December 31, 2010

Mistwood by Leah Cypess

Date Started: December 2010
Date finished: December 22, 2010

Summary: Isabel is a shifter and she has been "captured" by the Prince to protect him. Isabel has to struggle to relearn her fading powers and deal with a shocking secret that tests her loyalties.

Likes: I liked the concept of the novel. An all powerful Shifter from legend, learning to adapt and re-learn her skills and protect a Prince. I also like the idea of someone who has a duty to two people, like a servant with two masters. I was curious to see who Isabel's allegiances belonged to and how she going to justify her decisions. I have to say my favorite character was Clarisse. She stood out to me because she was the one with the most personality. She was bitter, cold, and calculating. I liked her and I think she was the most dynamic character in the story. The story and folklore surrounding the Shifter was pretty cool as well. I like the fact that she didn't really live up to the legend in the way that people were expecting and maybe even hoping for.

Dislikes: I liked this novel well enough, but it felt like something was missing that I can't exactly pinpoint. I just wanted more. More battles, more political intrigue, more betrayal, and even more romance (which is weird because I'm not a fan of romance) Perhaps it was the POV too, the third person omniscient felt a little distancing in my opinion and could have possibly worked better in first person. I also felt that there wasn't enough hints dropped early on to justify the plot twists at the end and the twists come a little too late for me. I know that the twists serve to help the reader and Isabel understand her problem, but I think the story suffered a bit because we don't get enough of how Isabel reacts to that problem. What if she had learned these important things early on? It would definitely have heightened the tension even more. The stakes weren't high enough because Isabel was pretty distant and it was hard to connect to the characters.

Overall: This is another case in which I liked the writing more than the story itself.(i.e. Graceling, which I actually like a bit more) It was reminiscent of a fairytale, which can be whimsical but runs the risk of telling too much and not showing enough and distancing us from the characters. Maybe I just don't like YA fantasy as much as I think/want to because every time I read it, I'm a bit disappointed. I'm always in love with the writing because it is the classic fairytale/fable type of writing, but maybe since that's a standard of the genre, I'm expecting something to just blow me out of the water with characters I can connect too. Unfortunately, this book didn't do it for me either.

Recommend by: My friend, U, got this book at the library and the cover was pretty so I wanted to read it. My other friend, T, read it as well. I think the consensus is that it was all right, but not great. It treads lightly and it kind of reads like a polished draft, but definitely could have used some expansion. That being said, I'm interested in what other works this author puts out. I'm always trying to convince myself that I like YA fantasy, this book hasn't convinced me, but I'm willing to give this author another try simply because I like her style. 

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