Gender Roles, Identity & Sexual Orientation:
Characters confront the gender-based behaviour expectations of the time period.
Portraits and reflections come alive and go on a murderous rampage. Relatives of the protagonist keep her imprisoned and try to kill her. Angry mobs take over the streets, threatening lives.
The protagonist's relatives keep her locked up, forcing her to work as a portrait painter and not letting her out of the house. They defend their actions by spreading false rumours that she is mentally ill. Young teens are left at home alone while parents travel. Mira's mother is trying to arrange a marriage for her, although she is only thirteen years old.
A main character smokes cigarettes. Young teens are left at home alone while parents travel.
Do the social considerations support, rather than detract from, student learning?
The plot requires the violence depicted in this suspenseful action-adventure story; it could be classified as a horror novel, suitable for middle-grade readers. The villains use portraits and reflections that come to life to commit the violence with unrealistic methods; this use of fantasy diminishes the risk of frightening young readers. Furthermore, the emphasis is on the action with scant details about injuries and no depiction of suffering. The heroine thwarts her uncle's attempt to murder her, but then rather than seeking revenge, she rescues him. Mira defies gender roles. It was important for the plot that one character is a smoker as he needed to supply a lighter at a crucial moment.