Arrow of the Mist

Arrow of the Mist - Christina Mercer (I got this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

"Arrow of the Mist" reads fast, and is brimming with vivid descriptions. Throughout the whole story, I found it easy to picture what was happening, the places the characters went through, and even the plants themselves (I'm really not well-versed in that area at all). The world it is sent in seemed vibrant and vivid, pitching a normal-enough country (Nemetonia) against the mysterious and enchanted Brume, where many creatures dwell, and where magic is far from being extinct.

Lia is a strong character, who knows what she wants, doesn't hesitate to take matters into her own hands, and uses her knowledge to the best of her ability to help her family and her fellow villagers, even though some of the latter don't seem to always be too kind with her. Yet her courage goes hand to hand with stubbornness, and her eagerness to save her kinsmen sometimes causes her to make rash decisions. She's reliable, but not perfect, and as such, connecting with her becomes easy. This is helped, I think, by the fact that she travels with family and friends; the bonds uniting them are here from the start, not forged through random encounters and other wishy-washy reasons.

Paradoxically enough, though, the book's strong points felt like shortcomings at times. While Lia gains in self-confidence and discovers her powers, the other characters don't seem to evolve, and as such remained somewhat flat throughout the story. I think we weren't given enough to see regarding their own personalities and lives before the quest started. The romance bit was awkward, and might have been best kept for the end of the book, with potential development in the next installment; as it is, it looked to me like it fell out of nowhere, then was quickly shoved out of the way. It wasn't an essential aspect of the plot (Lia had enough people to save back home without adding the hope of seeing her love interest again on top of it), and therefore felt a little misplaced. In the same way, the world was beautifully described, but some parts were barely brushed off (the village's life, for instance, or why the official rulers dismissed "the old ways"), leaving maybe too much room to forest-wandering that didn't allow me to get a proper grasp of some potential other stakes in the story.

All in all, I enjoyed reading it. However, if I end up picking the second volume, I hope those questions will be given answers to at some point.