Author: Leah Cypess
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: April 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages
ISBN-10: 0061956996 (Harper/Greenwillow)
ISBN-13: 978-0061956997 (Harper/Greenwillow)
Synopsis (Product Description):
The Shifter is an immortal creature bound by an ancient spell to protect the kings of Samorna. When the realm is peaceful, she retreats to the Mistwod.
But when she is needed she always comes.
Isabel remembers nothing. Nothing before the prince rode into her forest to take her back to the castle. Nothing about who she is supposed to be, or the powers she is supposed to have.
Prince Rokan needs Isabel to be his Shifter. He needs her ability to shift to animal form, to wind, to mist. He needs her lethal speed and superhuman strength. And he needs her loyalty–because without it, she may be his greatest threat.
Isabel knows that her prince is lying to her, but she can’t help wanting to protect him from the dangers and intrigues of the court . . . until a deadly truth shatters the bond between them.
Now Isabel faces a choice that threatens her loyalty, her heart . . . and everything she thought she knew.
Quick & Dirty: This books premise is interesting, but it never fulfills its promise.
Opening Sentence: She knew every inch of the forest, every narrow path that twisted and wound its way beneath the silver branches.
Prince Rokan braves the “magical” forest in search of The Shifter. The Shifter has many abilities and cunning skills that will come in handy for the protection that Prince Rokan is so desperately seeking. The Shifter is bound to serve and protect the Kings of Samorna, and Prince Rokan will do anything to protect his throne. The problem is that The Shifter, Isabel, has no memory of her existence. She doesn’t even know how to shift. Isabel struggles to regain her memory, and identify the threat of which Prince Rokan is so fearful. Betrayals, dangers and lies unfold as Isabel searches for clues and answers.
The execution of this fantasy tale doesn’t quite live up to the promise of the story. Unfortunately, Mistwood can’t overcome an absence of a solid plot and lackluster characters. I never felt as if I got to know the characters. The pacing of the book is also slow and I was always hoping for something exciting to happen. I expected a much more gripping story. Reading about betrayal, loyalty, and political intrigue should have been a very fulfilling experience, yet the story fell flat. Most of the various plot points were fairly predictable.
Initially, I thought that Isabel was an interesting character. Ultimately, the way in which her character is crafted made her hollow. I understand that Ms. Cypess wanted to convey Isabel’s internal struggles with her identity, but I never felt it, let alone cared about it. In my opinion, despite all of Isabel’s struggles, she had little depth.
The romantic elements in the book are quite thin. Romance doesn’t always have to be woven into the story for me to enjoy it, but if it is, then it should be believable. I had a hard time believing that Prince Rokan and Isabel actually shared a romantic connection. I think the romance comes off as forced, unfulfilling, and not present enough for it to be an integral part of the story.
The character that I enjoyed the most was Clarisse, Rokan’s sister. Her character definitely surprised me. Beyond all of the plotting and scheming, she’s an intelligent and strong character. She’s definitely a scene stealer.
I don’t have an issue with the writing style of the book, but the world-building wasn’t enough to draw me in. Many aspects of the kingdom aren’t fully realized. The readers are told that Mistwood is this magical forest, yet nothing about it seems or feels all that magical.
Overall, Mistwood is just a so-so read. While I did enjoy parts of the book, I was also fairly bored. There is too much dull dialog and the seemingly cold heroine is unsympathetic.
If she had been human, it would have ended right there. But she was the Shifter, and when the moment ended she was still fast enough to snatch a goblet off the table and throw it with deadly accuracy. It hit the knife and shattered, and Rokan turned just in time to take the blade in his shoulder.
FTC Advisory: Harper Teen provided me with a copy of Mistwood. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. In addition, I don’t receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.
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