I picked up Mistwood by Leah Cypess with fairly low expectations. It has gotten quite a few mixed reviews that left me feeling a little wary – I put off reading it for over two years after its release despite my obsession for all things YA high fantasy! With a push from Liz at Consumed by Books, I finally read it over the Thanksgiving holiday. You guys? IT WAS AWESOME!
Thanks to an ancient spell, the rulers in the kingdom of Samorna have a long history of being protected by the Shifter- a mysterious immortal creature that lives in the Mistwood when not protecting her charge. When Isabel, the Shifter, is confronted with the newest king – her memories are suspiciously hazy and some of her powers are MIA. Loyalties are tested and lies are revealed as Mistwood unfolds – and no one is who they appear to be.
I could not believe this book, y’all. Seriously. I was going for that whole silly “just a chapter or two” goal when I started (even though it NEVER EVER works). Once I began, I didn’t look up until I had finished. Mistwood isn’t a slow-developing fantasy read where intrigues build and the world unfolds. Nope. It is IN YOUR FACE twists and turns and WTF plot bombs you don’t see coming.
Seriously, there were so many GASP! reveals that I got a little dizzy (in the best way possible). There were a few things I saw coming, of course. But man – there were so many that completely caught me off guard. Leah Cypess crafted one heck of a plot. And the characters certainly don’t suck either.
Isabel is freakin’ awesome. She doesn’t have any concrete memories of being the Shifter – but she knows she is. When she is backed into a corner – she reacts instinctively. She also has an innate talent for ferreting out Court politics and gossip that enables her to brazen things out despite feeling way out of her depth in the beginning.
Prince Rokan is great too – it took me a long time to figure him out. What are his real priorities? Is he lying…and what about? Does he really trust Isabel? WTF is up with his crazy sister? Speaking of – his sister was one of the best characters in Mistwood. I honestly had NO CLUE where her loyalties really were through the entire book. Sigh, genius.
So, Mistwood might be on the short side for the high fantasy genre, but that doesn’t stop it from being an EPIC read. I was absolutely blown away, and will be picking up the companion novel before the end of 2012 for certain.
To Sum it Up:
- Mixed reviews or not, Mistwood is a brilliantly executed high fantasy read. The plot had so many crazy twists and turns that I absolutely did not see coming.
- The characterization was great also – one of the best parts of my reading experience was trying to figure out what side everyone was actually on.
- The world is a really intriguing one, and I’m really excited to pick up the second novel to see where it takes me.