Thursday, February 6, 2014

Review: Mistwalker (Mitchell)

AUTHOR: Saundra Mitchell
SERIES: none
PUBLICATION DATE: February 4, 2014
ISBN: 9780547853154
PAGES: 272
SOURCE: publisher's ARC
GENRE: paranormal
SUMMARY: Seventeen-year old Willa Dixon works with her father as a lobster fisher in a small, coastal Maine town. Willa looks forward to marrying her boyfriend Seth and taking over her father's fishing business one day. But one night, Willa's brother Levi is murdered. Not only is Willa the only witness; she knows she is partly to blame. Willa's life spirals out of control quickly. Just off the coast, in the Jackson's Rock lighthouse, the Grey Man waits for Willa, hoping he can lure her to the island so she can take his place.

REVIEW: As the daughter of a Navy sailor, I've heard lots of seafaring songs and tales throughout my life. Mistwalker reads like one of my Dad's sea stories, full of mysterious creatures, dangerous waters, and enchanted boats. The coastal Maine setting is so well-described, it's almost like it's a character all by itself. Haunting, beautiful, and creepy.

While it can be slow-paced at times, I really enjoyed Mistwalker. Unique and well-written, Mistwalker features a haunting (but not scary) view of a sad, lonely once-human creature who longs for his own freedom. There is a lot of thinking and reflecting and as such, this will appeal most to patient readers who don't need to know all the answers right away.

Mistwalker alternates between Willa's and the Grey Man's viewpoints. Willa is understandably grief-stricken and angry, and Grey is all but resigned to his fate. Though Grey doesn't want to hurt Willa, he can't fathom remaining in the lighthouse until he collects a thousand souls, either. I particularly love the relationship between Willa and her father and how much the two of them are alike. Even though Willa's dad is (again, understandably) furious with her, he loves her and is afraid for her and wants desperately to keep her safe.

This story kept me guessing. I had no idea if Grey would end up switching places with Willa, or if there might be a romance between Willa and Grey. I felt so sorry for Grey and wanted him to find his freedom, but he couldn't do that without taking Willa's freedom. That was a cool juxtaposition that could have ended in lots of different ways.

I was curious about the Grey Man legend, so I Googled it to see if it is real. I didn't find a Grey Man legend from Maine, but there is a Grey Man story from Cape Hatteras, NC and a Grey Lady story from Oregon.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The somewhat slow pacing may not be for everyone, but I really enjoyed this creepy tale of a haunted lighthouse and a teen girl's grief after her brother's murder. The writing is beautiful, as is the Maine setting.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: It's not out yet, but I plan to purchase it. I already lent my ARC to an eighth grade girl who I think will really enjoy it.

READALIKES: Doll Bones (Black)

  • Overall: 4/5
  • Creativity: 5/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Engrossing: 3/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Appeal to teens: 4/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 4/5

  • Language: mild-medium; includes a handful of fu** and sh**
  • Sexuality: mild-medium; talk of "sleeping together" and a couple of kissing scenes; Willa's best friend is gay
  • Violence: mild; a murder is a big part of the story
  • Drugs/Alcohol: medium; teens drink at a party, get drunk; smell of cigarettes

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  1. Glad you liked it! I wasn't sure about reading this, but now I think I might give it a chance. :) Thanks for the review. <3

    1. Alexa, I wasn't too sold on it, either, at first. It was the seafaring lore and fishing community that got my attention most. And the ending could have gone so many directions--not predictable at all!


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