Author: Jason Denzel
Series: Mystic #1
Hardcover, 304 pages
Publication: November 3, 2015 by Tor Books
Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
I called to the Myst, and it sent us you.
For hundreds of years, high-born nobles have competed for the chance to learn of the Myst. Powerful, revered, and often reclusive, Mystics have the unique ability to summon and manipulate the Myst: the underlying energy that lives at the heart of the universe. Once in a very great while, they take an apprentice, always from the most privileged sects of society.
Such has always been the tradition—until a new High Mystic takes her seat and chooses Pomella AnDone, a restless, low-born teenager, as a candidate. Commoners have never been welcomed among the select few given the opportunity to rise beyond even the highest nobility. So when Pomella chooses to accept the summons and journey to Kelt Apar, she knows that she will have more to contend with than the competition for the apprenticeship.
Breaking both law and tradition, Pomella undergoes three trials against the other candidates to prove her worthiness. As the trials unfold, Pomella navigates a deadly world of intolerance and betrayal, unaware that ruthless conspirators intend to make her suffer for having the audacity to seek to unravel the secrets of the Myst.
There’s something about underdogs, quests, and ‘The Chosen One’ that always draws me in, like a moth to a flame. Mystic happened to have all three components, so I knew immediately that I wanted to read it. And it surely didn’t disappoint! Mystic is a young adult, coming-of-age story revolved around Pomella, a commoner invited to compete for an apprenticeship with the High Mystic.
At a glance, Mystic isn’t anything new or a game changer in the Fantasy genre. The tropes have all been used before, making for a slightly predictable read. This is Denzel’s debut novel, and while I really enjoyed the book, the writing/spelling of some of the words felt a bit clunky…pulling me from the story at times. Regardless of all that, what made the book enjoyable and worth the read are the characters. Within the first page I was hook…and all it took was a friendly banter between Pomella and her friend Bethy.
It usually takes me a few pages to get a feel of the character/book but I found Pomella instantly likeable; which doesn’t happen often. I loved that Pomella wasn’t afraid of taking chances. By accepting the invitation by the High Mystic, Pomella risked being labeled as ‘Unclaimed’ should she fail the competition, which means she would lose everything; like her friends, family, home and identity. I also found it refreshing to see Pomella put herself above all things and follow her dreams instead of choosing to stay put in her tiny village with a guy she known her whole life. So, big kudos for her. As for the fantasy/magic aspect of the novel, I thought it was pretty cool, albeit a little inchoate. Denzel did a good job at explaining the Myst but I thought it could have been more detailed. Which I hope will be remedied in future books.
Overall, Mystic was a good debut novel with the potential to be an amazing series. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the trilogy, Mystic Dragon and I can’t wait to see what Denzel has planned for Pomella and the gang. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a light-fantasy read with wonderful characters and world building.