Darwen Arkwright is a proper Northern English boy who finds himself living with his aunt in Atlanta. He is a fish out of water, he doesn’t talk like everyone else and he has no idea what the other kids are about. One day in the mall he sees a strange bird and follows it into Mr. Octavius Peregrine’s Reflectory Emporium: Mirrors Priceless and Perilous. Mr. Peregrine gives him a mirror that turns out to be a portal to another world. Silbrica is a strange and wonderful world that has all kinds of creatures. There are good things like Moth the dellfey, but there are also dangerous ones like the gnashers and scrobblers and shades. Darwen is also dealing with his new school, Hillside Academy, and the students and teachers there. The teachers are hard on him for not knowing what they are teaching and the students make fun of him for his accent and lack of knowledge. Darwen does make a couple of friends: eccentric Alex and scientific Rich. Together they explore Silbrica and try to discover what is happening there.
I thought this was a good fantasy novel that boys especially will enjoy. There is a lot of action and adventure and danger throughout the novel. I guess my problem with the book was the characters. While Darwen, Rich and Alex are well thought out characters, everyone else seems very one dimensional and over the top. The adults especially were a little hard to swallow. However, it is an enjoyable read and I like the world Hartley created in Silbrica.