The Egyptian Mirror by Michael Bedard. Pajama Press, 2021. 9781772781106
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
What did you like about the book? Thirteen year old Simon is suffering from a mysterious illness, so he’s home a lot, looking out his bedroom window. He gets to know an elderly neighbor, Mr. Hawkins, who collects mirrors. In fact, Mr. Hawkins is writing a book about mirrors throughout history, entitled “Soul Catchers.” Simon becomes interested in mirrors, since Hawkins’ home is full of them. He is especially intrigued by the ancient Egyptian mirror hanging in the living room. At times, it seems that there are cloudy images trying to rise to its surface from the beyond. In typical teen fashion, he shares these visions with nobody, until Mr. Hawkins dies. Then a kid in his neighborhood, Abbey, brings him homework, and he finally shares the mystery of the mirror with her, and also his theories about the creepy people who claim to be Mr. Hawkins’ relatives, who are going through the house with a fine tooth comb, seeming to search for something. As his illness gets worse, Simon questions himself, but Abbey believes him, and the two come up with a plan to find the Egyptian mirror and examine it themselves.
This is an engrossing read, combining mysterious supernatural events with a mysterious illness, and the reader is unsure if they are related. A “vast malevolence” from ancient Egyptian mythology will ensnare the imagination of readers who like mythological fantasy tie-ins. It’s a quieter, more introspective fantasy than many recent mythological fantasies.
Anything you didn’t like about it? I found the cover underwhelming. The action builds very slowly – those who stay with the book will be rewarded by an exciting second half, but some readers may not last.
To whom would you recommend this book? For ages 10-14, for fans of quieter fantasy and of Egyptian mythology
Who should buy this book? Elementary and middle school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: March 26, 2021