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Mirrorscape

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Prepare to enter the Mirrorscape–a world where the bizarre is commonplace and logic makes no sense.

Melkin Womper is thrilled to escape his dull future as a village weaver and develop his artistic talent when he’s apprenticed to Ambrosius Blenk, one of Vlam’s most famous masters. Mel is especially excited by the colors that he’ ll be able to use, since color is a very expensive Pleasure, strictly controlled ...
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Mirrorscape

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Overview

Prepare to enter the Mirrorscape–a world where the bizarre is commonplace and logic makes no sense.

Melkin Womper is thrilled to escape his dull future as a village weaver and develop his artistic talent when he’s apprenticed to Ambrosius Blenk, one of Vlam’s most famous masters. Mel is especially excited by the colors that he’ ll be able to use, since color is a very expensive Pleasure, strictly controlled by the sinister Fifth Mystery.

Mel can’t wait to enjoy the wonders of the grand city and begin his important work for Blenk. Instead, his dreams are quickly crushed by the reality of days filled with unimportant tasks and bullying by the other apprentices whose wealthy families have purchased their positions. Still, the promise of working under the great Blenk and studying his legendary paintings makes the misery bearable.

But when Mel and his new friends, Ludo and Wren, inadvertently stumble into a battle between the Fifth Mystery and the Rainbow Rebellion, an underground band fighting to make Pleasures affordable for all, the trio must step through Blenk’s paintings into the Mirrorscape. In this alternative world, the friends encounter monsters, mazes, talking houses, angels, and more.

Hugely original and deeply compelling, Mirrorscape is a thrilling adventure filled with the beautiful and the bizarre, the fantastical and the frightening, and entry into an incredibly visual, secret world, where the ultimate weapons are pigment, a paintbrush, and the power of imagination.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Wilks (The Ultimate Alphabet) launches a trilogy with this adventure set in a world where imagination has power and art is literally alive. Melkin (Mel) Womper, a talented young artist, is given the chance of a lifetime when he's selected to study under the famous painter, Ambrosius Blenk. This puts him at odds with the sinister Adolfus Spute, who represents the Fifth Mystery, one of five organizations with a stranglehold on everything that involves the five senses (the Fifth Mystery controls color). It also brings him the enmity of Blenk's lazy, drunken head apprentice, Groot. Together, these enemies make life difficult for Mel and his new friends, Ludo and Wren. Soon after Mel discovers the secret of passing through certain paintings into the Mirrorscape, a surreal alternate world that exists within the paintings, Spute launches an all-out attack on Blenk. Devilish angels, walking houses, impossible contraptions and monsters galore collide in a no-holds-barred battle of the brushes. Wilks creates a chaotic, whimsical romp that will appeal to the mind's eye. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)\
VOYA - Beth Karpas
This engaging story will attract fantasy readers and art lovers of any age. It is reminiscent of the artistic fantasies of Patricia McKillip's Ombria in Shadow (Ace Books, 2002/VOYA June 2002) and Tim Bowler's River Boy (Margaret K. McElderry/S & S, 2000/ VOYA ) combined with the magical worlds of Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth, and seasoned with artwork from the surrealist movement. Wilks is a surrealistic visual artist; his words create pictures here, bringing alive the art that is central to this book's world, as well as its characters. The premise is simple: Mel, a young boy from the poorest, drabbest part of the country, is an artist. When his work comes before the nation's foremost artist, Mel is offered a free apprenticeship. At the bottom of the totem pole in the master's studio, he is left to scrub floors. Mel is a very smart boy who uncovers secrets and puzzles as easily as he sketches faces. He discovers there is magic in the painting—literally. Soon Mel is wandering through worlds where fish fly, time runs backward, wooden creatures mine mountains of inspiration, and angels love devilry. He comes close to death, but it is a fantasy and all will live happily ever after. A bit of British jargon in this import should be no problem for the generation raised on Harry Potter. This reviewer can easily see teachers and librarians planning art/literature crossover units based on this volume. Reviewer: Beth Karpas
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—The first in a planned trilogy, this well-written adventure will appeal to fantasy fans. The only child of a poor weaver, Mel Womper is a talented though untrained artist. When he is apprenticed to a master painter, he realizes that the imaginary creatures he has always loved to paint might actually exist. There is a way to step into a painting and travel through the Mirrorscape, a universe made up of various artworks joined together. In this amazing place, anything an artist imagines can come to life. As Mel soon discovers, Master Blenk's enemies are ruthless in their attempts to win control over the artist and gain access to the Mirrorscape. When Blenk disappears, it's up to Mel, with the help of his new friends, to use his innate sensitivity and creativity to fight the forces of evil. Though rich in detail, the narrative moves at a quick pace. The characters are interesting and well developed. Strange hybrid creatures, a talking house, and the textures of paint and canvas all blend together to create a fascinating world full of color and magic.—Melissa Moore, Union University Library, Jackson, TN
Kirkus Reviews
Elevated suddenly from village weaver's son to apprentice of the city of Vlam's most eminent living painter, young Melkin Womper also finds himself cast into the middle of a vicious civil conflict in this tumultuous trilogy opener. Mel gets off to a rough start but thanks to native wit, uncommon artistic talent and a pair of sidekicks (one a great clockmaker's equally gifted daughter, the other a well-meaning frenemy), he ultimately plays a pivotal role in helping his master Ambrosius Blenk counter the murderous attacks of a corrupt ministry called the Fifth Mystery. Better yet, much of the action takes place not in Vlam but within a series of magical landscape paintings-some stocked with a rousing array of Hieronymus Bosch-style monsters. Positively riddled with captures, rescues and hair's-breadth escapes, not to mention melodramatically sinister villains and quirky artistic types, this airy romp makes a refreshing change of pace from the general run of high-toned sword-and-sorcery epics. (Fantasy. 11-13)
From the Publisher
"An endearing hero, a cast of incredible characters, and a plot that will keep you breathlessly turning the pages. Mirrorscape is magical and enthralling." -Jenny Nimmo, author of the Charlie Bone series.
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Enter a dismal world where pleasures are controlled by five Mysteries in the first title (Egmont, 2009) in a projected trilogy by Mike Wilks. Mel Womper loves to draw and is offered an apprenticeship under the master painter, Ambrosias Blenk. From the beginning, he runs into trouble with the fifth Mystery, which controls color, the backbone of the art world. The head apprentice, Groot, doesn't like the addition of Mel to the ranks. Doomed to perform menial tasks under Groot's rule, Mel is befriended by Ludo, a fellow apprentice, and the kitchen girl, Wren. The adventure begins when Mel witnesses the Master doing something secretive in his office. Then Mel and Ludo stumble into Mirrorscape, the worlds within paintings where imagination exists. Just like the Narnia books, time passes slowly in Mirrorscape, affording the friends the ability to move in and out of reality. They become embroiled in a battle between the Fifth Mystery and the Rainbow Rebellion, and only wit and imagination can help them survive. Wilks builds a rich background around art and the world of painting. Fantastic creatures and extraordinary events fill the pages and the use of literary elements is well done, but at times it is difficult to feel a deep connection to the characters and events taking place. Paul English is masterful in his pacing and performance, giving each character a distinct voice and bringing energy to the tale.—Robyn Gioia, Bolles School, Ponte Vedra, FL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781606840085
  • Publisher: EgmontUSA
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Pages: 352
  • Age range: 10 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 750L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Mike Wilks is an award-winning artist and the bestselling author of The Ultimate Alphabet and The Ultimate Noah's Ark. His paintings, which have been described as "meticulous and eye-bending," can be found in public and private collections in the US and Europe. Mirrorscape is the first installment in his middle-grade trilogy.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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(3)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Fun Read

    A solid 3.87. :)

    Mel and his friends live in a world where anything a person can experience through the five senses is governed by a mystery for each sense. The mysteries are kind of like guilds, and are very stingy when it comes to pleasures. Want to use color to paint something? It will cost you. Want to make a candied roll instead of bread? Most of the bakers can't afford to pay for the pleasure. The pleasures have set themselves up like kingdoms complete with their own sheriffs and bailiffs to make sure no one is using a pleasure without paying for it. But of all the mysteries, the fifth mystery (dealing with anything visual) is the greatest of the all. I really, really liked the world building and the rules governing the magic of the mirrorscape.

    Mel discovers that certain paintings contain a mirrormark that allows a person to travel inside a painting. All paintings with mirrormarks connect to each other. This is a concept I've been playing around with in my own writing, so it was really interesting to see how Mike Wilks handled this. Something I really enjoyed was how the paintings took on a life of their own after the mirrormark had been applied. There were literally worlds within worlds.

    The only thing that kept this from being a near five for me was how distant the POV was. I found myself wanting the POV to be much deeper as I read. I think this would have helped me connect with the characters a little better. I know that part of that comes down to personal taste. I just felt like there was a wall between me and the characters for most of the time. A deeper POV would have fixed this. It also had a distinctly British feel to me for some reason.

    With all of the fantastical monsters, I think this would definitely appeal to boys, but I think girls could enjoy MIRRORSCAPE as well.

    I was given a copy to review by the publisher.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2010

    EXCELLENT BOOK

    A must read book.

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  • Posted May 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Theresa L. Stowell for TeensReadToo.com

    Imagine being able to enter the world inside a painting. Curious creatures, strange landscapes, and interesting characters could lead you into realms beyond imagination.

    Melkin Womper has found a way to experience worlds that only special artists can create. As this thirteen-year-old struggles to adapt to life as an apprentice to master artist Ambrosius Blenk, he sets off on an adventure that could change his life.

    Along with his friends, Wren and Ludo, Mel must decide where his loyalties lie and whether he should aid in a rebellion that could turn his world upside down. The three must also fight against the brutality of Groot, the head apprentice, and his uncle, Adolphus Spute, the High Bailiff of Vlam.

    Published previously in the United Kingdom, this first book in a series has finally made it to U.S. audiences. You'll look forward to the U.S. publication of the following books in the series, as Wilks' fantasy world will captivate readers of all ages.

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  • Posted June 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Will Surely Captivate Any Reader's Heart and Mind!

    "Mirrorscape," by Mike Wilks is the first installment in what is going to be the "Mirrorscape" trilogy when finished. With illustrious words, the author expertly describes every detail, creating a perfect image in the reader's mind although there are no illustrations throughout the book. Full of many heart-thumping moments, humorous scenes, and lovable characters, this book will surely captivate any reader's heart and mind!
    I bought the UK edition of this book off of Amazon UK, which is why I already have read it. I am extremely excited and happy that there is finally going to be a US edition!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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