My second book review!!
MISTWOOD, a high fantasy young adult novel, comes out from HarperCollins/Green Willow on April 27, 2010. I am very, very thankful for the HarperCollins booth at ALA Midwinter 2010 for giving me this advanced copy. It is not a final product.
MISTWOOD's summary comes from Amazon.com:
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 Mistwood. 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.
MISTWOOD is a high fantasy novel that reminded me a lot of GRACELING by Kristin Cashore. Both books have rich settings that I was immediately pulled into.
Without giving anything away, MISTWOOD tells the story of Isabel, a supernatural, immortal creature that can change shape (from animal to nature), who is found in the woods by the current prince, who is about to take the throne as king. But the thing is Isabel doesn't remember any memories of her past. In fact, it seems she can't even Shift.
While Isabel struggles with her memory, she is confronted by the prince's sister, who doesn't trust her, a few suspicious court sorcerers (and sorcerers in training!) and trying to not stand out during court dinners. Murders, kidnapping, attacks and spells are just a few of the things seen in MISTWOOD.
Leah Cypess does a great job of having Isabel learn about her past at different times, and I loved that there was hardly any romance in this novel. I know thats strange (I do love a good romance), especially since this is a female dominated novel, but it was a really nice change of pace. I was waiting for some kissing and may or may not have gotten any, but I have heard Leah is writing a second MISTWOOD book so I am hoping for more action in the coming year(s).
Overall, I'd have to give this book a 4 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed MISTWOOD, but felt that the last 100 pages were by far the best and most enticing pages of the entire novel. Nevertheless, I thought the world that Isabel lived in was fascinating and I can't wait to read the next book.