Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication date: May 2010
The shifter has been a legend in Samorna for hundreds of years, but Isabel can't remember any of that. She only remembers being called back to the kingdom by Prince Rokan, who she will protect with her life. As her memory slowly returns, she begins to wonder why Rokan called for her when he did - what threat to his life did he decide warranted bringing the Shifter to the palace?
Things I Liked:
The story that unravels slowly, bit by bit, is fantastic. I loved having pieces dropped here and there, one at a time. Isabel was an interesting character - she would remember things and then try to reconcile the way she felt with those memories. There were quite a few surprises in store at the end that I really didn't see coming at all. I liked the twists and paths this story took to arrive at the end. I was even impressed with the unflinching ending that seemed inevitable, but that some writers might have avoided at all costs. Cypess was not afraid to make those choices for her ending. Great story, good strong fantasy debut. Some awesome quotes:
People did fight who lived in castles like these. Not with fists and feet and claws, but with words and whispers and influence...It was a fight, or rather a game, with many players and many rules and many strategies. p 14
She had thought, once, that nothing could terrify her as much as the thought of her prince dead. Now she knew there was something worse. He could live, but choose to do it without her. He could turn his back on her and make her useless. p 222Things I Didn't Like:
Some of the fantasy elements could have used more explanation. Especially some of the stuff that happened at the end - it was very fast and sometimes unclear. I wish there had been more information about the shifter and what she was - not to mention especially the last time she stayed in the castle. Despite the explanation for that, I felt like I wasn't entirely sure what happened. Still, I look forward to more from Cypess, especially if there is more about Isabelle!
Fire by Kristin Cashore
Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
BOOK CONTENT RATINGS:
one or two
quite a few fight scenes, nothing overly graphic
Overall rating: ****
Speaking of awesome YA and MG books, have you gotten your Cybils nominations in yet? Nominations end October 15, and I know a lot of great books have already been nominated (including Mistwood), so hurry!
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