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Leaves Are Fallin’ All Around, Time I Was On My Way

A review of Mistwood by Leah Cypess, in which a shapeshifting bodyguard must rediscover her powers, memories, and loyalties.

Leaves Are Fallin’ All Around, Time I Was On My Way

BOOK REPORT for Mistwood (Mistwood Book 1) by Leah Cypess

Cover Story: Good God, NO!
BFF Charm: Meh?
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Straight Up Castle Drama
Bonus Factor: Lore, The Shifter
Relationship Status: Seat Mates

Cover Story: Good God, NO!

From the cat eyes in the girl's face suspended in the mist to the castle, this book is NOT one I'd proudly walk around with. However, it does totally embody the story.

The Deal:

The Shifter is a being created to protect the Royal Family. (Hey, wouldn't it be cool if Wills and Kate had a shifter? I mean, it might be tough work what with members of the royal family traveling so far and wide these days, but come to think of it, who's to say they don't have a shifter? 'Cause Queen Elizabeth is obvs one protected lady...) Anyhoodle, this shifter has been in her Mistwood for quite some time when her services are called upon. Isabel follows the new king back to the Samornian castle to fulfill her duties to protect him. Only trouble is, she can't remember. Like, anything. And she can't shift, either. She doesn't know who to trust or who's a threat, only that she must protect the king at all costs. So when she begins to regain some of her power, as well as her memory, Isabel's loyalties are tested, and she realizes the darkest secrets may be locked away in her own mind...

BFF Charm: Meh?

Don't get me wrong, Isabel would be a pretty cool BFF to have. But for reasons I can't mention due to their spoilerish nature, she spends most of the story trying NOT to feel basic human-type emotions, which just ended up making me feel like I couldn't get to know her, and for me, felt a little flat. I'd like Mistwood to be the first in a series, where we get to see what happens next with Isabel. I have a feeling I'd be much more speedy with the charm givage if we were able to continue her story, picking up where this one left off.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Prince Rokan was definitely super swoonworthy, and there were some really nice moments of tension between him and Isabel, but this story was much more about loyalty and self-discovery than it was about tingles in the tummy.

Talky Talk: Straight Up Castle Drama

The blurb on the back of this book says it will appeal to those who like Kristin Cashore and Tamora Pierce, who, uh, I haven't read. (I KNOW, they're on my list) but Cypress's writing reminded me of the fantasies and Arthurian legends I read as a Young. The world she created is interesting and original, and her prose flowed nicely, if not with quite as much heart-stopping action as I like in my fantasy novels. However, it's a solid debut, and will appeal to readers young and adult who really enjoy (for lack of a better descriptive) castle fantasy.

Bonus Factor: Lore

One of the strongest points this book has going for it is the lore Cypess created surrounding the Mistwood and Samornia. And who doesn't like good lore?

Bonus Factor: The Shifter

Okay, so this shape shifter DOESN'T walk around in jorts showing off abs we'd like to wash our dishtowels on, and I meant for that to be a bonus factor. But now that I think about it...

Casting Call:

Since I'm absolutely obsessed with Game of Thrones, this little lady is fresh in my mind:

Sophie Turner as Isabel

Relationship Status: Seat Mates

When this book sat next to me on an inter-continental flight, I thought it might be interesting. Or that it was going to be a looong flight. But I ended up talking to it, and didn't ever once think about putting my ear buds in and closing my eyes so it would leave me alone. The book was interesting and attractive, and I enjoyed its company. But when the flight was over, we both went to separate sections of baggage claim, and when it caught my eye when we were both reaching for our bags, I gave it a closed-mouth smile and a wave before heading on to customs by myself.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Harper Collins. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Mistwood is available now.

Jenny Bird's photo About the Author: Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.
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