July 3, 2013

Arrow of the Mist - Christina Mercer

Arrow of the Mist - Christina Mercer
Arrow of the Mist by Christina Mercer
Publication Date: March 21, 2013
Source/Format: Author (Thanks Christina!) || e-book
[I received this book from the author. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

Terror strikes the Celtic inspired kingdom of Nemetona when barbed roots breach the veil of a forbidden land and poison woodsmen, including 15-year-old Lia’s beloved father. Lia and three others embark on a quest to the forbidden land of Brume to gather ingredients for the cure. But after her elder kinsman is attacked and poisoned, she and her cousin, Wynn, are forced to finish the quest on their own.

Lia relies on her powerful herbal wisdom and the memorized pages of her late grandmother’s Grimoire for guidance through a land of soul-hungry shades, trickster creatures, and uncovered truths about the origin of Brume and her family’s unexpected ties to it. The deeper they trek into the land, the stronger Lia’s untapped gift as a tree mage unfolds. When she discovers the enchanted root’s maker, it forces her to question everything about who she is and what is her destiny. Ultimately she must make a terrible choice: keep fighting to save her father and the people of the lands or join with the power behind the deadly roots to help nature start anew.

Arrow of the Mist was a pretty solid read, complete with fascinating elements and adventure to boot. The story is fairly straightforward: girl goes on a quest into a forbidden, mysterious place to recover a cure for a deadly plague in her town. It was truly the writing, and the imagination that went into crafting this tale, that drew me in. While I had my reservations, this novel is certainly good.

What I loved most about this book was the magic. The array of paranormal beings was fairly typical – with fae, dwarves, unicorns and shades coming out to play. But the focus on tree magic and other natural remedies was really interesting! The author was able to write this magic in a way that seemed real, convincing and true. Each tree was identified with particular characteristics and “powers”, which I thought was fairly cool as a nature-lover. It was also easy to fall in love with the little magical rhymes from Lia’s grandmother’s Grimoire, as they were easy to remember and also very puzzling.

The story never had a dull moment, as Lia and her companions often had to face one conflict after the next. There was definitely a lot going on, some things I guessed at, and others that surprised me. The author did manage to make it seem like these events were just a natural progression, and it never overwhelmed me or seemed too far-fetched at all.

There are only two things that have this tale lingering between good and great. First, I couldn’t connect well with Lia. She’s definitely a cool character, complete with her affinity for magic, uncanny memory, true courage and love of nature. But I lacked an emotional connection with her, and wasn’t invested enough to completely fall in love with her.

The second thing was that the ending felt strangely anti-climactic to me. While the adventure certainly tapered off into a fitting resolution, it also felt… incomplete. The novel finished on a note that felt like only the first chapter of Lia’s story was done, and that bothered me a bit considering I thought it was a stand-alone.

In spite of my reservations, I can wholeheartedly recommend Arrow of the Mist. It’s a fantasy novel with both unique and familiar elements. Plus, it’s an easy read, though occasionally the voice shifts into a seemingly younger tone. Fans of adventures and quests, and those interested in fantasy novels, will probably enjoy this one as much as I did.

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  1. I've been seeing a lot about how awesome all the magical creatures in this book are. I don't read this genre a lot but I'm really intrigued by this one. I also like fast paced reads - too bad about the ending though I love a good climactic intense ending. Glad you enjoyed it overall, muffin!

  2. I don't typically gravitate toward the fantasy genre, but this premise sounds genuinely inventive and really interesting!

    I'm sorry that you struggled to connect with Lia. That's a problem I've often experienced when it comes to protagonist in fantasy-like stories. As much as I enjoyed C.J. Redwine's Defiance, for instance, I distinctly remember struggling to connect with Rachel. It's strange - Heroines in the fantasy genre often have everything I look for in a protagonist in theory (Strong, capable, outspoken, assertive, etc) but rarely am I able to care about them as deeply and understand their motivations as well as I am with protagonists in the contemporary genre. There always seems to be an unfortunate disconnect somewhere that I can't put my finger on.

  3. I participated in a book blitz for this one because I just had to have this book on my blog. I'm glad I did as it seems like a really good book! I did read an excerpt and I felt that it was written well. This is totally my genre, by the way, so I am glad it met your qualifications. Not sure how I feel about that ending though, as that seems to be one of my biggest book nitpicks. We'll see.

  4. AHH this sounds just like an Alyssa book, and look how pretty the cover is!!! Also tree magic is kind of my favorite thing...ever. I am sorry that you couldn't connect with Lia, that really does impact my whole connection to a novel. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention!!

  5. I like fantasy books and a younger voice, but I prefer resolved endings. Also, like you, I need to be able to connect with a main character.

    ALSO, that cover. I love it.

  6. Ooh, I've got an e-galley for this one! The cover is what got my attention, but then you add in Celtic kingdom? SOLD! I hate that you weren't really able to connect with the character though. That's a little disappointing! But I am glad that it doesn't lack for magic and adventure!

  7. Gosh this is so a ME book!! I saw this a couple days ago for the first time (well, apparently I had forgotten about it because it was already on my TBR) but I am glad that it was brought to my attention again and that you also enjoyed it because it sounds like a book I would really enjoy! I am partial to fantasy/magic books and this sounds like a good one. BUT I will keep in mind that I might not connect with Lia and the ending might not be awesome.


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