Hardcover: 304 Pages
Publisher: Greenwillow/HarperCollins, April 27, 2010
Prince Rokan is to be crowned king Samorna and will need the help of the shifter to protect his throne and his kingdom. Political unrest surrounds Samorna, so off to the Mistwood does he go to capture the shifter and bring her back to the castle. Isabel is brought to the castle in human form with a protective bracelet on her to protect the King and to keep Isabel in the dark as to the reason why she needs to protect the prince.
Honestly this story is going to be hard to review because there are so many great twists and turns and the writing is lovely, although, my only problem with the story was the way the story was broken up. The first third is all Prince Rokan. We see him through Isabel's eyes, and she's starting to have feelings for him. This is something that should never happen to the shifter. They do not care about people, they only care about doing the job they are sought out to do. When Isabel learns that Prince Rokan's father staged a coup and toppled the previous King who the shifter was protecting, killing the former King's children in the process, she still knows that she must protect Rokan. However, during the coronation, the threat makes itself shown and we learn that the son of the former king did not die. He was rescued and sent away to plan for his own coup to regain the throne.
Once Rokan is overthrown with the help of Isabel, that's when it got a little choppy. Rokan's story is somewhat over, and now we are watching Isabel with Kaer. The right heir to the throne. Throw in some magic that surprises just about everyone and now Kaer is worried that Rokan will try to regain the throne and kill Kaer. Especially now that they are holding Rokan's sister, Clarisse, who may or may not be privy to everything that is going on. Again, the jump was a bit confusing. Yet there is another twist! Which I will not reveal here, because, c'mon guys, I don't spoil!
Leah wrote a superb high fantasy story with strong world building that will remind people of Graceling or any of Diana Wynne Jones' books.