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Arrow of the Mist

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Award-Winning Middle Grade Fantasy; YA Fantasy
Terror strikes the Celtic inspired kingdom of Nemetona when barbed roots breach the veil of a forbidden land and poison woodsmen, including 15-year-old Lia’s beloved father. Lia and three others embark on a quest to the forbidden land of Brume to gather ingredients for the cure. But after her elder kinsman is attacked and poisoned, she and her cousin, Wynn, are forced to finish the quest on their own.

Lia relies on her powerful herbal wisdom and the memorized pages of her late grandmother’s Grimoire for guidance through a land of soul-hungry shades, trickster creatures, and uncovered truths about the origin of Brume and her family’s unexpected ties to it. The deeper they trek into the land, the stronger Lia’s untapped gift as a tree mage unfolds. When she discovers the enchanted root’s maker, it forces her to question everything about who she is and what is her destiny. Ultimately she must make a terrible choice: keep fighting to save her father and the people of the lands or join with the power behind the deadly roots to help nature start anew.

257 pages, Kindle Edition

First published March 6, 2013

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About the author

Christina Mercer

8 books183 followers
Christina Mercer is an award-winning author of fiction for children and young adults. Honored titles include Tween Fantasy ARROW OF THE MIST & its sequel ARMS OF ANU, and YA Paranormal Romance HONEY QUEEN. In addition, she is a once-upon-a-time CPA who offers tips on accounting and taxes for authors in her BEAN COUNTING FOR AUTHORS guidebook. Christina resides in Northern California enjoying life with her husband, two sons, four dogs, and about 100,000 honeybees.

To learn more about her at her writing visit: www.christinamercer.com

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5 stars
160 (41%)
4 stars
101 (26%)
3 stars
74 (19%)
2 stars
33 (8%)
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13 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 95 reviews
Profile Image for Rebecca Lawton.
Author 9 books31 followers
June 19, 2013
Christina Mercer must be an alchemist. No other word describes the blend of magic and pragmatic herbal lore contained within Arrow of the Mist. Her protagonist Lia is a strong character with a headful and beltful of balms and cures. But she also has an impulsive temperament and growing sense of power, which requires effort and mastery on her part. So there's conflict from the start, and of course that makes for a page turner . . . and a journey into the unknown. Whether writing about the mythical land of Brume or the battling emotions within Lia, Christina seems to know whereof she writes, with a mind for the map of place her characters travel and a background in the very herbcraft she describes. I loved this story, and I can only call out for more from this talented, accomplished author.
Profile Image for Billie.
Author 6 books123 followers
March 20, 2013
This is exactly the kind of book I would’ve wanted to curl up with on my window seat with when I was a teen – and my enjoyment of it now reminded me of how much I love beautifully written, epic quests with powerful female characters. When I finished, I was a little shell-shocked to find myself back in the real world. I want to lose myself again in Mercer’s forbidden lands, magic plants and ancient folklore. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait too long for a sequel!
Profile Image for Jordan.
Author 10 books309 followers
March 14, 2013
A rollicking great epic journey with a strong female protagonist, Arrow of the Mist is a YA novel that is atmospheric and deeply rooted in Celtic traditions and herblore so real you'll believe the land of Brume is truly just waiting beyond the garden gate. Mercer writes beautifully, and her protagonist Lia is strong, smart and savvy--a wonderful role model for girls today, but this lyrical novel will captivate readers of all ages.
Profile Image for Tanja (Tanychy).
589 reviews257 followers
July 5, 2013
Confession time - I haven't read the blurb but boy isn't the cover pretty!

You all who have gotten the ARC of this book - I envy you...

Review also posted at Ja čitam, a ti?

I strongly believe that many, like I, were taken aback after seeing this book. It showed out of nowhere and suddenly I was in desperate need for this book. Look at the cover it literary talks to you and then you read the blurb and you stare at it in awe! At least I was. It sounded like everything one might need to have a bloody great fantasy novel.

Honestly I'm like super close to posting a meme at the start of this review, but I shall resist. I'm sure though that you all remember the old fantasy TV shows for kids and fairy tales which had magic and good old riddles (you remember them?). Well this book has it all. Now I came to the hardest part and that would be explaining my emotions and awesomeness of this book to you with my words. It's basically impossible as this book is magical. Every aspect of it - from Lia who is a girl every kid wish to be. She is a girl who is brave and not thinking twice when everyone are in danger and she must cross to Burme, the magical land from which no one came back, in order to find a cure. She is ready to do that and much more to save her father and her land as shadows are getting closer and closer. On this magical quest she will also find a great friend in her cousin and also first affection and something that might turn into love (not in cousin but someone else). But most of all she will find herself and discover that magic is great part of her life and that it'll always be.

You can find some basic elements of fantasy here and this, for sure, would be a book that I'd read under my tent in the bed as a little kid with a flashlight and staying awake longer than I should. Even though my age tells you something else I still do that, only I don't need flashlight with the new technology.

This book fed the child in me the one that grew up on books about magic and the one that dreamed about magical lands and creatures. This book fed my soul at the same time as I discovered the whole new world and that world full of possibilities.
Profile Image for Tomi L.  Wiley.
33 reviews9 followers
March 21, 2013
Arrow of the Mist is an intriguing tale of a young woman destined for greatness, the power of the natural world and dedication to family and history. The writing is tight and compelling, and the heroine is one for many YA readers to look up to - I personally look forward to the next adventure!
Profile Image for Julia Tracey.
Author 9 books378 followers
October 21, 2014
Christina Mercer's Arrow of the Mist is a sensuously written earthy fantasy about an otherworldly place where evil roots tear through the scrim into simple peasant lives. Lia has the knowledge of Grandmother's Grimoire, however, and she can read the trees and the herbs and the leaves, feel their spirits and intuit their essences. On a quest through the forest to find the cure for the deadly venom of the roots, Lia finds herself -- and love. I loved the herbal lore in this book and the folktale feeling it evokes. Everyone loves a good quest, and Christina Mercer's apparently vast knowledge of the green world as well as the earth, bees and other creatures makes this fantasy novel a pleasure to read. And there will be a sequel -- so look for more of Christina Mercer. Yay!
Profile Image for Rachel.
283 reviews
August 12, 2013
I loved, loved, loved this mystical adventure! It carried the classic fight between good and evil to epic proportions.

In this novel, Lia, along with three others, venture into the fog to reach Brume where they hope to find nature’s cure for a horrible, thorny plant that has been attacking and poisoning the people of the village she lives in, including her father. She has to use the healing knowledge passed down to her from her grandma and grandpa and trust many of the creatures that inhabit the land beyond the fog in order to protect herself and her family.

Oh-my-goodness! I had to hold my breath through each step of Lia and Wynn’s journey in Brume. (Wynn = Lia’s cousin.) I was so worried for them multiple times and would anxiously await how they would get out of the next situation alive. The theme, while a classic one, was well executed in this story. I felt like the problems Lia faced were real in this magical land of Brume. Mercer described the mythical quality of this land just enough to make it mysterious to both Lia and the reader. This sense of mystery made me feel like I was a part of the journey that Lia was on to find all of the ingredients for the cure to the poisonous plant. The pacing of this story was perfect. We’d get out of a scrape, find a part of the cure, rest for a moment and reflect, only to fall into another problem (I used the pronoun “we” in the previous sentence because that was how I felt while reading--I was a part of the team: Lia&Wynn&Me!)

Lia, as the central character, rocked. I loved her resilience, independence, and family devotion--a beautiful character. I also enjoyed the subordinating characters, like Wynn who supported Lia on her journey through Brume. I actually really appreciated that it wasn’t a love interest traveling with her on this troubled journey; instead, it was family. I have to say that the theme of family devotion was very important in this story. I think if her love interest had been on the journey it would have sidetracked the story line. Because the story was really about Lia and her emerging abilities and how she grew and changed on this adventure in order to save her family (NOT about falling in love). Something else that was cool was the fact that even Lia’s horse became a character in the story, a minor one, but a lovable one--I don’t usually get that connected to the minor animal characters in a story, but when Merrie was in distress, I was in distress! What a loyal animal.

Again, I loved this novel and highly recommend it to people who enjoy a mythical and magical tale involving the classic good vs. evil fight...and so much more! I was sooooooooo worried that since a sequel will arrive later this year, this first story would leave off at a cliffhanger. I will assure you all that it does not; you’ll be very satisfied with the wrap-up of Lia’s experience in Brume, but I am equally excited about getting my hands on the next book because there is a little twist involving family that is discovered towards the end of the story and, to Lia’s distress, something has been left behind in Brume that may cause problems in the future. I want my hands on the next story to find out how Lia and her family work through these upcoming problems.
Profile Image for Michelle Isenhoff.
Author 55 books90 followers
June 16, 2014
This book is a textbook example of what I love most about the children’s genres: a strong lead, incredible fantasy world, an imaginative plot, absolutely gorgeous prose, and a lingering depth to the story that I can take away with me and mull over later. I can’t think of a single negative. I was completely captivated by this one.

Lia has a botanical gift. She knows the ancient names, ancient uses, and ancient lore for every plant. Unfortunately, the king has outlawed such practices as well as entry into the mystical lands of Brume that lie hidden behind the curtain of mist. But when Lia’s father and several others contract an unknown sickness, she and her cousin must journey into the unknown land to find the cure. There Lia learns secrets of her family’s past, abilities she never would have imagined, and dangers beyond her worst nightmare.

I loved that Lia’s ability to wield magic stems from ancient herb lore. She’s a fantastic lead, strong, brave, and heedless of the disapproval others might have for her. Instead, her focus lies on the job she must do. Her cousin, Wynn, isn’t quite as developed, but he’s loyal and brave and makes a necessary accompaniment to Lia on her travels. And their path takes some wildly unforeseen turns. Brume is an incredible, well thought out world with mysterious characters at every turn.

And now to share some examples of Christina’s beautiful writing style:

“Lia turned her head from their scorn and swallowed down the retort growing bitter on her tongue.”

Squeaky Award“Dunley Meadow sprawled out in front of them, a blanket of golden stalks bending to the whispering breeze.”

“When he stopped and answered her, his words were slow and deliberate, like a steady drizzle of rain seeping deep into the soil.”

“The day dragged against the sky, and the dimly lit sun melted into the horizon.”

Breathtaking, isn’t it?
Profile Image for Ambur.
807 reviews431 followers
July 5, 2013
Arrow of the Mist has been one of those books that I've been really looking forward to! As soon as I read the description and saw the gorgeous cover...I was smitten! I can also now gladly say that it completely lived up to my expectations! It was an imaginative story full of wonderfully fantastical descriptions! I absolutely loved it, and I definitely cannot wait for the sequel, Arms of Anu, which is expected to be released this fall! :D

Along with the unique world through Arrow of the Mist, it was full of amazing characters! The main character, Lia, was so strong, free-willed and spirited! She was amazing, and I loved getting to experience the story through her. Lia's family also plays a huge role in the story, and I loved their relationships with one another. Her cousin, Wynn, was great companion on her quest, and they complimented each other well. I also loved that they discovered parts of their family history together, and that they both unlocked gifts that they have inherited from their Grandma. I also absolutely loved Lia's Granda! And...I definitely loved Kelven...Lia's love interest. ;P He was so calm, and collected, and while he wasn't the main focus of the novel (Lia was too busy being awesome and completing her quest), I really enjoyed the dynamics that they shared. I also enjoyed the fact that while Lia was pretty much smitten with Kelven...her quest was her main focus, and I totally loved her for that. :)

As I mentioned, the world created through Arrow of the Mist was fantastic! It was unique, and so flushed out...it was one of those worlds that you can almost picture yourself walking through while reading. Christina Mercer did an amazing job describing everything, and her writing really brought it all to life. I loved the descriptions of the various magical happenings...I don't want to describe them too much because you totally need to experience them for yourself, and I just absolutely Brume! The different creatures, the landscapes...everything was so amazing, and I loved it! I was completely swept up in Lia's world, and she was the perfect character to discover it all through---she was curious, but smart, and I definitely thought she made getting to "see" Brume even better!

Overall, I loved Arrow of the Mist! I loved Christina Mercer's writing, and her world-building was extremely well done! I loved all of the characters, and am eagerly anticipating its sequel, Arms of Anu! I'd recommend Arrow of the Mist to fantasy fans who have a particular soft spot for magic and new worlds full of wondrous things. I even think those that haven't delved into much fantasy will love this one. It's inventive, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. :)

* This review also appears on my blog and on my other social media accounts.
* I was provided with an ebook of Arrow of the Mist to participate in its blog tour and give an honest review.
Profile Image for Patricia.
145 reviews10 followers
October 29, 2013
Arrow of the Mist introduces us to Lia, daughter of Carin and Dylan, a young herbalist determined to keep the old crafts of potion mixing and magic alive. She is well-taught by her Granda, who in turn learned from Lia’s magical Grandma Myrna. Lia lives in Rockberg, a village bordered by a mysterious, fog-bound land called Brume. She tends a beautiful garden planted in a labyrinth pattern around a huge crystal rock formation. Lia and her Granda are suddenly faced with finding a cure for a terrible illness that is striking down the men of the village, including Lia’s father. Lia and Granda are convinced the only cure lies within the land of Brume, and, accompanied by Lia’s cousin Wynn and his friend Kelven, they embark on what becomes a life-changing experience for all of them. As soon as Lia enters Brume, she knows something has changed. She alone can hear the whispers of the shades that guard the fog. While in Brume, Lia and Wynn come to understand that they are descendants of royalty and it is their responsibility to bring magic back to their world. As Granda is stricken with the same poison attacking their home, Lia and Wynn embark on an adventurous quest to find the 13 ingredients needed to brew the curative potion. Along the way, they meet dwarves, unicorns, enchanted trees, and the master of the evil shades, Draugyrd, who has bound the spirit of Lia’s Grandma Myrna to his bidding. Will Lia and Wynn triumph? Will Lia and Kelven’s blossoming romance get legs? Will magic come back to Rockberg? Read this and find out! It is clear that this is the start of a series, which promises to be very good. All the elements of a great fantasy are here – good against evil, three children rising up against oppression, fantastic creatures, communion with nature, and a beautifully drawn fairyland – all knit together by skilled storytelling. There are some echoes of Piers Anthony and even a little Terry Pratchett, but Mercer’s Brume is all her own. The characters are likable, the plot captivating, and the writing whimsical and evocative. Highly recommended for middle school and up.
July 8, 2013
This epic ya fantasy was a delightful read. It has all the ingredients that I look for in a story, plus a great writing style that will quickly absorb you into this magical land.

Arrow Of The Mist, can best be described as a journey, not only a journey to find a solution to a problem, but a journey of a young heroine whom happens to be very smart and strong.

Lia, is everything I enjoy reading about. She's strong, independent, fearless, and excellent with a bow. Lia also has a fierceness to protect her family and has no doubts over her decision to journey into the magical, mysterious, land of Brume.

Lia's father has been stricken ill with a deadly aliment, caused by roots in the forest. An ailment that has stricken this small village in the celtic community. Lia knows there is only one option for her, and that is to save her father, no matter what the cost are. Lia learns of place, that may hold the cure for her father, as well as many other's whom have been recently stricken in this tiny village. She sets off on her journey with her Granda, Wynn her cousin, and a family friend whom holds a special liking to Lia, Kelven , oh, and of course her most trustworthy companion, her dog, Koun.
As there journey is plagued with illness the companions must part ways and Lia and Wynn must continue on the journey.

Brume is a forbidden forest which holds strange creatures, deadly aliments, and a strange draw for our heroine, as she learns there may be more to her strength and cunningness then she ever dreamed possible. She learns more of herself and her magical ties to the land, and she also shines as a strong fierce heroine, whom I would love to shoot a bow & arrow with!

The writing style gripped me into this magical, fantasy story and I enjoyed every aspect of this young adult read. This book has EVERYTHING I look for in a fantasy read! From a strong female heroine, to the quick paced action, to the magical creatures, to the journey itself. A delight for readers and fantasy buff's Arrow of the Mist is a quick-paced, exciting, read.
Profile Image for SARIT.
180 reviews
December 25, 2015
The book has lovely cover indeed and very originated this days.

Lia is a strong character with a headful and beltful of balms and cures.She is not perfect, as she has an impulsive temperament and growing sense of power, which requires effort and mastery on her part. As barbed roots breach the veil of a Brume (the magical land forbidden land)to Nemetona and poison woodsmen (also her beloved father and grandpa). She must cross the dangerous veil to Burme, from which no one came back, in order to find a cure. She is ready to do that and much more to save her father and her land as shadows are getting closer and closer. On this magical quest she will also find a great friend in her cousin and also first affection.

In Brume we find many wondrous creatures like dwarfs, unicorns, water nymphs and faeries. The descriptions are so vivid that it enable you to pictures them in your mind.

The world also boasts a rich lore, in which every tree tells a story, and it’s a lore that Lia knows by heart thanks to her beloved grandmother’s Grimoire. I really liked the use of a book-within-a-book to further enhance the feeling that this realm that Lia called home was a real place, complete with its own legends. True to the Celtic lore, Lia seemed to have an incredible memory, she was easily page in her mind the right reference when the need arise.

Between others themes like: strength of belief, truth, and the meaning of power, I think that "family" is one of the major. Lia's family is a close-knit group, and Lia’s bond with her grandfather and grandmother was particularly strong. Strong is also, her relationship with her cousin Wynn(which accompany her all over Brume) and toward his talented sister when she hear about it(of course she must come to live with us).

It is very refreshing to find characters that are neither cynical or jaded it is also contribute to my recommendation for a younger readers than YA.
Profile Image for Angela Townsend.
Author 23 books350 followers
August 11, 2013
This skillfully crafted novel contains myth, herbology, and fantasy in a fantastic story that is not just entertaining but thought provoking as well. The main character, Lia, posses a powerful wisdom when it comes to herbs, wisdom that can save those around her. Some plants have the ability to heal and others have the ability to kill. Lia races against time to save those she loves the most. I look forward to reading Christina's next book. Excellent-five stars!
Profile Image for Carrie Enders.
119 reviews2 followers
March 22, 2013
Arrow of the Mist is as beautiful as the cover suggests. A wonderfully inventive story with a strong heroine and plenty of myths and magic. I loved the vast array of characters, creatures, magical beings, etc that Lia meets on her journey, and the touch of romance was just perfect!

Definitely recommend Arrow of the Mist!
Profile Image for Queeniejo.
52 reviews4 followers
May 1, 2014
I have to admit, the main reasons why I got this book was the cover. And the name. Arrow Of The Mist.

What can I say, archery fascinates me!

But as soon as I started reading this, I knew I would fall in love with the charactures.
And I did.
And I am pleased to say that Arrow Of The Mist is now one of my favorite books! Yay!
Profile Image for Rachel.
Author 2 books7 followers
May 26, 2013
Mercer has a way of taking fantasy and folklore characters to a whole new level. What you'd expect fairies might do or be changes. Lia's adventures and courage and talents are unlike anything I've ever read.
Profile Image for Raina {The LUV'NV}.
211 reviews40 followers
September 22, 2013
Arrow of the Mist is one wonderful YA fantasy adventure. When barbed roots from a no-man's land poisons multiple villagers, including her father, Lia sets off with kin to enter the forbidden land to find a cure. With nothing but will, her knack for herbs and plants, and her late grandmother's Grimoire, she has to experience everything the dark land has to offer if she wants to succeed. She gains knowledge and power along the way, but by the end, she has to choose between lives and her own beliefs of what's best for the land and kingdom.

From the very first chapter, I was transported to the Celtic-inspired kingdom of Nemetoma. From Lia's little village to the misty fog that veils the mysterious and forbidden land of Brume, then through it, the forests, and the desolate expanses, I was brought into the wide range of settings. With everything from fae to dwarves to rock giants, mystical lore to ancient mythology, earth magic to herbal wisdom that grounded it—the idea behind the world was fantastically inventive.

The characters were strong yet endearingly flawed. I would've appreciated more overall emotion and more emphasis on Lia's inner personal struggle. When it comes to Fantasy, I expect a certain character depth. Besides the outer conflict brought by an external force, the protagonist needs to have a quality that could lead to her downfall. It helps a reader connect, really feel her and root for her. Lia felt ... perfect, too much so as a young heroine. Nonetheless, I liked her and all the other characters.

All the riddles woven throughout the story and grimoire were fun to solve and brought the plot around nicely. I breezed through the book, eager to know where everything would lead, and the description of the plants, with all the uses and history, were breathtaking. The story leans more young YA, with the romance implied and not highlighted (which is a shame because I adored the love interest), but I still enjoyed it and would read the next installment. I'd recommend it to YA Fantasy, race-against-time adventure fans who enjoy fairytales and all types of lore.

*eBook provided by the author in exchange for a review. Thank you!
*Review also posted on the The LUV'NV blog.
Profile Image for AIA  Reviewers.
23 reviews2 followers
November 11, 2013
An original, mystical adventure
5 stars

Wow! It's easy to see when books have been created with passion and skill, and even easier to see when the craft of writing has been taken seriously by both author and editor. Arrow of the Mist is an amazing journey through not only a magical and dangerous land, perhaps just off the beaten path near your house, but it's also an exploration of the idea that nature will care for us if we care for it.

Herein, the author does everything right. Characters are vividly drawn, interesting, and reveal their personalities through speech and actions. Dialogue carries the story forward capably without becoming stale or wooden.

The conflict is real, compelling, and amazingly, doesn't require the heroes to hack and slash their way to victory. There's an interesting puzzle needing to be pieced together, and woven throughout the text are lyrical bits of riddling poetry handed down through generations, harkening back to the poems and lays in Tolkien's masterpiece. Here, these serve a dual purpose, both as a way into the deep culture the author has brewed up, and as a means for piecing together the history and mystery set up within. Pacing is good, and we have the extra added bonuses of both amazing cover art, and cool chapter headings.

Overall, this book is everything I would hope to find when cracking open traditional fantasy. Which is why it was such a struggle to decide on four or five stars.

See, the book was touted as a YA Fantasy, but it's difficult to see a young person reading it without serious difficulty. The vocabulary is lush, including words (like lissome) that I was forced to look up. Entire paragraphs are chock full of not only this, but fantasy cultural slang words, strange (made up?) names for herbs and plants, and fantasy names for trees.

I've decided to award the book five stars due to sheer awesomeness, but parents are warned that the material may be a bit rough for young teens to handle (it's rated PG, but difficult because of the reading level), and are therefore encouraged to read and discuss with their children.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This review appears on behalf of AIA (awesomeindies.net)
-Brent Meske
Profile Image for BookLoversLife.
1,803 reviews9 followers
September 28, 2013
Lias father and a few others in her village have been struck down with a mysterious illness. They get pricked by some thorns and end up getting very sick. Her grandfather knows where the thorns come from, Brume! Its a place shrouded in fog and very few come out of there alive. Lia knows she has no choice but to venture into the unknown to save her father. She sets off with her grandfather, Wynn (her cousin)and Kelvin (her cousins friend)to find a cure but will they be on time?

I went into Arrows Of The Mist not having read too many reviews. I didn't know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised with it.
I really liked Lia, she is well able to look after herself and is brave and courageous. She has no problem going into an unknown place and facing what she has to do. She follows in her grandmothers footsteps and has a gift for plants and healing potions.

The little bit of romance in Arrows Of The Mist was really sweet. Lias love interest was evident from the start but I felt it could of been developed a bit further. We don't get to see alot of Kelvin and his relationship with Lia was basically non existent. I would of enjoyed it better if Kelvin went with Lia instead of Wynn.

Arrows Of The Mist was a quick read. The story progressed really quickly and was action packed but there wasn't much character development though which is why I gave it 4 stars.
Profile Image for Pattie Dupper.
4 reviews
August 1, 2013
Absolutely hypnotizing from page 1. Christina writes a captivating tale that grabs your interest and never lets go. An absolute must if you haven't read it yet. Can't wait for Arms of Anu (Book 2).
Profile Image for Christianna Marks.
351 reviews64 followers
July 13, 2013
You can read this and many other reviews on my YA book blog The White Unicorn!

Arrow of the Mist was an entertaining, quick and well thought out beginning to, what I think, will be an awesome series! Mercer has a way of working her words in a simple yet interesting way. Her pacing is wonderful and the story is action packed from beginning to end. On top of that she has worked together some really interesting characters.

I loved that this book was rooted in Celtic history, though it takes a turn into a fantasy realm, you never really lose the history of the people that the story surrounds. I found it refreshing. Speaking of Mercer's fantasy realm, I loved all of the aspects that she wove into her story. There were wondrous creatures that I had never heard of and others like dwarfs, unicorns, water nymphs and faeries. Even the creatures that we all know were re imagined in some really spectacular ways. I enjoyed the fact that I knew what the creatures were, but that Mercer was giving all of them a fresh face.

Arrow of the Mist is also riddled with riddles taken out of Lia's grandma's Grimoire. Magic plays a key role in the world building of the story and Mercer also gives that aspect a make over. The mystery elements were hidden inside of the riddles, which was fun. She rooted it in a realistic world while also letting the magic do its own thing. Can you tell that I was obsessed with the world building in this book yet? Because I totally was! It was dark and evil and light and beautiful all at the same time. As soon as you step into the land of Brume anything goes and Mercer used that to her advantage!

The characters were also a lot of fun to read about. Lia is a strong female lead, who also isn't afraid to show us her weaknesses! I'm a huge fan of main characters like that. Not only is the book a action packed fantasy story, it's also Lia's coming of age story. And trust me, she comes back to her home land a completely different person. The unfolding of her tree mage powers was also fascinating to watch. Though there is a hunky love interest by the name of Kelvin, he isn't used in much of the novel. Which I thought was kind of awesome. You know he's there, but the story focuses on Lia and her cousin Wynn. Speaking of Wynn, he was pretty amazing himself. I couldn't have wished for a better partner in crime for Lia. Reading a book that centered on family was a nice change of pace for me.

Mercer's use of animals and plant life in Arrow of the Mist also brought a certain life to the book. Hounds, bees, horses and a slew of plant life play a large role in the book and she gave them all the right amount of personality!

All in all I have to say that Mercer has written a solid first novel. Though I do have to get up on my soap box for second and let you know that I thought that the ending was way to abrupt. It almost felt like it cut off in the middle of a paragraph to me. But, that being said I'll be sitting here waiting to see what happens next in book 2!

*Received a copy from the author for honest review*
Profile Image for Xan Rooyen.
Author 34 books111 followers
July 2, 2013

I should preface this review by saying that I am a huge fan of epic fantasy and that anything Celtic has a particularly special place in my heart, thus I went in already loving the premise, but I had very high expectations.

About two chapters in, I went searching for the publisher because the prose was exquisite and I wanted to know who the editor was. I couldn’t believe this novel was self-published! It is without a doubt the best self-published book I have ever read.

Now more about the prose – the prose captures the atmosphere of this book perfectly. Lia is young, only fifteen, and quite innocent by modern standards. She’s the resident herbalist in her village and the writing reflects her love of nature with phrases like ‘I don’t give a thistle.’ These little gems were sprinkled throughout the novel and I found them delightful and true to character.

The story itself is a take on the classic Hero’s Journey and while I did feel at one point that their quest started to drag, it only lasted about half a chapter before the author threw something new and exciting into the mix. This novel has it all: faeries, shades, dwarfs, unicorns and sentient trees!

The world-building is fantastic, the division between the normal and the fae world reminding me of Gaiman’s Stardust, not in a derivative way but in a familiar, old-friend kind of way. This book definitely took me back to my childhood, to rainy afternoons spent reading with my mom about magical, far away places. The author clearly knows her stuff when it comes to herb lore and this showed through the characters, adding layers of authenticity to the world. The subtle borrowings from Celtic folklore made me smile too.

I did find the pervasive innocence of the characters more in line with what I’ve read in MG than in YA. These characters are neither cynical or jaded, rather refreshing from the usual YA set, but it does make the characters come across a bit young. I’d definitely recommend this book to fans of Janice Hardy’s Shifter series rather than fans of books like The Hunger Games and Graceling.

If I’m going to find anything to gripe about in this story it’s that Lia seemed to have an incredible memory and always managed to recount the perfect bit of lore from her Grandma’s book just in the nick of time. This method of saving the day became a little contrived after a while, but that’s honestly the only thing that took the shine away from a full 5 stars.

Oh and that ending! Really, we have to wait ’til the end of the year for more? This is one sequel I will definitely be reading and I don’t say that very often.

Final consensus, I absolutely adored this book! For fans of traditional fantasy who don’t mind their characters a little naive and their narrative squeaky clean. Arrow in the Mist gets 4.5 inksplats from me.
Profile Image for Stephanie Ward.
1,178 reviews116 followers
July 1, 2013
4.5 Stars

'Arrow of the Mist' is a young adult fantasy novel that follows leading lady Lia as she goes on a journey with her Granda, cousin Wynn, and family friend. They are going into the forbidden land of Brume - a harsh part of the country outside of their town's borders in order to gather valuable herbs to make a remedy for the mysterious illness that's attacking people of their village. During their journey, Lia's Granda becomes ill and it's up to Lia and Wynn to finish the important quest. Will they be able to gather the necessary plants and herbs to cure Lia's father and the others who have fallen ill? Or will the creatures and the dangerous truths of Brume claim Lia for their own?

This was a beautifully written and magical novel that immediately had me hooked from the first paragraph. I loved learning as much as I could about the kingdom of Nemetona, which was inspired by Celtic history. The back story of the land and its people was fascinating and I enjoyed discovering all the secrets that the Brume had to offer. I also loved learning about Lia's family history, especially her grandmother and their special powers that revolve around healing, magic, and herbs. I was totally intrigued by all the information that the author provided and I eagerly devoured each page. The characters were all well rounded and easy to like, especially that of Lia. She's a strong female lead character who is a great role model as well. She's smart, focused, devoted to her family, and skilled in several important areas like hunting and working with herbs to heal others. Like all realistic heroines, Lia must face ridicule from other people who don't understand her and don't like her for being different. On top of these outside obstacles, Lia also has to learn to trust herself, believe in her gifts, and also discover enough about herself and where she comes from to gain the strength to do what needs to be done. She matures quite a bit throughout the novel, and I loved seeing her character grow. The plot was wholly original and a wonderful addition to the YA fantasy genre. There was a mix of genres present in the story - it has a bit of action, fantasy, adventure, suspense, mystery, and even some romance thrown in, so it's sure to be a hit with fans of all types of fiction. The writing was incredibly well done and shows the great talent the author possesses. It has a fast pace and flows effortlessly throughout the novel, so it has the reader eagerly turning each page to see what will happen next. Highly recommended for fans of YA fantasy and also for those who want to escape into a magical and mysterious land for awhile.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for anna.
49 reviews11 followers
July 31, 2013
*note: I received a copy of this book to read via Netgalley in exchange for honest feedback.

Lia, a determined girl devoted to her family and their "old ways" of life (herbal remedies, belief in magics) must set off into the dangerous and forbidden land that borders their own--Brume, a place of phantasms, and who knows what else beyond the mists, in order to find a cure for a terrible poison spread by an equally terrible and twisted invasive nettle.

The part of this book that I loved most had to be the fantastic inclusion of botanical elements--the greenery was enchanting, and the world of Brume inviting and frightening all at once. While the story of a young girl discovering she has powers beyond her every inkling is very common these days, this book makes its telling so unique that it is difficult to put down.

Lia's devotion to her family and their memory is especially strong; it resonated with me, and it was refreshing to read. She is treated as an outcast by the appalled townspeople who want nothing to do with magic or herbal lore, but she is treasured by her family.

Family is one of the major themes this book touches upon. Others include strength of belief, truth, and the meaning and reach of power.

The standout character by far is Lia; the others involved in the story paled a bit in comparison. I would have liked to have been shown a little more of their character as opposed to told, but it did not detract from the story, or its fast, engrossing pace.

Ms. Mercer's description of the lands of Brume captures the imagination, and the riddle passages were well-done. I wished that there was a little more detail or discussion of the political situation of Nemetona, but again, this did not detract that much from the telling of the story.

This book would appeal primarily to female readers of fantasy, or fans of the quest. Readers interested in herbal lore, or Celtic elements would probably enjoy it as well. Aside from the desperate situation, and occasional violence, I would say that the book is suitable for both advanced and YA readers.

I will be looking forward to the second installment!
1,148 reviews26 followers
April 25, 2014
Fairytales in dreams will never be the same again…

Spellbinding imaginative concepts and fantastical worlds will transform your dreams into reality as soon as you begin to read! Any child (or teenager) will find this magical tale hugely impressive, for as soon as you delve into this dazzling debut it unlocks a portal of wonder. In the midst of danger and deception lies an undercurrent of strength, in the form of fantastic main protagonist Lia, whose likeability instantly pulled me along her journey. This is a fairytale like no other; set within an alternate Irish setting, the world of Nametona is a place shrouded in dark ambiguity and secrets. Containing all those elements one would hope to find in classic ‘high fantasy’ such as epic quests, magical creatures and a great destiny this story was solid and full of substance.

Targeted towards the younger reader (middle-grade) ‘Arrow of the mist’ is an enchanting story that will delight fans of fairytales and Harry Potter! With a mystical setting that sends shivers down the spine to curious creatures who intrigue…this book really does encapsulate fantasy fiction in a compelling story. Exceeding all expectations with a convincing storyline and well written narrative, here is a book which will be read and re-read again and again.

I would like to thank Christina Mercer for providing me with an e-copy of her brilliant book to read and review, as I not only thoroughly enjoyed it but cannot wait to delve into book 2 with interest and anticipation. The transfixing combination of the beautiful, eye-catching cover and fascinating storyline is a winner; as I was keen to explore an entirely new ‘twisted fairytale’ version.
Profile Image for Ionia.
1,436 reviews67 followers
September 11, 2013
First of all, my compliments to the cover artist. How awesome that it wasn't another typical dragon or princess cover. Love that. Also, that colour scheme is really eye-catching.

Secondly, I really enjoyed this book. The main female character, Lia, is certainly one to contend with. Her quick wit and overall presence made this book an easy read to love. I get tired of the fantasy novels where all of the women seem to need rescuing every other minute. It was nice to see a head with some brains in it.

I love that so much of this book focuses on riddles, herbs and animals. This is the main reason why I love fantasy in general, and this author handled it very well. Good enough, in fact that it makes me wonder why I had not heard of said her until recently. I never felt like I was reading a rehash of someone else's work during this. Points for originality.

I appreciated the way this book progressed. It was fast enough to make me keep turning pages, but not so quickly paced that I felt I didn't have the chance to get to know each character. Everyone has a reason for their actions and I wasn't lost at any point.

The descriptions the author used were more than just adequate. The surroundings come alive through her use of good word choices and her ability to describe the sounds, tastes, scents and sights of things in vivid detail.

I would definitely recommend this book to other lovers of the fantasy genre. If you don't read it, you will be missing out.

This review is based on a digital ARC from Netgalley and the publisher.
Profile Image for Kris.
80 reviews18 followers
September 25, 2013
This is the story of Lia, a brave girl in search of a cure after her father is poisoned by a deadly thorn. The venomous plant is spreading quickly, killing peasants as they work in the woods. Dark magic is sending the root system far and wide, and the usual remedies don’t heal the victims. Lia and three others embark on a quest to get the necessary ingredients to cure those infected. It is on this journey that Lia finds the power behind the poison plants and discovers she has magic of her own.

Arrow of the MistThe Arrow of the Mist is an awesome coming-of-age story, steeped in mystical folklore. Lia’s long standing knowledge of natural resources and recently exposed inner power makes for a wonderful battle against evil – she uses her brain and brawn against magical enemies. The story is fast paced, the plot is entirely original, and the quest is thrilling. Lia battles evil and encounters first love on this quest; making the well-rounded protagonist even more dynamic. She is a heroine for all readers, and her quest will resonate with all who love a great adventure.

The combination of Celtic-inspired myth and very real botany is fun to read, the fight scenes are vivid and exciting, and the conflict is convincing. I love stories where good and bad overlap, and it is in this gray area that Lia finds herself. Does she finish what she started or surrender to the natural order of living things? This is a great book, and you will enjoy the adventure – I promise.
Profile Image for The Book Beacon.
86 reviews6 followers
September 11, 2013
This is the story of Lia, a brave girl in search of a cure after her father is poisoned by a deadly thorn. The venomous plant is spreading quickly, killing peasants as they work in the woods. Dark magic is sending the root system far and wide, and the usual remedies don't heal the victims. Lia and three others embark on a quest to get the necessary ingredients to cure those infected. It is on this journey that Lia finds the power behind the poison plants and discovers she has magic of her own.

Arrow of the Mist is an awesome coming-of-age story, steeped in mystical folklore. Lia's long standing knowledge of natural resources and recently exposed inner power makes for a wonderful battle against evil - she uses her brain and brawn against magical enemies. The story is fast paced, the plot is entirely original, and the quest is thrilling. Lia battles evil and encounters first love on this quest; making the well-rounded protagonist even more dynamic. She is a heroine for all readers, and her quest will resonate with all who love a great adventure.

The combination of Celtic-inspired myth and very real botany is fun to read, the fight scenes are vivid and exciting, and the conflict is convincing. I love stories where good and bad overlap, and it is in this gray area that Lia finds herself. Does she finish what she started or surrender to the natural order of living things? This is a great book, and you will enjoy the adventure - I promise.
Profile Image for Katrina Marie.
Author 63 books718 followers
July 12, 2013

Arrow of the Mist is a creepy fantasy. I would feel comfortable letting my 9 year old read this, and it’s great for all ages.

Lia is a strong female character. She isn’t like the other girls in her village, and doesn’t care about wearing dresses or getting married. She loves mixing herbs for the people in her village. She’s just an all out strong person. She doesn’t let anything deter her. Wynn, Lia’s cousin, is funny. He thinks about what could happen if they go down a certain path, but ultimately has Lia’s back. They are family, and mean so much to each other.

There’s trouble at every turn for these cousins. They seem to constantly run into a life threatening situation. I do love how fairytales are brought to life in this book. Everything is based on nature. I think that helps show the significance of how we treat the wilderness to the forefront.

I definitely recommend this if you are looking for a strong character that can be looked up to. It’s a quick read, and I hope to read more about Lia and Wynn in the future.
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