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.
Arrow of the Mist reminded me of a Disney movie as it immediately immerses the reader in a magical world filled with action and danger, and the characters neatly fell into their roles of “hero” or “villain.”
Lia reminded me a bit of Princess Merida from Brave, though that may be because she has fiery red hair and can wield a bow. She is strong, brave, intelligent, caring, and determined to help her family at any cost. Her knowledge of herbs and their uses in healing was really interesting to read about – especially the lore surrounding the trees and their associated passages in her Grandma’s Grimoire. Throughout the story, Lia is challenged in various ways, resulting in increased confidence in her ability to solve problems and the discovery of new powers.
There were many creative, magical aspects to this book, but they were never elaborated upon. We only got a glimpse of village life before Lia was swept away to Brume for a quest, and the setting continued to rapidly change. A few pages were spent in the village, a chapter was spent with dwarves, and the rest of the book was spent amongst the trees and magical creatures that inhabited Brume. We were never given a sense of culture, and many important concepts – such as why the leaders refused to believe in magic and shunned the “old ways” – were glossed over, leaving many questions left unanswered.
The secondary characters were fun to read about, but they fell flat next to Lia. There was no character development, as the few traits that they exhibited remained unchanged throughout the book. This may be due, in part, to the fact that the story is told in a third person narration, which doesn’t allow for much connection with the characters. They seemed only to exist in relation to Lia, causing several of her relationships to lack emotional depth and believability.
Overall, while I enjoyed the concept behind Arrow of the Mist, there was much to be desired in terms of its execution. That being said, it was an okay start to the series and I’m curious to see how the second book plays out.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.