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Stephanie Parent, Reader and Writer

Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block's WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold.
Arrow of the Mist - Christina Mercer I loved Arrow of the Mist, and I wish I could go back in time and give it to my preteen self, because I would have loved it then even more! I was immediately attracted to this novel by the synopsis, since I’ve always been fascinated by herbal medicine and magic, and by Celtic lore. Many of my all-time favorite childhood reads had to do with these subjects, and Arrows of the Mist brought me back to the magic of books like Wise Child and Juniper by Monica Furlong, The Forestwife by Theresa Tomlinson, and, with its epic quest structure, the Prydain books by Lloyd Alexander.I was sucked into Arrow of the Mist right away by the vivid, detailed world the author created, with the mystery of Brume and its ominous mists. I liked the heroine, Lia, immediately because of her knowledge of plants used for healing and her deep appreciation for the natural world around her. The author obviously did a lot of research into the uses and symbolism of plants, and she incorporated it throughout the story in a really interesting way. I especially loved the growing bond between Lia and the various trees, all identified by their Celtic names and symbolic meanings. (I actually would have liked a glossary for these, too—although they were all defined in the book, it would have been nice to have this.) And the idea of a villainous plant, as it’s described in the book, is truly terrifying!I also loved the various magical creatures that inhabited Brume, particularly the fae and unicorns…and I knew there was something unusual about Lia’s dog from the very beginning! The plot was fast-paced and exciting, with Lia and her companions constantly facing new dangers. Some reviews of this book have noted that it’s more plot rather than character-driven, and I guess I’d agree with that, but it didn’t really bother me. I definitely saw character growth in Lia throughout the novel, and I also felt like the various landscapes of Brume were, in their own way, characters that added depth to the novel. This would certainly have been a different book if Lia’s romantic interest had been given a larger role, and I might have liked that book too…but I really just enjoyed this story for what it was. Also, the ending leaves us with plenty of possibilities for a sequel, and I can see how the author might develop the romance in a second book.My one nitpicky issue with the book was that, while most of the dialogue was written in a deliberately old-fashioned way, the occasional “yeah” and “gonna” appeared and threw me out of the story. This is a small issue, though, and I hope the author does write a sequel to this book, because I will definitely read it!