The Shifter is an immortal creature bound by an ancient spell to protect the kings of Samorna. When the realm is peaceful, she retreats to the Mistwood. But when she is needed she always comes.
Isabel remembers nothing. Nothing before the prince rode into her forest to take her back to the castle. Nothing about who she is supposed to be, or the powers she is supposed to have.
Prince Rokan needs Isabel to be his Shifter. He needs her ability to shift to animal form, to wind, to mist. He needs her lethal speed and superhuman strength. And he needs her loyalty—because without it, she may be his greatest threat.
Isabel knows that her prince is lying to her, but she can't help wanting to protect him from the dangers and intrigues of the court . . . until a deadly truth shatters the bond between them.
Now Isabel faces a choice that threatens her loyalty, her heart . . . and everything she thought she knew.
Synopsis taken from goodreads.
Author: Leah Cypess
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: April 27, 2010
Tour: Teen Book Scene blog tour for Nightspell. This review is part of the Teen Book Scene blog tour for Leah Cypess' Nightspell tour. You can follow along with the tour here, or by clicking through the banner located below.
My rating: 4/5
The royal family of Samorna is in need of the Shifter. She is legend, and has always protected the royal line of Samorna when in danger. With Samorna's prince ready to ascend the throne, conspiracies abound, and danger lurks around every corner. Prince Rokan invokes the age-old spell in the hopes that the Shifter will once again provide protection for the royal line. Sinister plots, and betrayal from those surrounding him will have Isabel constantly on alert as she continues to protect Prince Rokan from danger.
Mistwood is a fantastic addition to the fantasy realm. Believable characters, and political intrigue will have readers devouring the pages to find out what will happen next. Isabel, being the Shifter, has been lost in her woods for years, and when she is ensnared by the spell that binds her powers to the royal family, she returns to her position as immortal bodyguard. Once inside the castle walls she realizes that she is not the same Shifter she once was, and with danger looming closer than ever, she will need to figure out what is happening to her, before something happens to the Prince on her watch.
Isabel is an extraordinary character. Coupled with the remote life of being a Shifter, and these new human emotions, she will need to figure out what is going on, and how she will be able to protect the Prince. Throughout we watch her grapple with her immortality and how she should feel, and how she does feel. With questions arising, and answers locked down until the latter half of the read, readers may have a hard time connecting with her. I was absolutely engrossed in her story, and found her frustrations completely believable. She is enigmatic, yet is powerless in the face of her uncertainty and newfound emotions. Without her memories, she struggles to put the pieces together that are needed to help keep Prince Rokan safe.
The story really starts to come together in the latter half of the book when certain elements come into play. I had an inkling of what was going to happen, but wasn't prepared totally for what did happen. Cypess unveils a highly original plot twist, one that I would have loved giving a more in depth look at.
One downfall I had while reading Mistwood was when one of my favourite characters was killed off. The story just seemed to pick up and move on. There is also a romantic bent to the story, but it wasn't elaborated on until the end, and didn't provide the stability it could have, had that aspect been fleshed out earlier on in the novel.
All in all, Mistwood is a captivating and thoroughly riveting read. I loved the characterization, the world, and the elements surrounding the Shifter and her mythology. I absolutely loved the different twists in the story as they kept me wondering just what was going on. I love that the ending surprised me as much as it did. Cypess has gained a new reader here. If the rest of the books she writes are anything like Mistwood, I think I'll inhale them. Court intrigue, immortal beings, and deadly rivalries, what's not to love?