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A Reader of Fictions: Tristan and Iseult - Tarkio

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tristan and Iseult - Tarkio

Tris & Izzie

Author: Mette Ivie Harrison
Pages: 272
ARC Acquired from: Egmont USA via NetGalley

Brief summary:
In this modernization of Tristan and Isolde, the famed characters are in high school and they don't like each other much. Izzie already has a boyfriend for one thing and does not appreciate Tris' evident interest in her. Well, she doesn't like it until she accidentally drinks a love philtre and falls in love with him. Oops! And what's up with her best friend not telling her who she likes? And why are these weird creatures attacking her all of a sudden?

What a complete disappointment this book was. I loved her series that began with The Princess and the Bear. Where, I wonder, is the depth and complexity of that story? Perhaps I should have read more of the summary than the author's name and that it was a modernization of a legend. At that, I was sold...and convinced that the book had to be awesome. Plus, pretty cover.

Unfortunately, from the first this book held nothing but disappointment. Honestly, not a thing did I approve of. Perhaps the modernization was done well, but I actually cannot say in that regard because, despite all of my studies of Arthurian legend, I have never actually read the story of Tristan and Isolde, nor did I even watch the movie version with James Franco.

WARNING: The rest of this review contains spoilers.

Why did I dislike this book so much? Well, for one thing, the characters are completely vapid and one-dimensional, their behavior unrealistic. The story consists of two love triangles, with Izzie's best friend Branna in love with Izzie's boyfriend Mark and Izzie falling for the new guy, Tristan. Feelings change. That's fine. What's not fine is that Izzie, once in love with Tristan, does not break up with Mark. She wants to keep him, but that doesn't stop her from making out with Tristan. What a completely awful person.

Furthermore, the truth of Izzie's feelings is brought to light in a completely awkward scene, wherein she and Branna both take a truth potion and confess their feelings for the boys in the story. Let's not forget that accomplishing this little drama apparently required that Branna make out with a completely disgusting guy she didn't like first.

This gets even weirder post-confession time when everyone is totally cool with it. Even though Izzie wanted to keep Mark for herself, she is suddenly encouraging Mark and Branna to make out in front of her, which they do. AND EVERYONE'S COOL WITH IT. lol whut? Not to mention that Branna does a complete 180 from saying during the truth serum debacle that she both loves and hates Tristan in equal measure to being in disgusting, pancake syrupy, unquestioning true love with him. The two couples are immediate besties and there is no awkwardness. No, I am not making this up, but for some reason, someone did.

The plot, too, lacks inspiration. The battle scenes are completely pathetic and contrived. Our heroine never learns how to properly use her magic. Mostly, she just swaps sappy lines with her boyfriend. The big bad is defeated abruptly and with, in the grand scheme of things, little effort. Then, even though Tristan's injured, they spend a night not doing anything and wait to travel in the morning. That sure gave me a sense of urgency as to whether he would be all right. Oh wait, it didn't.

I highly recommend reading The Princess and the Bear and not judging Mette Ivie Harrison off of this subpar work.

"That story's pretty old.
It's a bit clichéd and hackneyed, I thought"

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Blogger 1600 Words A Day said...

Hmm, I have this galley and picked it out for similar reasons, but now I'm having second thoughts. Yeck!

October 12, 2011 at 10:54 PM  
Blogger Nori said...

I agree to the yeck comment! I'm glad I didn't get the galley!

October 13, 2011 at 12:03 PM  

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