Thursday, January 13, 2011

Review: Mistwood by Leah Cypess

Isabel has no recollection of her many lives as the Shifter, protecting the kings of Samorna with everything she had. When the soon-to-be-king Rokan finds her in the Mistwood, she doesn't even know her own name. As she enters the palace and resumes her post at the prince's side, fragments of those past lives begin to return in disorienting waves. Yet, it's enough for Isabel to realize that something went deadly wrong the last time she lived in the palace -- unfortunately, no one is willing to talk about it. But the lies and the intrigues are the least of her worries: the Shifter has lost more than her memories; she's lost her powers -- and without them, she has no purpose and nothing to bind her to the mortal realm. If she doesn't find answers soon, not only will her king die, but the Shifter may lose herself for good, returning to the wind and mist that brought her to life.

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 fantasy, Cypess makes that type of epic flights readily accessible by giving the reader a prepossessing heroine who combines raw power and bitter doubt, simultaneously a legend and a flesh and blood girl. This is truly Isabel's story, so while her character is beautifully crafted, the secondary characters sometimes feel a little flat. The narrative style is elegant, subtly using imagery to build the mystical aura of the Mistwood, and reading like an adult fairy tale. Cypess does brilliant work in this novel, building a breathtaking new world and turning preconceived stereotypes on their heads. One of my favorite dynamics in the novel was that between Isabel and Rokan: Rokan is the passionate, reckless, emotional one, while Isabel is cold, calculating, and strong. The backstory of the court intrigues adds an extra layer of romanticism to the plot and sets the stage for the surprising twists along the way -- tragic twists that will leave readers heartbroken over the unimaginable choices Isabel must make. This old world epic fantasy will enthrall fans of every genre.

Rating: 


Click here to purchase Mistwood by Leah Cypess.






Come back tomorrow for my interview with Leah Cypess!









This novel is part of the Debut Author Challenge 2010.





12 comments:

lisa :) said...

Okay I was all ready to comment on this review, then I saw your button for the Ian Somerhalder Foundation and I got entirely too distracted. Shame on you for having hotties promote good causes on your sidebar! ;)

Anyway...where was I...Mistwood! This sounds really cool! I always like a strong well-drawn heroine and it sounds like this one has some neat mythology involved too. Great review and as always, looking forward to the interview!

SusanKMann said...

This sounds great. Must get this book. x

Aylee said...

How come I've never heard of this novel before and yet it sounds so amazing?

Small Review said...

Great review! I really enjoyed this one. It felt like there was so much going on in the background. I hope she writes more about them because I want to know more about these characters and their world.

Lexie said...

I own this novel but haven't had a chance to read it yet. I love books that have an "irresistibly mystical" quality to them. That is why I read--to get out of this world for a few minutes and immerse myself in a whole different realm!

Diana said...

Great review! Isabel is very interesting character and the story is amazing.

Mary Ellen said...

I hadn't added this to my TBR list although I'd seen reviews on other sites. After you're review I think I'll add it. It sounds very mysterious and the characters seem very intriguing.
methom@earthlink.net

danya said...

I really enjoyed this one as well - it had me staying up late to finish it! Loved the complex mystery as well as Isabel's struggle between her Shifter and human sides. And like you I enjoyed the relationship between Rokan and Isabel and how they learned to trust each other. I agree that a few of the other characters (especially the villains) fell a little flat, though.

Did you find the beginning of the novel a little confusing? It took me a few chapters before I got really sucked into the story and got a good sense of the world.

Vivien said...

As soon as I saw that there was a sequel coming out, I knew I had to read this one. Another great review.

Syki said...

I have this book on my TBR pile for long time... maybe is time to reading it :) Thanks for this review!

Jadey! said...

As much as I ADORE the whole urban fantasy thing authors have going on these day, I am a sucker for imagined world, like the one in Mistwood. I read half the book then had to return it to a friend (sadface!) so want (read: neeeeeeeeeeed) to finish it!

Jennifer said...

I must say I had not heard of this book before reading this review.

To me the cover caught my attention.

After reading the review I'm not 100% sure it is my kind of book. Not really that keen on the whole mystical aspect. But it does seem interesting.

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