Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Possibly for Cashore Fans

When I pick up ARCs, it really is a digging process. But when I saw "For fans of Kristin Cashore...Tamora Pierce, and Megan Whalen Turner," I had to grab the book. Megan Whalen Turner?! I thought. She's bloody brilliant! But then I started thinking more rationally. While I might put Pierce and Cashore or Pierce and Turner together, I don't rank Cashore anywhere near as high as Turner (this is not to say that I think Cashore, if she mixes up her plot a bit more, could produce something truly good, just that she hasn't done it yet). After reading Mistwood, by Leah Cypess (out in May), I think the Cashore comparison is a good one. Full of princes, ill-gotten thrones, almost-human creatures of astounding beauty, and a pretty nest of plotters, Mistwood is very similar to Cashore's Fire, though Cashore does it better. Okay, Mistwood does not have quite as obvious an outcome as Fire, but the journey and development of Cashore's characters is much stronger than Cypess. I think one of her key problems is that the main character, the Shifter (in the guise of a human female through most of the book), doesn't know who she is. As the book is very much about her discovering who she is, it is strange to feel disconnected from her, it is almost as if she gets lost in the larger plot. Perhaps it is partially that the book is in the third person, a first person narration might have helped readers follow the Shifter's personal journey. The book isn't entirely bad, and people who like Cashore may enjoy the read, though I suggest grabbing Juliet Marillier's teen novels or Tamora Pierce's work if you haven't yet. As this is Cypess' first novel, I look forward to seeing what she may produce in the future- time and work may create something deserving of being compared to Tamora Pierce.

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