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Mistwood (Mistwood #1)

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  5,711 ratings  ·  728 reviews
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 Mistwod.

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.
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 27th 2010 by Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins (first published July 14th 2009)
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Mistwood was such a beautifully written novel. If there was one thing that really blew me away it was the writing. It was exquisite, it really was. That alone will keep me seeking out more novels by Cypress.

However, I found the other elements of the story lacking. The plot was one big mystery. Both the reader and Isabel are in the dark for almost all of the novel. If I had to describe the plot in one word, I'd say confusing. I found that when you start a novel that takes place in a different wor
Jan 26, 2010 Angie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Tamora Pierce, Kristin Cashore, and Megan Whalen Turner
Recommended to Angie by: Martha Mihalick
MISTWOOD has been on my radar for close to a year now, if you can believe it. I've been monitoring its status updates on Amazon and GoodReads and checking Leah Cypess' site regularly for any news. There have been tantalizingly few details about this book floating around the verse. I knew it was YA fantasy. I knew it was about a girl who was a shifter. And I knew it took place in a kingdom in trouble. The back cover copy proclaims it:
For fans of Kristin Cashore's Graceling and Fire, Tamora Pierce

Ummm ... am I just dense or was this book super confusing? Is this just me? I ... have absolutely no idea what to say.

The plot was rather confusing. At times (like every single page of the book) I was just reading and it would be like the words went through one ear and out the other one. I have no idea how I got through the entire novel, I had absolutely no clue what was going on most of the time.

Even now, I am still pretty confused with what happened. It's a huge mystery and for once, I wasn't
Nidah (SleepDreamWrite)
This book was a nice surprise. I think I found a new favorite author. Its nice that the story isn't dragged out as a trilogy but with this and the author's other series, its more of a 2 parter. I'm okay with that.

Anyway Mistwood is one of those books that I've been wanting to read for a while now. I see it sometimes as a suggestion but hadn't gotten around to reading it until after reading Death Sworn and Death Marked.

With Mistwood I went in knowing nothing, my expectations low. I found this to
I think the GR average for this book -- currently 3.53 -- is probably more accurate than any of the extreme raves or pans that have resulted in this rather lukewarm number. (Though I'm going to leave off the .53 and just give it a 3.) I would say this is a book comprised of some interesting ideas and surprises, good-but-not-great prose, and weak-but-not-terrible storytelling. You know how every once in a while a TV show or movie will have one credit for "Story By" and another for "Written By?" M ...more

I really enjoyed this one!
Mistwood is an exciting twist that combines high fantasy with Immortal Shifter lore, which made this fascinating and provided solid entertainment.
I love my fantasy, but I don't think this is for everyone. While other books like Graceling and Brightly Woven are driven to grip you, the pace of this book is intentionally slow moving at first as we are made to learn with Isabel through her memories, which she has forgotten.
The Plot is thick and rich with mystery
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Ashley B for

Isabel is the Shifter. She is bound to protect the kings of Samorna at all costs. When she is not needed, she resides in her forest, Mistwood. When they need her, she goes to the castle.

When Prince Rokan comes for her in Mistwood, she does not remember why she had left Samorna many years ago. She also doesn't remember how to change forms. Isabel knows the prince needs her to be the Shifter. But she also knows that he is lying to her. The truth can change
Within the first 20 pages of Mistwood, I found myself hooked and actually excited to read to the end and know how it would resolve. The premise of this Shifter creature who lives solely to protect her king and can shift into anything was pretty good.

Unfortunately, the rest of Mistwood seemed to lose momentum once it got going. It was still... okay, but ceased to be hugely captivating.

Basically, it's a book about politics and loyalty. The Shifter is supposed to be loyal to the King and the true
The first thing you notice about this book is how similar in tone, mood, and characterization it is with another popular physically strong female character story - Graceling. But just like that book I had a very hard time connecting to the main character because they're so amped up in strength that it's pretty obvious and even stated many times that there is no danger of them ever losing to another opponent. She's so powerful that it's hard to root for her and she comes off more as the dreaded M ...more
Mistwood by Leah Cypess 5 of 5 stars.
To be released by HarperTeen May 2010.

Isabel is a shape-shifter. She knows--deep in her soul--that she exists only to protect the king. But she can't remember how. Thrust into the dangerous world of the court, Isabel must uncover her past, separate her heart's truth from her magic's legend, and, above all, keep the unbearably handsome new king safe. Even if protecting him means disaster for her. (From book)

Mistwood is the kind of story that takes your breath
This book was an unexpected surprise though a very welcome one. I had seen it on the shelves of my libraries for quite a while and had been resisting its siren call when suddenly, I thought, well, why not?

I can understand that a lot of readers will have problems with the main character, the female protagonist but to me, it is the portrayal of the female character that wins me over entirely. I hadn’t even realized that the story was going to be a historical one so when I turned the page and start
When I read the summary for this book, I was interested in this new concept for a book. It sounded like something I had never read before so I decided to give it a read. I guess you can tell from my rating that it did not live up to my expectations, although the book wasn't necessarily bad.

I found the characters hard to connect with and sympathize for, especially the Shifter which is problematic since she was the main character. She was too distant and "expressionless" (this word is used to desc
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
*SPOILER FREE* WOW! Leah Cypress's debut book is an engrossing story for any fantasy reader. It's brilliantly written, suspenseful and a supernatural must read. I literally couldn't put Mistwood down until I was done. From page one, Leah had me hooked with the story of Isabel, a shape shifter taken from her home in the forrest known as Mistwood.

With little memory of her former life, Isabel knows her existence is for protecting the King. The court she's now sworn to protect is full of lies, trai
Casey (The Bookish Type)
There is something irresistibly mystical about Leah Cypess's debut novel Mistwood. From the very first page, readers are drawn into the haunting, imaginative world of Samorna. The titular mist pervades almost every aspect of the story, shrouding everything in mystery -- from the truth behind the conspiracy, to the Shifter's own memories. The mythology of the novel is arresting, epic and original. I can truly say I've never read anything like Mistwood. Though I've never been interested in high fa ...more
Isa Lavinia

I've re-read this book more times than I count and it's still amazing every time I read it.

The tricky unreliable narrator is written beautifully. Honestly, it must be so difficult to write a character with no memory of who she was, with a less than stellar personality, and a stunning lack of empathy, but still make the reader want her to succeed! And to write a character with enough powers to label her a Mary-Sue but always avoid her becoming a Mary-Sue? I'd say that's near impossible, and for
Mar 17, 2010 Holly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Holly by: Angie
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
Isabel is a shifter. Not just any shifter, but the shape-shifter of legend who is supposed to protect the king. In times of peace she lives in the Mistwood, taking the forms of cat, deer, dew, and mist. Blissfully unaware of time passing and seasons turning, Isabel barely remembers her name or how to speak when two princes come looking for her on horseback. That future king Rokan requires her protection is enough to persuade her to return with him to the castle. But answering the call of allegia ...more
Katieb (MundieMoms)
*SPOILER FREE* WOW! Leah Cypress's debut book is an engrossing story for any fantasy reader. It's brilliantly written, suspenseful and a supernatural must read. I literally couldn't put Mistwood down until I was done. From page one, Leah had me hooked with the story of Isabel, a shape shifter taken from her home in the forrest known as Mistwood.

With little memory of her former life, Isabel knows her existence is for protecting the King. The court she's now sworn to protect is full of lies, trai
I found this book to be dead boring and exactly why I hate fantasy books, generally. I read it less than a month ago and would be hard pressed to write a paragraph about it. Yawn.
This book has been on my TBR list for ages, but I finally got around to reading it. I was especially curious to read it since I had finished reading Death Sworn/Marked, and even though there were many things about those novels I would've liked seeing fixed or addressed, I thought they were good enough books that I would keep an eye out for anything else Cypess published.

The writing in this novel is exquisite. Cypess' writing style is short and concise, but really powerful with emotion. This is t
Jiayun Chen
She was just suppose to be a rumor because when she is need it means that the king will be or in trouble. Isabel is the shifter, her job was suppose to protect the royal family to be more exact, the king of Samorna or the future king. I was just like the other times when Prince Rokan and his brother Will rode across Mistwood to find her. He needed her superhuman powers, the power to shift into mist, animal form and wind. (I truly love the fact that she could change her hair and eyes color whene ...more
Anna Marie
Very convoluted, over-written fantasy about a girl who may or may not be a shifter who spends the entire book having internal monologues about how she may or may not be a shifter. And when she isn't doing that, she's considering how she has no emotions as a shifter and can't understand people's emotions, but she's emotional about it. And anyhow, the shifter is supposed to weed out potential threats to the king who summons her, but how is she supposed to do that if she doesn't understand people's ...more
Emily Ellsworth
First off, there is one thing about me that you should know. I have terrible reading retention. I read so quickly that I often forget the finer details about stories. Hence why this blog exists. Mostly as a reminder to me of the books I have read and how I felt about them. With that said, I should tell you that I had seen this book around on different blogs and for some reason kept thinking it was a paranormal romance. It is not. And every time I read the synopsis I thought, wow, this looks like ...more
Okay, now, I tried really hard to like this book. The premise raised a small, red flag in me -- I love shape-shifters, when they're done right. Here, they weren't.

This whole book, to sum it up, is vapid and shallow. It read like a romance novel without the romance: the same flat, hollow stereotyped characters we know and hate in some political intrigue that really was just a mass of confusion and frustration. No matter what happened, I didn't care about anyone in the story. There was no characte
I am still not sure whether I really liked this book or not.
One the one hand, the writing is quite good--the descriptions of the forest, the sense of 'otherness' of The Shifter, aka Isabel. The young prince, Rokan, and his very acerbic sister Clarisse are very fully realized, and the court wizard, his assistant, and other nobles of the court are two-dimentional, but not disastrously so.
This is a novel of political intrigue, treachery and double and triple crosses. The problem I had was with Isab
Jun 07, 2010 Katelyn rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
Talk about the author staying one step ahead of the reader until the very end! Leah Cypess is a mastermind in my opinion, she had me guessing until the very end. As her YA debut novel, Mistwood is sure to make an impression on readers everywhere.

This was a story of mystery, intrigue, romance and danger and although Cypess presents readers with clues and puzzle pieces throughout her tale, I didn't stand a chance at putting it all together until she was good and ready to tell me. I will say that a
The Shifter is a being of legend. Wild, powerful, and able to take on any shape it chooses... and its purpose is to protect Samornian royalty. But for years now the Shifter has been gone, vanished into the wilds of Mistwood, and some have begun to believe it was indeed only a creature of myth.

That is, until the Samornian prince Rokan brings her back with him to the castle. Isabel has few memories of anything before the here and now, but she knows that as the Shifter it is her duty to guard Rokan
Jun 06, 2011 Hirondelle rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Hirondelle by: Isa Lavinia
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
In all I liked this very much, a nice surprise (thank you Isa!). Nicely written, with a not-quite human amnesiac character trying to piece together her own history in relation to current court politics. Lots of twists and turns, and just very readable. Though, as usual, I got a few quibbles. The plot is purposefully opaque, in other to have twists and turns, and that opaqueness makes it is sometimes details around the edges are not too believable (view spoiler) ...more
Steph Su
MISTWOOD is an exquisitely written, beautifully rendered high fantasy YA debut that will make it an instant favorite of fans of Kristin Cashore. The beauty and complexity of Isabel’s story literally took my breath away and left me begging for more.

Leah Cypess wastes no words in her writing. Instead, every sentence provides a wealth of material about the story: setting the scene, describing Isabel’s inhuman-like thoughts and her struggles. It is fascinating to watch Isabel change over the course
the premise for this book was certainly interesting, However the book itself was a bit flat.

Isabela is the Shifter, an immortal being who can shift into any animal or make herself hard as stone at will, however we quickly learn in the book that she is incapable of shifting into animals.

This is the part where the book lost me, i was so excited to see this happen and it just didn't. It becomes apparent why she can't very late in the book and it was underwhelming to say the least.

While the story
What a satisfying read! Ms. Cypess had created a world of mystery, magic and supernatural creatures with a middle age settling. She also gave us a lot of nice twists and turns, more still most of the mysteries she had created are also neatly solved in the end, not many YA novelists can do that so nicely.

There's an romance but the romance isn't being thrown in readers' faces the same like so many other YA novels. I like how Isabel slowly gains understanding of herself as the story progresses, the
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I wrote my first story in first grade. The narrator was an ice-cream cone in the process of being eaten. In fourth grade, I wrote my first book, about a girl who gets shipwrecked on a desert island with her faithful and heroic dog (a rip-off of both The Black Stallion and all the Lassie movies, very impressive).

However, I took a few detours along the way to becoming a full-time writer. After selli
More about Leah Cypess...

Other Books in the Series

Mistwood (3 books)
  • Nightspell (Mistwood, #2)
  • Buried Above Ground: A Nightspell Novella

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“I don't want you to be the shifter. Rokan's voice was quiet , and her human sense of smell told her nothing about how he felt. I haven't wanted that for a long time. since before i knew it was possible for you to not be the shifter. a pause then - so quirtly that even she could barely hear him - since before i knew i loved you” 27 likes
“Not all dangers are obvious.” 22 likes
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