Ri's Reviews > Mistwood

Mistwood by Leah Cypess
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May 20, 10

bookshelves: fantasy, ya, first-reads
Read on May 08, 2010

I had the great fortune to receive this book right off of Goodreads in a First Reads giveaway and even got to meet the author. Being immensely grateful for that experience, it's safe to assume I might be a bit prejudiced in this review. Regardless, I honestly loved this book. I knew from the summary and a few reviews I probably would. A high fantasy young adult, court intrigue, a strong female protagonist, an element of mystery, and some romance? I was pretty much sold on this book even before I ever opened it. The only question that remained to determine my opinion was the execution. Fortunately, that certainly didn't disappoint.

The characters were well-constructed. No one received the same amount of attention as our main protagonist, but it worked well enough for the book's set up. Isabel was constantly questioning those around her, trying to determine who she could and couldn't trust. The other characters weren't meant to be truly open books. This worked particularly well with Clarisse who left you guessing until the end. To be honest I would have liked a bit more time devoted to their characterization, particularly of Rokan, but in the end I wasn't feeling cheated out of anything. The book was tightly packaged, and I suppose something had to be sacrificed to keep it flowing. Isabel is, however, developed enough to keep me satisfied. As I began I was initially concerned that it would be hard to relate to this inhuman creature because the Shifter doesn't have a natural human existence. I should have known better as the book's synopsis clearly states that she comes to have feelings for the prince, and that is quite the human emotion. In the end my worries were wholly unfounded, and I had no problem being able to emphasize with Isabel. I thoroughly enjoyed taking this journey with her and attempting to decipher the mystery alongside her.

Some others seem to take issue with the book's pacing, but I didn't have that same experience and I don't have the longest attention span when it comes to books. They either capture me or they don't, and this one did. I was too immersed in the world, hoping for answers and flipping through pages to get them. On an objective level, I found events were pretty well spaced out. Besides the constant mystery that keeps you reading, actual events do occur to further the plot and make it all that more imperative to find out the truth. The near ending when things are revealed was skillfully done, and I truthfully did not see the ending coming. My one qualm with the book, however, is the way it resolves itself. I know it was a complex situation that needed to end conclusively either way, but it was an important decision and repercussion that I felt was glossed over somewhat. I think it speaks highly of my love for the other elements of the book, including the prose itself, that kept this concern from detracting any stars. All in all, if you're a fan of YA fantasy and you're interested in a strong female character, royal intrigue, a good mystery, and/or a solid, lovely story of self-discovery and self-possession, this is one book to pick up and read!
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05/08/2010 page 304
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