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MISTWOOD by Leah Cypess Kirkus Star

MISTWOOD

By Leah Cypess

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-06-195699-7
Publisher: Greenwillow/HarperCollins

The greatest magic is the power of choice in this lush, romantic debut fantasy. When she was brought from the Mistwood forest and bound to Prince Rokan, “Isabel” knew her true identity to be the Shifter, the legendary guardian of Samorna’s kings. She has forgotten so much else—how to fully access her powers, even the reason for her catastrophic failure to protect the previous ruler. Still, she can tell that Rokan is lying to her. A traditional premise is transformed into a graceful meditation on the ramifications of loyalty, duty and purpose. While the magical system and palace intrigues clearly occur within a wider world, the narrative unfolds its intricate puzzlebox of secrets chiefly to explore the compassionately drawn characters. There are no simple heroes or villains here: All are trapped between past and future, burdens and hopes; every one, with the most honorable of motives, betrays and is betrayed. Yet for all the pain and violence, the story is far from bleak—above all, it celebrates the agonizing glory of being human. Astonishing and inspiring. (Fantasy. YA)