I am not going to lie, this book got a bit confusing at times. It was very difficult to step into Isabel's shoes because of the whole "I am shifter" deal. The imagery is very beautiful though, and the author does an amazing job at conveying character's emotions. She also does a very good job at not choosing favorites, most of the time. Some authors pick favorite characters and you can really tell whom the favorites are but Ms. Cypess equally betrays and maims all.
The plot is strong and entertaining. It moves at a very fast pace and is very unpredictable. I didn't see some of the things that were revealed toward the end a mile away, but the author didn't let on either so there really was no way to see them, in my opinion.
I think this book is pretty good. It's a great read for a young teen or adult and will hopefully be the start of an interesting series.
Re-Released Review / Originally reviewed 2010-06-03
Everyone tells Isabel that she is the Shifter ï¿½ the ancient shape-shifting creature who has protected the kings of Samorna for centuries. They need her to be the Shifter. Prince Rokan risked everything when he rode into the Mistwood to summon her to his side; Ven, the magician's apprentice, has devoted his life to studying her legend; and even Princess Clarisse, who fears and hates her, depends on Isabel's powers to further her own plans.
But Isabel doesn't feel like the Shifter. She feels like a lonely human girl, beset by flashes of memory that do more to confuse than to help her. If she is the Shifter, why can't she change her shape? Why doesn't she remember what made her flee the castle so many years ago? As she is drawn deeper into a web of magic and assassination, Isabel will have no choice but to look for answers. But her search will lead her to the one question the Shifter hasn't faced in a thousand years: where does she come from, and what does she really want?
Grades 7 and Up / Ages: 12 and Up