Mistwood by Leah CypessMistwood #1
Published on April 26, 2011 by Greenwillow Books
Genres: Adult, Young Adult
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Isabel remembers 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, her lethal speed, and her 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.
OverviewMistwood showed all the potential of a great YA fantasy but failed in the execution with flat characters, a confusing plot, and passive writing style.
If you were to create Mistwood from a recipe, you’d see one part magical forest, a dash of shifter skills, one smattering of princely awe, and sprinkles of intrigue amid a kingdom on the verge of turmoil. All elements I often enjoy in a book. But when this one was baked through, the inside remained uncooked and raw.
Truly, it’s a sad day when a book promises so much and fails in the execution. Everything it needed to be a delightfully magical read was there, yet it fell apart.
Isabel reminded me of a character from a fairy tale, one written with little depth beyond a few vague descriptions and plenty of page time contemplating her life. The internal monologues were heavy-handed with this one. And while Isabel is confused, so are you as the reader! I honestly wondered if the author just threw together random scenes and called it a novel. We know as much as Isabel which amounts to nothing. Not the way to keep me interested. Perhaps if there had been more to Isabel than this mysterious past (like, say, actual emotion), I would have liked her more.
Then you keep reading, all the while wondering where the story is going with this whole shifter thing. Isabel is supposedly the Shifter who will protect the crown (not that she remembers anything) but you don’t really know anything about the Shifter. Each side character falls into one trope or another. And then the author introduces a romance.
Why, oh why, did we need a romance subplot?
Seriously. I love romance in books. Total sucker for it. But only if it’s good. I have to want the characters to end up together for it to work. I have to believe it, to become invested in it. And here, it was as shallow as a mud puddle on the road (and just as murky). I felt like it was added at the last minute to add tension, more depth to the story, I’m not sure because it did nothing but annoy me.
And I wish I had something better to say about this book. Even the writing fell flat — literally. I skimmed sections at a time, waiting for the action to pick up, for the passive voice to lift and give rise to a real story. Which describes how I approached this book in general, perpetually waiting for something to happen. The writing itself wasn’t bad, but combined with the rest of the story, it failed.
I’m not sure if I’ll attempt to read the companion novel, Nightspell. Cypess showed me here that her work has the potential to be amazing but the execution worries me a bit and I don’t want to waste time reading another book like Mistwood. It’s safe to say that this book was a total flop for me.