**spoiler alert** I was really hesitant to read this book. If you were to ask me why, I’d tell you that the idea that two sisters who shared a womb, w**spoiler alert** I was really hesitant to read this book. If you were to ask me why, I’d tell you that the idea that two sisters who shared a womb, who are ultimately two parts of one who whole, not being together, of being against each other…that works but it’s not the kind of story I’d want to read. My curiousity got the better of me however, so I picked it up from the library. I don’t mean to be unnecessarily critical of the book. The following are just some of the observations I made about it while reading.
The story opens with a funeral and immediately sets the tone of the novel. It has a somewhat Gothic atmosphere (not black eyeliner, mind you) but there is a pervasive atmosphere of stillness, of anticipation of some new horror. Lia and Alice are twins. At least superficially. They look absolutely the same. And this is my greatest complaint with the novel. Not that they look the same but I just don’t feel their “twinness” for lack of a better word (that was not made up). They are already estranged at the beginning of the novel. We don’t see them being together, loving each other so despite Lia saying they did so, they do so, the words ring hollow and unconvincing. I think, from an objective stand, that the way to convince readers of the love between them would have been to show it and then show their gradual estrangement – if emotions had already been invested in the two girls, the readers would be much more empathetic with the resulting separation of both ambitions and ideologies. Lia is well developed – Alice, not at all. You are cut off from her side entirely and I can’t help but feel that she was being a disservice. For the book to work for me, I need to understand the antagonist. If she is as much an important character as the author would have us believe, I need more than I was given to understand her.
And then there are some points I really can’t ignore. It is because of (spoiler warning here) Alice that Henry dies. In fact, it is directly caused by Alice. Henry, poor helpless Henry who died so that Lia might get a list. And what does Lia do? Forgive her sister. The lack of emotion, the lack of blame – it again feels contrived and unrealistic. These are teenagers we are dealing with here. I know Lia talks about the “rage” in her more times than necessary but honey child, you ain’t showing that rage enough. I need the passion you don’t show. Oh, I understand that it’s a historical novel and passion in women is looked down upon but that doesn’t stop Lia from showing passion where James is concerned. So why, when her sister kills their younger brother, is there no railing, no shouting, nothing? I was very dissatisfied with that. There was barely any mourning.
James. Lia loves James. Or so she says. And you are tempted to believe her. But Alice wants James. And what does Lia do? Leave James behind while she goes off to England. Um hello? Did you forget that your evil twin sister, the one who looks exactly like you, is waiting in the eaves to swoop down as soon as you leave? And you don’t even trust enough in him to tell him what’s really going on. Do you really love him?
I liked the whole sisterhood thing (which ironically enough happens with girls who are not Lia’s sister). But at the end of the novel, I’d say that I don’t like Lia. I really don’t like her. She was eager enough to believe in Alice’s evilness and did not show enough courage or spunk to go and confront her initially. She pushes her sister away ostensibly because she fears her but come on. There is an almost tangible thread between siblings who are not twins so imagine what it must for twins and I don’t feel that. I don’t think the book was done all that well but it wasn’t done too badly either. I was left very dissatisfied and annoyed....more
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 resistingThis 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 started reading, I was surprised.
Now, the fundamental question is, how do you write a character who is not human? Oh I don’t mean the elves, vampires, all other supernatural races who often grace the pages of beloved YA novels – those who could be human if they didn’t have the supernatural powers. Ms. Cypess writes a character who is intrinsically inhuman and she is true to it. She makes an attempt to portray Isabel in a manner that makes the reader realize from the get-go that the “person” speaking to them is not, in fact, a person. And that is where many readers will be troubled.
Isabel doesn’t behave in a way that is common or familiar to other heroines (who are people, powers or not) do. I applaud that. She doesn’t react in the same way people do to situations or emotions because that is not who (what?) she is. And I find this whole thing complex and fascinating and perhaps one of the rare times that an author manages to make a supernatural element mean more than just a titillation of the senses.
(How do you, being human, write a non-human character?)
Moving on from what I could talk about for a long time, let’s discuss (where I talk and you…read?) the other characters. The story is set in the midst of (and in anticipation of) political upheaval. The narrative and characters set against courtly intrigue, where what the characters say is almost certainly not what they mean. Rokan is an interesting character. For a hero, he is flawed. And I don’t just mean “trauma in his past so he require TLC from the main character to make him better.” I mean, that his choices, actions and words do not always illuminate him in a good light. But you are asked to look beyond that and into him. Perhaps not to understand him but to accept him.
His sister makes a much more intriguing character and after Isabel, she is my favourite character. You’ll understand why if/when you read the story.
All the other side characters are crafted with care and that won me over. Though they were shadowed by the enigma that is Isabel, they were still interesting to read.
Isabel’s gradual return to humanity, her growth in increments into a humanity she didn’t know she possessed is fascinating. Her reactions and her puzzlement is very reminiscent to that of a cat but it is all executed with an elegance that makes Mistwood a very fun and interesting read. I recommend it to anyone who likes good writing, an interesting plot and a challenge....more
Thank God for a book where siblings actually have a normal relationship - no angst. I liked it. It was well written and well plotted. Possibly meant fThank God for a book where siblings actually have a normal relationship - no angst. I liked it. It was well written and well plotted. Possibly meant for younger readers but I enjoyed it anyway....more
**spoiler alert** Oh Dru, what is happening to you?
Nothing much happens in the book. I mean...okay, yeah... nothing much does. I keep waiting for her**spoiler alert** Oh Dru, what is happening to you?
Nothing much happens in the book. I mean...okay, yeah... nothing much does. I keep waiting for her to freaking "bloom" so we can, you know, move on to the more important things? Like kicking ass. But I sort of feel that in this book, all Dru does is whine. And oh yes, Graves. I could have sworn she had a thing for Christophe...but no? She likes Graves? Though to be totally honest, it feels to me that she equates Graves with a safety blanket...and that's kinda not cool. Then there's Christophe, whom she treats like yesterday's meatloaf, wishing he was Graves instead of being him but then things happen and she kisses him and she "forgets Grave" (not once but twice, um...hello?). What is EVEN CREEPIER is that she equates Christophe with her father - Christophe who had a thing for her mother, who might or might not have "swapped spit" with her mother...okay, my brain just shut down, it refuses to go down that path. And what is up with Dru wanting someone else to handle everything? Hello, you are supposed to be an ass kicking heroine, not someone who wishes for other men (yes, men because there are no other women in the book beside Dru - okay fine, her mother and Anna, and her mother is dead while Anna is a bitch) to make things better. I seriously did not appreciate that.
So all in all, I felt that the book was one hot mess. It doesn't mean I won't read the next installment in the series, it just means that to me, this series has slipped down the rungs from the wildly entertaining (yet substantial) series it used to be. It's still entertaining but it's lacking substance. It's not well thought out and seriously, this installment was more frustrating than anything else. I kept waiting for something else. I am SO OVER the flashbacks. Honestly. And I wish Ms. Saintcrow would work out Dru's issues and give her just one instead of making them so hodge-podge. I felt like I was watching Anita be confused about her men for a second. =\...more
I picked this up at the library because the cover was pretty and shiny. I admit it. I judge books by their covers a lot of times. If the cover is aestI picked this up at the library because the cover was pretty and shiny. I admit it. I judge books by their covers a lot of times. If the cover is aesthetically pleasing then I figure the content inside has to be somewhat pleasing if not downright awesome. Skewed logic? Most probably. And it’s not always true but pretty covers are just so…paradisiacal.
I haven’t read any reviews for this book so I don’t know what others think about it but I liked it. It was like watching a chick flick, dressed in your pjs on a rainy day. You know how there is comfort food? This was a comfort book. Honestly. It is fluff but well done fluff.
You have a hero (dashing, check; brooding, check; foreign, check), a heroine (spunky but somewhat too straight edge) and a whole host of meddlers. (Friends at home, friends in Italy, the mischief abounds.) It felt sort of like a Shakespeare play rendered in contemporary times with a chaotic cast and absurd romantic plot lines that somehow never failed to make you smile.
It could have been bad. But I think the book saved itself by not trying too hard to be an epic romance. It’s goal was to have fun and it had fun. This is a perfect book for a day when you feel like the world sucks and you want some happy endings. So… read it. Enjoy it. I know I did....more