’ bloody eerie fairy tales meet Tim Burton’s gothic world building. And I have to congratulate the talented illustrator who created this remarkable book cover!

This is extra special event for me to start this book because this is the first time I received an ARC from Disney ( At least 10 rejections later as I see the book at my virtual bookshelf, I thought it was not real! )

The best things I truly enjoyed:
Poignant story line with powerful messages: 

This is not only a magical story about witches’ world, extraordinary abilities, paranormal powers. This is a strong story about trust, loyalty, women’s devoted friendship with feminism vibes. It’s about two broken hearted women’s emotional story who are looking for acceptance of the people surrounded them and their struggle to be a part of world whose people are so adamant to be judgmental, cruel, viciously criticizing. Being different, unique and expressing yourself freely may turn into an unforgettable crime in that world! 

I both love Mathilda and Elva and their strong bound. They were like master and apprentice, elder and young sister kind of close relationship melted my heart.

World building:
Hanau, a small town’s portraits located in 19th century’s Germany, was well described and the cameos of Grimm Brothers who were recently seen at the town’s bar to learn more about magical stories also entertaining. 

Conclusion: Satisfying and intriguing enough to encourage you read the upcoming books of the series! 

Quick summary of the story: Agnes Heinrich and her husband spends all their money to buy a dilapidated cottage at Hanau, for starting fresh. But their neighbor is rumored to be a witch named Mathilda who is shunned away, living isolated, lonely life and Agnes empathizes with her. They also had hard times because of the gossips about her husband’s family. They become friends. 

Agnes wants a big family with kids but she cannot conceive a baby and Mathilda offers her help with her magical powers. Agnes finds herself stuck in dilemma: she has to cut her relationship with Mathilda after getting her help because they may stake their reputation if someone finds out they are friends with town’s witch, but this means she will use Mathilda’s powers for own benefits and break her heart.

And yes, as you may imagine she breaks her friends’ heart and used her powers to become a mother. But this broken wish comes with curse: Her daughter Elva can see the future as she looks at the glass or the reflection of the water. Now Agnes is worried that town’s people may find out her daughter’s powers and exile her from the land.

Elva finds her mom’s correspondences with Mathilda and she realizes she is the only one who may help her which means she needs to go to journey in the North Woods to face with her own destiny and meet with the town’s haunted witch.

Overall: I always mesmerize with the magical, lyrical world of Disney works which brings out singing, dancing inner child of me! I read this book at one sit and I cannot wait to read the other books in near future.

Special thanks to NetGalley and Disney Hyperion for sharing this incredible ARC in exchange my honest thoughts.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this dark fairy tale-esque fantasy. The story takes place in Germany in the 1850s. This is the story of Elva, a girl with the magical ability to see into the past and the future when she looks at a reflection. Elva’s family has been cursed. For every two good things that happen to them, something really bad happens. Elva discovers that perhaps it is a broken promise her mother made years ago that is the cause of this curse. This is also the story of Mathilda, the fabled witch in the woods, and Elva asks for her help in understanding and using her magical ability. 

I really enjoyed how elements of various Grimm’s fairy tales are woven throughout. There is even an awareness in the background of the story that the Brothers Grimm are going around collecting fairy tales. 

I love that this is going to be a series, I assume following different generations of this family as they deal with the family curse. Because of Elva’s ability to see into the future, we even get (very) brief glimpses into what is yet to come in the future books of this series. Each book will have a different author, which is neat, but the other three have their work cut out for them because Dao did an awesome job on this one.
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This is an amazing original fairy tale that I cannot wait to continue with. It follows a young girl who has visions and is living in a time where any sort of magic is feared and ridiculed. Our girl befriends the feared witch in the woods so that she can improve her magic and try to stop one of her visions from coming true. 

This is a great tale of friendship and shows well how ignorant people can be when faced with people who are different than themselves. The magic was interesting and well placed. The main character was lovable and bold. I can't wait to continue with this series!
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Star Rating: 3.75-4

The Mirror project promises to be an ambitious and interesting project, one I'm definitely intrigued to see how it progresses. Four generations. Four stories. I love this concept of a cross-generational fairytale and it all starts here with Broken Wish. Because every family curse starts somewhere.

Broken Wish is the beginning of this saga, and the one I foresee being the most traditional fairytale-esque. Centered in late 1800s Geremany, it definitely unveils the beginning of a Disney-dark fairytale. Witches, spells gone wrong, and unpredictable magic, all under the flag of fighting what it means to be different. My biggest qualm is that this story, while enchanting and very much feels like the beginning of a Disney movie franchise, is just that: a beginning. Instead of standing on its own as it's own book, Broken Wish very much feels more like a prequel novella, with the real, true story on its way.

The characters are all archetypes you know, and not all of them have much depth. The story is easy to digest in the way that Disney encourages their books to be: clean prose and straight forward story. It's YA in the way of the Twisted Tales series, which also means the writing level is more geared towards younger YA readers and MG-aged readers.

Still, I'm honestly still excited for the stories to follow. While this is more like an introduction, I love the concept of this interconnected, multigenerational story. There's so many symbols and the like that I'm eager to see how they're carried over, and the next installment already sounds like it will promise heavier topics while extending the witchy feel outside classic Grimm Bros. era and into 1920s New Orleans.

Even though Broken Wish as a standalone doesn't feel as strong of a story as it could be, it has all the potential to hold the keys to a magnificent unraveling as The Mirror series continues!
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From the first sentence I loved this book. I like the author’s style and the plot is well done. The cover is beautiful but it’s also a little small and I can’t fully see all the details online.
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I find myself slowly getting sick of stories that don't seem to have any overarching effects on anyone but themselves and their family. This book is, in one word, boring. Not a lot happens, and even though it's only 320 pages, it feels too long. None of the characters seem to have a reasonable motivation for what they do to themselves and to other people. I couldn't finish it, so the rest of my criticism may be wrapped up, but here's what really annoyed me. Why doesn't Elva tell her parents when she gets blackmailed? Her family is super affluent, and the person who blackmails her is a farm boy. Who would the townspeople side with? We all know the answer. What does Elva want in life? She seems to just be floating around, doing whatever suits her fancy, and not really having any motivation to do anything. There was absolutely no foreshadowing to the betrayal she goes through, and there was not enough build up for me to really care when it happened. The biggest issue I had though, is WHY DIDN'T MATHILDA JUST LEAVE? Like really, everyone hates you, why not move to a less bigoted town, or how about a city? Why does she stay when she stays alone all day every day with people coming by to threaten to kill her? It makes absolutely no sense. Also, why did Elva's mom just drop Mathilda? She knew there would be a curse and did it anyway. And then anytime anything bad happens, she rues the day, as if she didn't totally bring it upon herself. And did she try to go make amends? Of course not! It made no sense. If they became friends again, the promise may have held up, but her mom, like the rest of the characters, doesn't seem to care about anything but vanity and how people will view them, even over the safety of her children. Overall, this was a serious disapointment.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for giving me the opportunity to read and review an ARC of Broken Wish. I have not read anything from Julie C. Dao before, but I must say that I like her storytelling. This book has the essence of Disney stories, but with a bit of a darker ending.

I really enjoyed the characters within this book. Though not everyone was fully developed, the reader can get a sense of the personalities of each character. The most developed character I would say is Mathilda, the witch of the North Woods, and she was one of my favorite ones in the entire book. Her ability to cast spells is something that she’s made some mistakes with, but she has a genuine heart. However, so many can’t see pass her past mistakes, which I think speaks volumes to the theme of acceptance in this book.

Aside from the theme of acceptance, there is also a great lesson about not caring what others think. So much of Mathilda’s loneliness was what others may think about those who spend time with her. Because townspeople called her a witch, going to Mathilda’s house “wasn’t okay.” However, when getting to know Mathilda better, it’s easy to see that she’s misunderstood and people were simply afraid of her.

Due to this being a Disney fairy tale, there were several plot points that were fairly predictable. Without giving too much away, breaking promises lead to severe consequences and dabbing into too much magic can lead to some devastating results were a couple of predictable story beats. In addition, there were certain characters who appeared one way and then we learn their true colors. These were also not very surprising.

With all of this being said, I did enjoy reading Broken Wish. I especially thought it was cute that the author gave a small nod to the Brothers Grimm here. I will definitely look into Julie C. Dao’s other books! I would recommend this quick read to those who enjoy fairy tales written in a Disney-style way with a bit of darker ending.
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I received a copy from Netgalley for an honest review.

In the fashion of a fairytale, Broken Wish (The Mirror, #1) is a story about friendship, the implications of a broken promise, and the power of magic. I appreciated the premise of the story and liked Dao's descriptions, especially the settings, like the forest and Mathilde's cottages.

Journeying with the characters, I was annoyed with Agnes for breaking her promise but liked Elva and Mathilda and their growing friendship, which teaches a positive message about connecting with others, free of judgement and prejudice. There were some transitions that could've been smoother and areas where the dialogue felt stilted. But, overall, this was a nice story with positives messages that I believe can be enjoyed, especially by middle grade readers.

Thank you, Netgalley.
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This is a retelling of a combination of several classic fairy tale themes.  Set in the mid 1800s, with references to the stories the Brothers Grimm are compiling, this engaging tale includes witches, magic, inborn and learned abilities, and universal themes such as friendship, keeping promises, family and relationships, and trust for those around you.  Oskar and Agnes leave their home because of a bad family situation, and purchase a cottage near the village of Hanau.  Their nearest, and somewhat mysterious neighbor, Mathilda, leaves them a housewarming gift, which begins an ongoing correspondence and exchange of gifts between Mathilda and Agnes.  Eventually they meet, and Mathilda, while denying she is a witch, as the village believes, offers to help them with their dearest wist:  to have a child.  She has only one condition; that Agnes remain her friend.  Due to Oskar's concerns about the village gossips, Agnes breaks her promise, with consequences that extend through her entire life, and affect her entire family, even the village - but most particularly her daughter, Elva.  In classic fairy tale fashion, what goes around, comes around - leaving Elva to decide how she will resolve the issues she has inherited.  An enchanting story based on elements of several classic fairy tales.
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I am not going to lie, I loved it. And I'm way past the age of young adult, but I love fairy tales, and the cover is what drew me. The Mirror: Broken Wish does an excellent job in leading us into the magic of fairy tales. It shows us in an easy to read narrative about morals and magic and decision-making.

I love that Elva has a love of art. I wish that it had been touched upon a little more. I felt that she was a very real feeling/ well developed character in a fairy tale novel. I thought this was a fast and sweet read and the perfect escapism on a hot sunny day. I definitely recommend this book to lovers of fairy tales, regardless of age.

I would like to thank Julie C. Dao, Disney Publishing Worldwide and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this novel and exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Every family curse starts somewhere. This one just so happens to involve a stunning story about women at the margins of society—women who seek acceptance, form life-changing friendships, and stand up for each other even when it puts them at odds with the people they love.

The Mirror is an upcoming four-book Disney series that follows the descendants of one cursed family. Their history spans four cities and nearly two centuries, taking us from a tiny German town to the speakeasies of New Orleans, to San Francisco and finally the skyscrapers of post-9/11 New York. And Broken Wish kicks off this saga off with a flourish.

Hanau, Germany, 1848: Agnes Heinrich befriends a mysterious woman on the hill, the one they call witch. The friendship that blossoms between Agnes and this woman, Mathilda, is pure and uplifting—until the day Agnes betrays Mathilda with cruel coldness, breaking a promise that will haunt her family for generations. 

Hanau, Germany, 1865: For sixteen years, Elva Heinrich—Agnes’s daughter and the result of her betrayal nearly two decades ago—has struggled to repress her magical abilities: when she looks into a reflective surface, the visions she sees will inevitably come true. But when she glimpses a devastating future for her family, Elva ventures into the mysterious North Woods to find the only person who can help and understand her now: the witch Mathilda.

I think in a lot of ways, the women of Disney find themselves fighting for the same fervent wish: to be accepted for who they are. It’s certainly the case for bookish Belle, who simply wants a Gaston-free life to read and love her father. Mulan literally fights for the right to unabashedly own her accomplishments and bravery. Merida and Pocahontas strive to control their own destinies, albeit in different ways, while Elsa isolates herself in ice and fear because she believes that she will never be accepted for who she is: a woman capable of world-altering magic. 

With this rich legacy before them, Mathilda and Elva grapple with similar dilemmas. Mathilda lives deep in the North Woods, shunned by the townspeople of Hanau and surrounded by a miasma of cruel taunts and rumours. Meanwhile, Elva leads a seemingly normal life in Hanau with her loving family and handsome Willem—but all her life, Elva has been told she is unnatural and dangerous. When Mathilda teaches Elva the value and beauty of her abilities, and Elva in turn coaxes hope for friendship into Mathilda’s heart, the girl and the woman help each other make that wish—acceptance—come true.

And Broken Wish captured these themes with utter lyricism. Julie C. Dao’s prose is tidy and lush, sketching out scenes and details without much fanfare but with great vividness. I get major Shannon Hale and Gail Carson Levine vibes from her writing and world-building—but most of all I see the same themes that make Elphaba from Wicked someone who is heartachingly compelling. 

Mathilda’s loneliness is so palpable throughout the book. She has fortified her heart with thorns to ensure that she cannot be betrayed again—not by a man she once dared to love, not by a friend she loved enough to trust. Like Elphaba, Mathilda is pushed and pressed and goaded into becoming the very thing she never was: cold and hardened.

I really adored this one, y’all. Mathilda and Elva let no man come between them—though many try—and that was SO uplifting. And though their ending is far from happy, their love for each other ends up changing each of them… for good. 

CONCLUSION: Broken Wish gives voice to the women at the margins of fairy tale society, in a story that’s both gutting and uplifting. I absolutely CANNOT wait to see how the story will continue—in New Orleans, with a Heinrich boy and a Black girl with enchanted shoes…
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A sweet fairytale of a story.  Elva's mother befriends the local witch.  The two women strike a bargain. The witch will help the mother attain her heart's desire.  In return the mother will not forsake their friendship.  That promise is broken and the rest of the story deals with the consequences of that broken trust.

The book is about being different and learning to accept that difference whether or not the rest of society does so.

As with all fairytales, this book is suitable for adults as well as young readers.

I was given a free ARC.  I am leaving my honest review.
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The Mirror: Broken Wish is a dark fairytale/fable in the vein of Grimm. What starts with a sweet relationship between Agnes and Mathilda spirals in a warning about promises and the consequences of breaking them and on another level the themes of friendship, betrayal, prejudice and isolation are woven in.

The writing is magical, transporting you with perfectly chosen details into the world and allowing you to both see and the women as well as their surroundings. It wasn't what happened with Agnes and Mathilda that really swept me away, when perspectives shifted to Elva I was unable to put the story down.

Elva, like Mathilda, has gifts, though what made them such strong characters was their inner beauty and strength. These were the kind of women who are true heroes. They are taken from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other simply because the magic they possess scares/is judged as evil by everyone, even ones you would least expect. Every aspect is painted with a lovely juxtaposition of hope and heartbreak.

The tension holds steady through but as the end neared I found myself holding my breath and frustrated that I couldn't read faster as my heart raced with anticipation. That end, my emotions, the power. If you like a darker edge in your fairytales/fables this is must read.

I can't wait to get my hands on the next part in this series.
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I have always loved Disney movies, characters, books ect.. so I was very excited to find a book combining my favorite elements of fantasy and Disney!  This book was fast-paced and easy to follow along,  it would be great for pre-teens to adults alike!  This book takes place in the late 1800’s Germany in a small village by a magical forest.  The main character Elva is a 16 year old girl who is kind and spirited but also had a secret...she can see the future on reflective surfaces (water, mirrors, ect.)!   Her parents fear for her safety and tell Elva not to tell anyone what she can do, out of fear people will think her a witch.  They have witnessed how badly anyone thought to be a witch is treated.  Elva keeps them to herself until one day she sees a terrifying vision of a storm that will destroy everything her family has!  She decides to take matters into her own hands and seek the help of Matilda,  a witch who once thought of Elva’s mother as a friend.  This story contains lessons such as importance of family and friendship, the power of prejudice, and the consequences of broken promises.  I can’t wait for the next book to see what happens next! 

#TheMirrorBrokenWish  #NetGalley
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What a great start! 
Book #1 in a new series by Disney publishing. This had everything I love in a tale. The Storyline was captivating, and did not disappoint once.  Family, friendship, love, good & bad (according to some of the characters). Don't want to give  away much but ties into some German Grimm, magic, mirrors, snow white, witches.  Fantastic story all around and I absolutely cannot wait for the next one. I would love to add it in print form to my collection and the rest of the series if they are just as well written.  I received a digital copy of this in exchange for my honest review from netgalley and Disney publishing.
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