Published April 27th, 2010
amazon, Barnes & Noble
synopsis from goodreads
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.
some cutie thoughts:
There were some fundamental plot line issues with Mistwood (more on plot later, taters). It was almost as if the author had a bag of plot twists and would randomly pull one out at will adding it to her story. Toward the end of the novel, as things finally sorta started to take shape, I just stopped trying to figure out what the heck was going on and embraced the fact that nothing was going to make sense. Revelations were made, huge plot reveals explored, and yet, I just couldn’t find a rhyme or reason to them.
Isabel (the Shifter and main protagonist) was an extremely unstable character and I could never truly put my finger on who she was. I know her character was in turmoil, but there was just far too much “shifting” in her character traits. The only consistent personality trait was her conceit, which is eventually her undoing. This quality was both annoying and yet interesting to see play out. I think my main issue with Isabel was her lack of taking control of her life and standing up for what was right. Or maybe I just wanted her to learn to embrace her emotions even if they were human and messy. I got tired of her using the excuse that she had no choice in serving the king because at times it seemed she could have easily turned from him. I was never convinced she couldn’t do as she pleased or that she would be worthless without her ties to protecting the royal line. Also, the love story that was unfolding throughout the course of the novel was hastily thrown together within the final pages of the novel… at least… I think they were.
All the negative aside, the story is truly beautifully written and the setting is both unique and interesting. I just couldn’t put this novel down no matter how many times I rolled my eyes or just didn’t connect with the characters. Ms. Cypess is a fantastic writer. Her voice is strong. Her imagination is epic. And her characters are diverse and interesting, if not a little one-dimensional.
I think my main complaint was how without substance the reveals were and how at times the characters would have these “eureka moments” of understanding what was going on in the story, and yet I felt confused and left in the dark.
received from HarperTeen for a fair review
A stand-alone companion novel to the much-acclaimed MISTWOOD. When Darri rides into Ghostland, a country where the living walk with the dead, she has only one goal: to rescue her younger sister Callie, who was sent to Ghostland as a hostage four years ago. But Callie has changed in those four years, and now has secrets of her own. In her quest to save her sister from herself, Darri will be forced to outmaneuver a handsome ghost prince, an ancient sorcerer, and a manipulative tribal warrior (who happens to be her brother). When Darri discovers the source of the spell that has kept the dead in Ghostland chained to this earth, she faces a decision that will force her to reexamine beliefs she has never before questioned – and lead her into the heart of a conspiracy that threatens the very balance of power between the living and the dead.
Let’s indulge cutie for a moment whilst she explains the obvious.
So, a story line is the A to B to C which eventually will get us to Z of a story. It’s everything that happens and then some, whilst a plot is the twists and turns that are thrown into the story which manipulate it or in other words, it’s all the drama and dum.dum.dum moments. The plot gives the story substance, meaning, a reason. It makes the story interesting and helps drive it toward point Z. See, college ain’t a complete waste of time.*rolls eyes at self*
cutie now gives ya her thoughts:
If Mistwood’s plot was confusing, Nightspell’s was nonexistent. There was a story, that’s for sure. It’s setting was mysterious and beautiful, however, I have no clue how it was the same setting as Mistwood (??). It’s back history was interesting if not muddy. And it’s characters were plentiful, powerful, and yet they really didn’t do anything. I think there were a few love stories… but I’m not sure. I think the world was made better…. but I’m not sure. I think…. I’m beyond confused.
A hundred pages into the story I had no clue where it was going, what the main goal of the characters were, nor did I understand why I was reading this tale. And by the end of the story I felt no resolution nor was I any closer to understanding who the antagonist was or what the premise of this story was.
Nightspell is told from the prospective of at least three characters who are all siblings: Varis (a know-it-all warrior who was constantly being taken by surprise), Callie (the youngest sibling who had been sent to Ghostland to marry the prince), and Darri (an extremely head-strong and stubborn character who wants to save her sister). Outside of Callie who grows somewhat, all the characters remained steadfast in both their convictions and prejudices. I didn’t feel there was any resolution to this story nor to their relationship issues. Added to this, each of the characters seemed to have love interests: Varis’ never made sense, Darri was muddy at best and I was sad it wasn’t more flushed out, and Callie’s assumed main squeeze was tossed away without acknowledgment.
But mostly, I’m just unsure what was going on. There were moments when characters would suddenly just get it but I never did. For example, Varis at one point confronts a secondary character Clarssie about her past and her family, but I’m still not sure what it all meant, it was so vague and without substance or explanation, and yet it was this huge moment in which they connected…. And the sudden ending, with so many loose ends left unexplained, just left me on edge.
However, despite all of this, the story was enjoyable (I know, right? I’m not sure how), if for no other reason then I was completely drawn into the setting and found the writer’s style both beautiful and enchanting. I have never felt so conflicted whilst reading a book. A part of me was completely in love with the story line, the potential for epic greatness, while the other part of me wanted to call up the author and ask her what the hell was going on!
Take it away, my love.
Danny: Of course we do a giveaway!
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