I was really enjoying listening to Water Mirror on CD until I got to about the middle of the book and an envoy of the princes of Hell arrived. Seriously, I did not see the book headed in that direction (or at least part of me was in denial that it was headed that direction). Much like Cornelia Funke, Kai Meyers is a popular German author of fantasy for children/young adults, but only recently translated into English and published in the US.
The book begins with two orphaned girls, Junipa and Merle, being delivered to be apprentices to Arcimboldo, a creator of magic mirrors in the city of Venice. The girls are instant friends. Both girls are unusual; Merle was found as a baby floating in the canals in a basket that also contained a magic mirror. Junipa is blind, but Arcimboldo puts mirror glass in her eyes, which allows her to see for the first time. After a party, Merle and another apprentice overhear city councilors who have captured the essence of the Flowing Queen who protects Venice from Egyptian Invaders. Merle steals the vial that contains the essence of the Flowing Queen and drinks it before the men can turn the vial over to the Egyptians. Thus Merle joins the Flowing Queen in a quest to escape the city and find help to save Venice for the Egyptians.
I hated the part of this book where Hell opened up so an envoy could offer an alliance to protect Venice. It was especially creepy listening to it because the reader voices every other character in the book with mild variation, but his voice gets all computer distorted and high-pitched screechy for the representative from Hell. It was like fingernails on a chalk board.
I also am not a fan of books that have no conclusion. I knew that this is part of a series, but I prefer books that wrap up at least some of the plot instead of leaving you completely hanging. I want to know that Harry Potter temporarily escaped Voldemort even if I don’t know that he’s won the war; and I want to know that Percy Jackson finished his latest quest even if I don’t know if ultimately he is the Hero who will save the Greek Gods. Water Mirror stopped abruptly a third of the way through the story and seems very incomplete. It didn’t seem like a stand alone novel. Readers who enjoy it can already pick up the second book, Pirate Curse, but they’ll have to wait patiently for the third.