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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review: Mist by Kathryn James

This book might be recommended for 10+ year old girls, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't enjoy it. I did and it's a good, entertaining, story about faeries from an author trying to give a new spin on these mischievous beings.

Title: Mist (Mist #1) by Kathryn James
Release Date: September 1st 2011
Published by: Hodder Childrens Books
Source: Publisher (Thanks Victoria!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository


Midnight: a mist-haunted wood with a bad reputation. A sweet sixteen party, and 13 year old Nell is trying to keep her sister, spoilt birthday-girl Gwen, out of trouble. No chance. Trouble finds Gwen and drags her through the mist. Only Nell guesses who’s behind the kidnap - the boy she hoped was her friend, the cute but mysterious Evan River.

All those fairy stories Nell’s grandmother told her about girls being stolen by fairy folk are true. The Elven are beautiful as starlight, fierce as wolves, and cold as ice. And they want their world back. The fight has been raging for centuries. Nell’s grandmother should know, she’s a Watcher, the ones responsible for imprisoning the Elven in isolated iron-bound camps in Siberia. Only Evan, his fanatical older brother Fen, and a handful of Elven children are still free.

Fen, hellbent on revenge, keeps Gwen in their wolf-guarded stronghold deep in the mist. The price for her safe return? The release of all the Elven – but the Watchers will never agree. Only Nell can save Gwen.

Time is twisted through the mist: if Nell stops longer than a night and day, a hundred years will hit her as soon as she returns and she’ll be old and withered before she’s even lived. The clock is ticking.

I was lured in to the story because of the cover, a thing of beauty, as Nell was drawn to the woods by the Mist surrounding it. Nell, different, misunderstood, always a step below her sister Gwen, blending in the shadows, without friends. Then she saw this boy, Evan, white haired and beautiful, hanging out in her school. He says his home lies within the Mist, a place often mentioned in her grandmother's stories. Nell was told to stay away, but as she sees Evan more and more, strange things started happening to her town. There were power outages, bulbs spelling a name "Fen". Evan warned her to stop her sister Gwen's sweet sixteen party at all cost, but like always, no one listens. Then Gwen disappears, and all of a sudden it's up to Nell to save her, because her grandmother's stories and fairytales weren't only just that. They're real, and Gwen is in danger.

Let me say this outright. It's a given that I like stories that revolves around faeries and their long standing struggle with the humans, but what made me enjoy reading this is the way it highlighted Nell and her growth as a person. To always be discounted as the second sister, unreliable, different, a freak, Nell is a girl you just couldn't help but feel for, even sometimes pity. She was well loved by her mother, frowned upon by her father, yet despite all of the things that got thrown her way all her life, she broke her family's expectations and went after her sister Gwen to rescue her, alone. It's not that she's the black sheep of the family, Nell is just misunderstood, and often misunderstands a lot of things as well. She sees herself in a different way than the rest of her peers, having grown up in a family where not much is expected of her, but she's got a spark inside of her, a curious personality and an inquiring mind, both working to her advantage as she traversed through the Mist.

Evan is an Elven (not Elves, as he often would say) from a race that once shared the Earth with humans and was forced out of it rather unfairly. He's an interesting boy, having to grow up at fourteen and take up the task of taking care of the children of his race. He's got a certain innocence in him that is adorable, yet with all the growing up he had to do, he has developed this wary exterior to keep the humans disinterested. He grew up believing that humans are evil, but when he met Nell, always on the fringe, different, suddenly he wasn't so sure. He's funny, brotherly and responsible, and at times the readers get too peek into the child that he really is despite of the grown up things he had to do.

Like all the other faerie themed books, the fey in Mist are afraid of Iron. But unlike other faerie books I've read, the clash of the old and the new was very evident in the story, as bits and pieces of modern technology made their way to the fey, simple human inventions like riding a motorcycle, knowing what gum is, and ultimately, using Google. Still, they are mischievous creatures, powerful enough to be feared. Evan's brother, Fen, is a perfect example of a Fay to be feared. Although I think Fen's character needed a bit more "oomph", more impact, a little more darkness and hatred that can convince readers that he was a potential nefarious, vengeful leader who will bring upon Ragnarok, the threat he represents was convincing enough to make it the central conflict of the story. It also took me a while to realize what Nell's grandmother's role really is, for an important character she seemed to have little part in the story.

The romance took a step back, and focused on the Fey vs. Humans conflict instead, but Evan and Nell's companionship might turn out into something more, who knows? They both might be in for a greater future, one that can change the world they both live in, and someday they can be together because of it, as friend or lovers, maybe? The odd kind of friendship that formed between the two of them is something worth smiling about. It's as innocent as it can get between a fourteen year old girl and a young Elven, but that didn't stop me from feeling a little warm inside whenever Evan and Nell are together.

I was holding my breath a couple of times, eagerly anticipating what will happen next as Nell crosses over to the world of the Faeries. The author was able to achieve a great balance between the contemporary side of Nell's story with her family conflicts and her personal difficulties as well as the fantasy, magical side of the Fay. There are plenty of characters to love, even Gwen, Nell's sister, and some to be intrigued with like Evan. Even the wolves in the story are interesting enough that they upped the action in the book. Great characterization of Nell, Kathryn James. If I had read this book when I was a tween, I'd probably enjoy it the same way I enjoyed reading it now. A steady solid writing and an even pace with a lovable heroine is what Mist is all about. Is there anything else to look forward to? Yes! There are still problems to be solved and Mist ends in a way that makes the readers crave for the second book, Frost, immediately!

Content (plot, story flow, character):
I am so glad I have a copy of Frost! I want to know what happens next!
Shining: Worthy of a Goddess' Love!

Book Cover:
Seriously stunning book cover! It's shining!


  1. Loved your review, truly! <3 I'm excited to read this. I know that I'll definitely feel for Nell and I'm eager to meet Evan! Elves, oh I mean, Elven!

    1. Haha, Evan will be angry! It's Elven!
      Read Mist and tell me what you think but right now, I'm telling you the 2nd book, Frost is a lot more awesome than Mist! I just finished reading it yesterday and it was so good!

      Thanks for the comment book blogging sister! <3


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