Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Review: Mistwood by Leah Cypess

Mistwood was a fast read as many young adult books are. I enjoy their generally quick pace. However, I’ve noticed that such a focus on plot, keeping the story swiftly moving, can make it difficult to leave room for deep character development. This is one book I really would have liked more character development, especially with the secondary characters like the wizard and the princess. I think these characters were interesting and if more time had been given to them they could have added richness to the story. There were a few moments when Cypess uses the dialog or a character’s gestures to bring the characters to life. These were great moments and made reading the book fun. I wanted more of those moments and less flat description.

The point of view is third person and shifted continuously to look at different characters. Several paragraphs would be
Summary: "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."
written from Isabel’s perspective –what she was thinking and feeling – then a couple paragraphs from Prince Roken’s, then quickly a few paragraphs from yet another character’s viewpoint. It gave the book a choppy feel. Since Mistwood is all about the Shifter, who and what she is, I think the book would have been stronger with Isabel as a first person narrator.

Isabel’s indecision about which prince to support lasted longer than I would have liked. There were several lines which felt like repeat as she sorted out her emotions and conflicted feelings. I could have done without that much deliberation. And I was somewhat confused by her ultimate decision. I saw it coming – the romantic suggestions being too heavy to leave much doubt – but I was still surprised by the way things concluded. But it was a crazy situation Cypess created for Isabel to figure out.

I liked the story’s ability to surprise me. The political intrigue was fun to follow as the Shifter searched for the truth in the mist surrounding the castle. I like “legends” and the myths about the Shifter were fun. I wish the legends had been explored deeper since they were important to the story. I liked Mistwood but it kept me wanting more – more character, more legend, more imagery. There’s a good beginning here and I have hopes the next book will be even better. 

Publisher: Greenwillow Books, 2010     Pages: 304
Rating: 3 Stars     Source: I won this book from Arena at The Nerd’s Wife. Thanks!

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed Mistwood, but agree that it felt a bit choppy at parts. Still, I really liked Ms. Cypess' writing and I hope she revisits these characters in some form or another in the future. I also really wanted more romance with Isabel and Roken, but that's just the romantic in me. :-)