Mistwood by Leah Cypess

Mistwood - 

Leah Cypess
I've re-read this book more times than I count and it's still amazing every time I read it.

The tricky unreliable narrator is written beautifully. Honestly, it must be so difficult to write a character with no memory of who she was, with a less than stellar personality, and a stunning lack of empathy, but still make the reader want her to succeed! And to write a character with enough powers to label her a Mary-Sue but always avoid her becoming a Mary-Sue? I'd say that's near impossible, and for the life of me I can't figure out how the author did it - hence the re-readings. Well done, Leah Cypess!
Prince Rokan is about to be crowned as King, but  even if he makes it to the day of his coronation without being assassinated, the days afterwards will be far from peaceful. Not everyone wants him, or any of his family on the throne.
It's time to look for the Shifter, an immortal creature who watches over the ruling family of Samorna. 
Deep in the Shifter's Mistwood Rokan finds her and binds her to his line with an enchanted bracelet - though not before the Shifter, Isabel, manages to scratch his face. And that, in itself, is weird... the Shifter should not be able to so much as think to cause harm to a member of the royal family...
Rokan is lying to Isabel, she can tell he is, she can tell there is something the entire royal family is keeping her from finding out. But Isabel has secrets of her own - for though she is the shifter she finds herself unable to do any significant shifting. She can change her hair and she can make herself impervious to blades or quickly heal wounds she's sustained protecting the Prince. But she can't change herself into a cat, she can't change herself into an eagle. What good is a Shifter who cannot shift?
Then events come to light and Isabel's allegiance, something that should be set in stone for the Shifter is a creature with a single purpose, starts wavering. 
Rokan was a delightful character! He is not one of those boring alpha male warriors we so often encounter in the fantasy genre. He doubts himself, he's unsure if he'll make a good king, he loves and trusts too easily, he is betrayed, he's too much of a romantic in love with legends and too little of the ruthless ruler he's supposed to be.
His sister, Clarisse, seems more suited to rule but she finds her ruling ambitions thwarted because she was not born a man. This doesn't stop her from delving deeply into political intrigue and playing everyone to the point where the reader isn't even sure where her loyalties lie.
And then, of course, there is Isabel who, as I wrote, has everything to be a Mary-Sue but never becomes one, who is off-putting, and has no patience for anyone. Who is not nice and finds no problem with this. Who is more than she seems...

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