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Beyond the Reflection's Edge Review by Susan K. Marlow

By Bryan Davis
5300 Patterson Ave. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49530

Beyond the Reflection's Edge is the first book in the Echoes from the Edge trilogy. It definitely falls into the fantasy genre and is intended for young adult readers or older. The 373 pages fly at a breakneck pace, hurtling the reader along with barely enough time to draw a breath.

The question is, where is the reader going? Beyond the Reflection's Edge opens with the grisly murder of 16-year-old Nathan's parents. Left with a few notes from his father's work and a mirror that shows strange, surreal images--especially when he plays classical music on his violin--Nathan goes into hiding. He eventually teams up with Kelly, the daughter of his late father's friend. The two teens are convinced the mirror is the key to unraveling the mystery of Nathan's parents' deaths. When reflections of people and things that shouldn't exist appear in the mirror, Nathan and Kelly are plunged into an alternate dimension (or two). There Nathan discovers that the killers want the mirror, and the teens are on the run to unlock the secret of alternate universes.

Fantasy is a unique genre. Sometimes the plot is fairly easy to follow, as in Lord of the Rings. Occasionally, fantasy and science fiction merge, and the concepts become so far "out there" that the reader flies from one chapter to the next, not knowing exactly what is going on. I found this to be the case with Beyond the Reflection's Edge. I had trouble figuring out which "earth" our heroes were on during any given chapter: red earth, blue earth, or yellow earth (each representing an alternate dimension where time moves at a different speed). Nathan and Kelly are drawn through the mirror many times to try to stop the evil guys, who are also jumping from one dimension to the next--but some of the bad guys are actually good guys. Confusing?

However, Beyond the Reflection's Edge is well written, and the references to trusting God and living for Him are strong. Nathan is a dedicated Christian--a great role model and a breath of fresh air from some of the "Christian" heroes sneaking into young adult fiction these days. He is a loving son who had a wonderful relationship with his parents, and he isn't afraid to remember them in that way. At no time does he fail in his commitment to be true to his Lord. During the course of the story, unbeliever Kelly comes to recognize Nathan's very real faith and is drawn to it in a believable way.

Teen boys who live and breathe fantasy will enjoy this book. They are probably the only ones who will be able to figure out what is going on. To quote one of the characters, Gunther (a good guy): "This dimensional stuff is too deep for me." I agree. It is too deep for me too.

Product review by: Susan K. Marlow, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2008