by M.J. Putney
Reading Grade: Young Adult (short story)
Publishing Type: traditional
Publication Date: March 4, 2011
Source: Kindle store (freebie)
Age Rating: 12+
Allarde, a gorgeous, wealthy noble has hidden his true nature. Discover his diary and witness his sudden fall from grace.
In this short story prequel to the Dark Mirror novel series, we read the diary of Allarde, an English aristocrat with secret magical abilities. At first, he is attending England's finest boarding school, but he reveals his abilities in order to save a fellow student from harm. Because he is an aristocrat with magic, not just a commoner, he is considered evil and has to be ousted from all good society.
His father sends him to a reform school for aristocrats where he learns how to suppress his magic in order to regain some privileges of his former life. But, he meets some other young people there who don't want to pretend to be something they're not, and finds himself considering their philosophy. Also, he meets the protagonist of the novels, Lady Victoria Mansfield, as she arrives at the reform school toward the end of the short story. It ends with hints at his immediate romantic interest in her.
I haven't read any of these novels, yet, but I doubt it's necessary to do so prior to reading this short story. I was a bit disoriented at first, but I found my feet after a while. Allarde is a really likable character, even if we don't get to know him all that well in such a short reading time, but he's an interesting character to follow further. I purchased Dark Mirror (the first novel) prior to reading this, and I'm so glad I did. I want to learn more about this intriguing world of magic users, and why the wealthiest practitioners are ostracized.
My score: 4 out of 5 stars.