Ooh, pretty cover. You might need to see it bigger to get the full effect. I'll see what I can do about that....
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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.
The author's website: http://www.leahcypess.com/
This book is twisty!! I'm a little rusty in the pure fantasy department, but this book (and Graceling, which I'll review this week) was the perfect remedy to ease me back into my old childhood haunt: Castles, forests, and dungeons. Isabel believes she is one thing and discovers she's something much more ambiguous. Where the Shifter should be ruthless and impenetrable, Isabel finds herself vulnerable and full of doubt. It's a great story for all of us because everyone must discover who she really is and where she fits in her world. The entire book masterfully keeps readers in the dark about Prince Rokan. Can he be trusted? Are his apparent feelings for the Shifter genuine? In the end, Isabel must make some very difficult, heartbreaking decisions between two people she loves. It's only by discovering who she is that she is empowered to make those decisions.
I loved the characterizations. Even the side characters have depth, and I almost wept when one of my favorite supporting characters was killed suddenly. Another character drove me nuts with her snarky comments and intrigue. I never knew if I should trust her, either. The magicians were sometimes nefarious and other times charming. The nobles of the court with their suspicions and power plays were another layer on the cake.
With this book, I learned to expect the unexpected.
The descriptions glow on the page, especially whenever Mistwood is the setting. Leah Cypess' words just exude magic. If you like fantasy, you'll love Mistwood. I give it FIVE STARS.
A companion novel will be available May 31st, called Nightspell. Even though it's filled with different characters, I'm looking forward to this addition to the magical world Leah Cypess created.
P.S. I'm featured on Kai Strand's lovely blog today in an interview about my top 3 favorites in books, authors, and writing tips: http://kaistrand.blogspot.com/2011/03/three-times-charm-with-katrina-lantz.html