Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Enchanting Review: Mistwood

YA Paranormal
Greenwillow Books
ISBN# 9780061956997
320 pages
Hardcover – Available April 27, 2010

Rating: 5 Enchantments

Travelling deep into the dangerous Mistwood, a young prince and soon to be king call upon an ancient power. Summoning and then binding Isabel to them, it would seem that all of their problems are now solved. Or are they?

Isabel is the Shifter, bound to protect the royalty of Samorna both with her strength and her mind. Immortal and able to take on any shape she chooses, the Shifter is a formidable weapon and great protection for a king in need. When Rokhan summons her and brings her back to the castle with him, however, Isabel soon learns that everything is not as it should be. Strong in character and wise beyond the appearance of her years, Isabel is a fantastic character with quite a bit of depth to her. This is easily a character one could follow throughout many stories as there always seems to be something new to discover about her.

Prince Rokhan, next in line to the throne after the death of his father, finds himself relying heavily on Isabel. Her powers and physical abilities should help protect his life while her mental capacity and experience advising past kings should help Rokhan lead his people well. With a strong desire to better his kingdom and rule wisely, Rokhan appears to have great potential. With Isabel at his side, he truly believes nothing can go wrong. Unfortunately for him, however, secrets rarely stay hidden and when his come to the surface, losing his crown may be the least of his worries.

MISTWOOD by Leah Cypess is a robust tale of royalty, deception, self-discovery, romance and a decent amount of the paranormal. As we follow Isabel throughout the story, we learn more about her and the memories that slowly come back to her. Snatches of memory and good reasoning skills allows Isabel to discover that Rokhan may not be who he truly seems although the compulsion of the Shifter magic forces her to protect him anyway. Uncovering more about Isabel and Rokhan, we find ourselves in the midst of deception. Full of sorcerers, princes, princesses, kings and the Shifter, MISTWOOD is a wonderful tale of magic and the strength of the human spirit.

Originally drawn to MISTWOOD by the beautiful cover, I was amazed at just how good the story was. Isabel is unlike many of the shape-shifters that we see nowadays. Ms. Cypess has done an amazing job of creating her own world and her own set of rules. What really made this book fantastic was how well she stuck to those rules. I have experienced many paranormal books where suddenly the characters could do things that had been impossible for them to do previously in the story. Here, Ms. Cypess gives Isabel her quirks and limitations while actually sticking to them. That made the story much more believable and realistic, which is great for something so full of magic.

Relationships played a major role in MISTWOOD. As Isabel learns more about herself and uncovers the truths about others, we see relationships grow and falter. This is more than a single week of time in the life of some girl. While not covering a huge expanse of time, this book does seem to cover quite a large expanse of events. Ms. Cypess does a fantastic job of allowing the story to ebb and flow throughout the book, giving us little mini adventures and allowing each event to come Isabel’s way to really shine. When I said that the story was robust, that really is the best way to describe it. MISTWOOD is a very full story with plenty of twists and turns. Every time it felt like the story was coming to a close, something else would happen that would keep our heroine constantly moving forward.

For me, the true test of a story is how long it stays in one’s mind after the final page has turned. With the plot twists throughout the book and especially at the end of the story, I believe MISTWOOD will stay with me for a while. This story is dark and mysterious, the lies surrounding Rokhan and the loss of Isabel’s memory aiding the mystical feel of the book. The way in which this book has fully wrapped around my mind is evidence of Ms. Cypess’s clear writing style and beautiful story development.

MISTWOOD was many years in the making and truly a work of art from Leah Cypess. Although this is her first published novel, she has written a number of other short stories. She can be found online at http://www.leahcypess.com/.

Cinnamon Brown
March 2010


  1. Mistwood might well end up being my favorite book of 2010...It's nice to see other people liking it too!