Author: Leah Cypress
Genre: YA (though suitable for younger teens), Adventure
Perfect For: 'Graceling' fans, young and old
As a Shape-shifter, Isabels' duty is to protect the king from any and all danger. But confusion has hung over her head since Rokan, the (then) prince, came into her woods, the enchanted Mistwoods, in order to bind her to him as his bodyguard. While she knows her sole purpose is to protect and defend the king, why can't she remember how to shift and, more importantly, why does she think and question less like the Shape-shifters of legend and more like the humans she has to protect?
I liked Mistwood. It wasn't completely what I expected it to be, but was full of likable, defined characters and had a good mix of action and plot development. While the basic story about a superhuman girl who defends the king is similar to Kristin Cashore's Graceling, the rest of the story was very different. Isabel's journey to find out her past caught my attention right away and held on to it till the last page turn.
The secondary characters were nicely fleshed out. I admit, I would have liked to see a little more of Rokan, the prince/king, and Ven, the sorcerer's apprentice, but what can you do? All the characters acted and spoke naturally, which is always a delight. The story became slightly predictable toward the end, but by the time it happens, you'll be so involved in the novel, you won't really care.
Mistwood has a good mix of fantastical elements, action, and even a bit of romance intricately woven together, making a story that I happily recommend to YA readers. Mistwood hits bookstore shelves May 2010, but is available for pre-order now.