Arrow of the Mist by Christina Mercer
- Method of Obtaining: My copy was provided by the publisher.
- Published by: Christina Mercer
- Release Date: 03.13.2013
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.
Let me start this review off by saying that I had no idea that Arrow of the Mist was an Amazon Break-Through book – meaning, I had absolutely zero idea that the book was, essentially, self-published. And, as I started to read it on the plane during a recent trip I took, I was so impressed with the world building and the beautiful story that I found myself sucked in – in spite of the sheer uncomfortable nature of being stuck on a plane for six hours.
The story of 15 year old Lia begins with sheer terror. Villagers, including her own father, are struck down with a terrible disease that has roots behind the veil of a forbidden land. Lia sets off with her young cousin, her grandfather, and her cousin’s friend, to navigate some seriously dangerous territory in the hope of finding the cure.
At the root of this Celtic-style fantasy is one of the core elements of any good fantasy novel: the quest. The starting character can be male or female, but ultimately the strength of the story depends on the strength of the quest and what the potential outcomes are. In Arrow of the Mist, the quest is simple, which makes it work, it is tied up with some pretty tricky family history, and the end result if Lia fails is the death of her father. The result if she succeeds is not only the life of her father, but the deliverance of her village from being struck again.
Christina Mercer incorporates verse from Lia’s grandmother’s grimoire to drop clues through the quest. She incorporates fantastical creatures like the fae and the unicorn to add spice to the world and give it that mysterious feeling. There’s danger with dark woods and evil roots, and there’s temptation with an offer of power to Lia from some powerful women. But not all is danger and questing paths, there is also a bit of romance as Lia struggles to understand her feelings toward a certain young man who has accompanied them on the journey.
I really, really enjoyed this book and found it to be extremely well done. It’ snot often that a fantasy book in this age group focuses so heavily on the fantasy and not quite as much on the romance angle, so it was a breath of fresh air for this reader. If you haven’t checked out Arrow of the Mist and it sounds like something you would enjoy, I would suggest you pick it up soon. From what I understand, the next book is due out soon!