May 19, 2012

Review: Mistwood

By: Leah Cypess
Published: April 2010 by Greenwillow
Format: Hardback, 307 pages
First Reviewed: May 2011
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
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When the realm is peaceful, the Shifter retreats to the Mistwood. But when she is needed, she always comes.

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.
Now Isabel faces a choice that threatens her loyalty, her heart . . . and everything she thought she knew.

Rating: 2/5

This is another book that's been on my shelf for a while. I remember I only got it because I heard the author was picked up out of the slush pile at HarperCollins. That was impressive, so I figured I had to check it out. Eh...I went in expecting to be amazed, but it was just okay.

The general setting is very nice. I like the whole castle surrounded by woods scenario. But overall, if it weren't for the cover, I don't think I would have had a decent vision of the world. Where there was description, it was done well, but there wasn't nearly enough description and attention to the setting details to make me truly see it.

All while reading, I felt detached to the characters. The majority of them were just names in my head. Their positions were a bit vague, in my opinion. It took me a while to get everyone straight. As for the main characters, I still didn't feel that invested in them. I didn't really care what choices they made, what they were up to, or their goals. They were just kind of there.

Cypess has some beautiful writing, and that's the main reason I liked this book all right. She did a good job handling third person omniscient. Her prose and narration were handled very well and strongly. But the dialogue wasn't consistent enough. I never grasped exactly how they were speaking. At times, I had an medieval-type "accent," but then they would sound 21st century almost. There just wasn't a set tone with the dialogue. Also, some lines would be a little hard to read. The flow would seem off a tad. Other than that, Cypess has very strong writing.

In the beginning, I was liking the plot pretty well, but a few chapters in, it just fell flat for me. My main problem was with the pacing. It didn't seem as though plot points were properly placed. There were sections where I was bored, sections that didn't seem to have a purpose, sections that were glazed over, etc. Also, I found myself grow bored quite a few times, and I predicted quite a bit of the outcome. Though I think Cypess tried to throw twists in, I just don't think she succeeded with the shock factor as much. However, there were some very nice sections and for the most part, I was interested. It was a quick read and I read it through in one setting. I also liked how even though this is clearly YA, the characters weren't teens. At least I don't think. We never got ages, save for a vague one of a minor character.

Thanks to the writing, this was a decent read. Without that, the book wouldn't have held my attention. I don't think this was amazing and was a bit disappointed in it, considering it was a slush pile manuscript. But it was all right.

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