Mystic had a lot of elements I love; relatable characters, Irish influence, focus on nature, and just the right touch of mysticism, magic, and the Fae. This is one of those easily blended genres; found mostly in Adult SciFi/Fantasy, but marketed with a very YA feel. I read this in one sitting, and it left me feeling reminiscent of Juliet Marillier.
The Myst is a very organic, natural source of all magic, which certain people can learn to call upon. Our heroine, Pomella, is a nice change from the common MC. She is not the typical "I don't know I'm beautiful or special" heroine, but had some traits that annoyed me nonetheless. For one, I could not get over her name...which, to be fair, is no fault of hers. I could not stop myself from saying "Palmolive" every time I read her name.
Some things just don't click with me, what can I say.
There were a few aspects that held this book back for me. The first, and biggest, issue I had was the fact that the cover jacket gave away a key betrayal. Now, maybe I would have guessed it for myself, but I'll never know now, will I? I can't stress enough how annoying it is when a cover blurb gives away the entire story...this didn't do that exactly, but it definitely set up the outline. I like much more to be surprised (or not) and discover the story as I read, not before I even begin.
I usually enjoy jargon thrown in to build the setting, but I found many terms to be overused and disjointed from the projected time period and setting. A phrase such as "Quick as a luck-in" can be used once or twice, but after that it jarred me out of the writing.
Though the tasks themselves and use of magic were a bit underwhelming, the landscape was beautifully constructed and the descriptions of magic were colorful and vivid. I adored the depictions of the fae, and the hummingbirds that bond with Pomella are delightfully imaginative - I loved them. Oxillian is another fascinating being, pulled up from the very earth as a protector of everyone within the High Mystic's forest. There is an underlying social class issue presented with the Unclaimed - those who are cast out from their lord's protection and have no home or family - and Pomella's greatest fear throughout Mystic is becoming one of these outcasts. Definitely a highlight of the story for me is watching her journey to understanding these "Unclaimed" are not tainted, or dangerous, any more so than any high lord could be. They are simply people doing their best, whom the world has chosen to mark as unwanted and punish for their differences.
I'm looking forward to reading the next installment, and am fully expecting it to grow into a great tale. Perhaps not Marillier level, but charming and engaging even so.
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