Title: Arrow of the Mist
Author: Christina Mercer
Genre: fantasy, children’s fiction, YA
Publisher: Christina Mercer
Rating: 0/6 – Couldn’t finish it
Synopsis from NetGalley: 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.
My Initial Thoughts/Rambling: Yeah, I DNFed again. I was so excited for this book for several reasons, one being the fact that the cover reminds me of Merida from Brave and I love that movie. I love books with Celtic-type settings, so that was another draw for me – add the magic and herb lore in and I was sold! But it just didn’t work out… at all.
Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this ebook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
What did I think about the characters? I think this was a function of the plot, which I’ll address below. There just wasn’t any time for Lia and the other characters to develop before we got to the story. With an exposition of about a page and a half, she didn’t even have a chance! I only had a little snapshot of Lia, and what I saw was pretty standard YA fare: young daughter is completely devoted to father, at the first sign of trouble she heads off on a suicide venture to save him, falling in love with a childhood friend along the way. Oh, and she’s unmarried when there are several other girls her age already married and she’s going to shame herself and end up a spinster because she’d rather traipse around in the woods in pants with her crossbow. Nothing good can come from that combination, and that’s about where I stopped reading.
As for the other characters, they just felt like names on a page. There was no substance at all, and I didn’t understand the connections between all of them. I know I should feel for Lia’s situation, but without that exposition I don’t know why she’s so close to her father. It turned into “okay now Lia’s leaving because dad is sick and she loves him very much” rather than “holy crap dad’s dying we’ve got to go now saddle up and ride, girl!”
And the concept and plot? Concept was great! Otherwise I wouldn’t have requested the book. It had so much promise and all the elements that I enjoy in a YA book, but it just failed to deliver in the plot.
Like I said above, there was pretty much zero exposition in this book. No introduction to the characters, no establishment of setting or world building, but then all of a sudden we’re off to this dangerous land with the ire of the townspeople behind us. Without that crucial bit, I was left confused and irritated, and quitting the book was pretty easy.
What about the writing style? There wasn’t a lot of description, which was another stumbling block for me. Lack of adjectives leads to aggravation, at least for me. I need to see what’s going on in order to become invested in it. I’ve mentioned before how I use color to figure things out, and this one was like looking at a black and white picture – just black and white, no gray shading at all. At least give me some gray to fill in the details. There was just no color to it, nothing vibrant at all.
Anything else you’d like to add? I really wanted to like this book, but it just didn’t work at all. I’ve been on Goodreads and Amazon and most of the reviews are positive, so I must be in a minority here.
Find the book at:
Amazon (paperback and Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/Arrow-Mist-Christina-Mercer/dp/061577637X
Barnes and Noble (paperback and Nook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arrow-of-the-mist-christina-mercer/1114828085?ean=9780615776378
Book Depository (paperback): http://www.bookdepository.com/Arrow-Mist-Christina-Mercer/9780615776378