It’s about time I did another one of these. It’s only been, what, three months? Yikes. I hope I don’t drop the ball this badly again.
Anyway, the Book of the Week is Mystic, the debut title from dragonmount.com founder Jason Denzel.
Mystic is sort a a new style of book for me. I’m not a big fan of YA in general, as I feel like a lot of the staple tropes of the genre are waaaay played out at this point, and end up feeling stale. However, Mystic does a few things that change the game a bit.
But, yes, at heart Mystic is a YA novel. In a lot of ways, this is a classic bildungsroman. She sets out on her Quest to Prove Everyone Wrong. She finds Hardships on the Road. We start with the teenaged girl with special, hidden talents who is unfairly ostracized but has a sweet boy who’s into her—and eventually gets the dreaded love triangle that seems so intrinsic to YA.
I admit, it took me a bit to get into this book at first.
But once Pomella begins her training, undergoing the first Trial in the contest to become apprentice to the High Mystic, things get interesting. The first point in this book that truly gripped me was the introduction of a character named Mantepis, and I was glad to hear that he’s going to show up more in Book 2. Mantepis is a snakelike, overtly sinister creature in the Mystwood, who immediately shows the potential to be a deeper and more interesting character than either Pomella or Sim (her main love interest).
It was this boost that pushed the story forward, eventually reaching a fairly satisfying conclusion, if predictable in two of the three twists at the end (the third definitely caught me by surprise, but like good twists, it seems so obvious in retrospect). I’ll be giving Book 2 a shot, whenever it comes out.
The writing itself was functional, if a bit elementary throughout. Certain conceits of the worldbuilding were frustrating at first (the spelling of father and mother as “fathir” and mhathir”, especially), but those sort of faded to only a mild irritation by the end of the book.
It’s Jason’s first completed novel, so that makes sense, and I look forward to seeing how he grows alongside his characters. I give Mystic 3 stars out of 5, with a recommendation for anyone who enjoys fun fantasy or YA.