Friday, July 8, 2011

E-ARC Review: "Tris & Izzie" by Mette Ivie Harrison

Tris and IzzieFrom Goodreads: "A modern retelling of the German fairytale "Tristan and Isolde", Tris and Izzie is about a young witch named Izzie who is dating Mark King, the captain of the basketball team and thinks her life is going swimmingly well. Until -- she makes a love potion for her best friend Brangane and then ends up taking it herself accidentally, and falling in love with Tristan, the new guy at school."

When I first saw that this book was available for review on NetGalley I was beyond ecstatic due to the fact that this book is being marketed as a modern day version of the classic romance of Tristan and Isolde (and the cover! Look at it! Isn't it gorgeous?).  As it is being marketed as such I thought that classic-ness/epic-ness would transfer over to this retelling of it. And it didn't. At. All.  If I had to sum this book up in one word it would be cliched.

I am not the type of person to not finish a book (in fact, I cannot recall a book that I have ever not finished before), but there were countless times while reading this book I kept thinking, "Why am I doing this to myself?!?" And it pains me to admit this, but this is by far my most disappointing read of 2011, if not ever.

I think that the most frustrating thing about this book were the characters. Few, if any of them, showed any redeeming qualities (Mark, Isolde's original boyfriend, was the exception on occasion). The large majority of them were completely one-dimensional and totally unrealistic. But by far the worst character was Isolde. She is so unbelievably shallow that it isn't even funny. Here are just a few samplings of what comes out of her mouth/ her thought processes*:

"Branna won't even wear makeup or curl her hair. She puts it in a braid to keep it out of her face, not to make herself prettier. Once in a blue moon, she will wear a dress. She doesn't understand that sometimes you have to get a guy's attention first, and then afterward you can let it be more natural" (7%).* 

"[Isolde speaking of love triangles when she herself is in the middle of one] I had always thought love triangles were lame. Girls who refused to choose between two good guys were the worst scum of the earth. And I didn't much like guys who let themselves be jerked around, either. But this was different" (51%).* 

"It seemed likely that I was going to have to throw this outfit away, along with the other one I'd worn earlier. It was a shame, too, because I really liked the way the khakis fit my butt. I hadn't even had the chance to ask Tristan what he thought" (76%).* 

And despite being extremely shallow and vain, no one could help but love her! Even after she ripped Mark's heart out and ground it underneath her itty bitty foot he not only was a doll to her,  but saved her life! And she was anything but nice to Tristan and he couldn't help but declare his undying love for her (pretty much moments after having met her). And Tristan? Well, he was essentially lifeless- we barely saw a glimmer of his personality. All that we really know about him is that he speaks in a funny manner (which Isolde unfailingly points out every time he opens his mouth) and that he carries a sword larger than him around (an invisible sword at that). And Brangane, Isolde's 'best friend', was such a contradictory character, on the one hand she was completely spiteful and vicious, on the other she was a mousy almost wallflower type of character.

Aside from the characters, what also bothered me about the book was the writing style. I felt that it was overly melodramatic and  bordered on being juvenile at times. Furthermore, I felt that overall the book was quite anticlimatic. The characters had it pretty easy overall, a lot was given to them, they didn't really have to fight for themselves or experience all that much in the way of a struggle (for instance, in the end of the book when Tris was blinded from the poison of an extremely powerful/rare snake, Isolde's mother pulls a potion seemingly out of thin air that was just the cure for said poison).
For me personally this is an extremely disappointing read as the only thing that the Tris and Izzie of this tale share with the original Tristan and Isolde is their names. I think that perchance younger individuals (older MGers or very young YA's) will like this book (that is if they are unfamiliar with the tale of Tristan and Isolde) because, despite my complaints, it is extremely easy and lighthearted read with a fast paced storyline, but for older fans of YA I would recommend passing this book over. I personally know that I will not bother rereading this book.

Rating: 4/10

*Please make note that this is only an E-ARC book of this book and as such the portions of the book that I have quoted may change between now and the final copy. 

I received this book from the publisher/ NetGalley to read and honestly review. I was not compensated in any way for said review.

This book is set to be released October 11th, 2011.


  1. I totally agree. 100%. I think I made it like 3 pages in, and put it down when Izzie said something like "I'm queen of this school" etc. UGH!

  2. And the negative reviews keep coming. I have this in my tbr pile and I am getting less and less excited to read it. I'm almost dreading it now. Thanks for your review!

  3. Thanks for your honest review. You had me laughing especially at the part with the khakis and the butt. This one is never going on my TBR, that's for sure :-)

  4. I was so excited when I saw this one on Netgalley, but in the last week I have read dozens of negative reviews. Eeek!

  5. SHOOT! I had such high hopes for this one too! I love the Tristan and Isolde story, I'm so sad the characters lack any redeeming qualities. That's a huge problem. Thanks for the honesty Avery, I'll be keeping your thoughts in mind when I read this one. Moving it down the TBR pile though.

  6. Oh no. When you mentioned the meh factor on Twitter I didn't realize it was quite this bad for you.

    I loved the cover, and love Tristan and Isolde's story. But the dialogue isn't giving me the love. She does sound super, super shallow. And if she's so shallow why again is she even wearing khakis?

    I may take a peek, since it's already on my Kindle, but eek. Thanks for the honest and thorough review.

  7. Dang, most disappointing read of 2011? I wasn't particularly drawn to this book in the first place but I did still think it might be good for other people who are into this kind of read. It's a shame.

  8. Bum deal because, like you said, the cover is gorgeous! But yeah, Izzy doesn't sound appealing at all. Her logic is disappointing. "Be as pretty as you can be until you snag the guy, then be natural."


    I'm like you Avery. I hate not finishing a book, yet I've had those same thoughts before, why am I reading this? In order to avoid this, I think I'll be skipping this one for now.

    Thanks so much for your honest thoughts!


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