Thursday, October 6, 2011

Book Review: Tris and Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison

     Tris and Izzie is modern retelling of the legend of Tristan and Iseult ending in a happily-ever-after. In the legend, two characters, Tristan and Iseult, take a magic love potion that leaves them deeply in love with each other till death, even though Iseult is already married to someone else. The different versions are unclear whether the potion was taken intentionally, or accidental, but they usually end in tragedy, with one or another of the lovers dying in unfortunate circumstances, and the other dying of heartbreak. For the Wikipedia article on the legend click HERE.
Cover Blurb:
         "I'd always thought of Mark as blond, but not compared to this guy, whose hair was white-blond. He had these amazingly blue eyes that looked like they had to be enhanced by contact lenses, because that color couldn't be real. He wasn't as tall as Mark, but he seemed taller, the way he drew attention to himself. And he had this huge, dazzling smile that was like a nuclear reactor compared to Mark's warm grin.
         "I hated that smile, and I hated that it made me compare him to Mark. Who did he think he was smiling at me like that? And why did he seem so at ease? Apparently, this was his first day at Tintagel, but he acted like he was king of the whole school. I have never liked arrogant guys. I felt hot with anger."
"Izzie, this is Tristan," said Mark.
           Izzie loves Mark. He's the perfect boyfriend: kind and loving and handsome, and he's the captain of the basketball team. Meanwhile, Izzie's friend Branna loves somebody, but she won't say who. So when a hot new guy, Tristan, shows up at school, who better for Izzie to fix up her friend with? And what better way to do it that with a love philtre?
           But love philtres are tricky, and Izzie finds she's accidentally fallen in love with Tristan herself. And that's a problem. First of all there's Mark, and second, there are the supernatural creatures that keep attacking whenever Tristan is around. It's bad enough she has two guys, and Branna has none, now Izzie has to fight for her life?

         When I saw the breathtakingly beautiful cover, and read the intriguing blurb, I made the biggest mistake of all mistakes.
            I judged a book by its cover.
            There. I admit it. But looking at the picture above you must agree that I was well justified. However, this book ended up being a big disappointment to me.
         The characters didn't really click. It probably wasn't the author's intent, but Izzie seemed to be selfish and small-minded. She was frequently rude to Mark, her boyfriend, and though she sometimes seemed to regret it in her mind, she never expressed this regret to Mark as an apology. She seemed to regret her rudeness more because it meant she must not love Mark anymore, instead of regretting it because it hurt Mark. The supporting characters' traits were fuzzy, and their reactions didn't feel real. Huge events were dismissed out of hand as the characters focused on petty subjects. I did like the loyalty Tristan, Izzie's love interest, showed his parents, but, overall, the characters were flat and unbelievable.
Characters: 1 Star
            The first chapters had a very repeatative feel to them. Most of the plot was focused on Izzie trying to hang onto Mark while her feelings were for Tristan, with only a relatively small part centered on defeating the villain. I enjoy romance, but I look forward to action as well, and this book didn't really provide that. The battles were stereotypical and dry. And the big surprises were obvious chapters in advance. However, an amazing idea to remake Tristan and Iseult. It was also interesting to see Izzie doomed to be in love with Tristan forever when she was only sixteen.
Plot: 1 Star
             I'm probably reading too much into this, but, as told in the first-person, the voice came across as just a bit arrogant. There was the slightest hint of superiority in the way Izzie viewed the world through her thoughts. Some of the analogies were very creative, and a few of the lines were honestly funny. But the descriptions sounded forced and it was hard to see the scenes being described as anything but drab.
Style: 1 Star

Rating: 1 Star
Source: Giveaway
Genre: Romance/Fantasy
YA Fiction (It might make a good Junior Fiction book, but there are a few passionate kissing scenes)

Subnote: Please Please Please, don't just take my word for it! And please don't dismiss this author out of hand! I've read the rest of her work and really enjoyed it, especially The Princess and the Hound. I highly suggest you guys give it a look.

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