Tris and Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison
Release date: October 11, 2011
Received from: Netgalley
Published by: Egmont USA
Reviewed by: Sis-in-law Sarah
Summary from goodreads.com
A modern retelling of the German fairy tale "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.
I was super excited to read this book. I love stories based on other stories, so I was looking forward to what Harrison was going to do with the legend of Tristan and Isolde. This legend is a beautiful but tragic story, which some believe the story of Camelot is derived. In the legend (there are many different versions, but this is the main idea) Isolde is married to to a king named Mark. Through a series of circumstances, Isolde meets a man named Tristan and they are tricked into taking a love potion that makes the two of them inseparable. You can imagine what this does to her marriage with Mark...and the tragic ending that must come for the lovers. You can't help but love this heart-wrenching story!
As for Harrison's version...this is an easy summer read. If you're looking for a simple, fast-paced, child-like fairy-tale with the perfect happy ending...this book is for you. However, these are the things that I, personally, had a hard time with in this book.
It's a very simple plot, the most exciting thing about it are a couple battles between Izzie and mythical creatures. Even the love scenes seemed very skimmed over. I felt like this was the first draft of a book and the author decided to not go back in and fill out the details. I felt very rushed...like there was no time for me to enjoy the love between Tris and Izzie, the angst of Mark because of their love, or the epic battle to save the world.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for a happy ending. I'm a fairytale lover to the core! Yet, I always feel like there should be some cost to getting what you want. That's what makes the ending of books good...the characters lose something and then they overcome. To deliver every single character in your story exactly what they want with no complicated feelings seems impractical. It just doesn't happen in real life.
For instance, Harrison gives Mark, who should be REALLY torn up about the supposed love of his life, Isolde, falling for Tristan. Yet, somehow, he can be totally okay with it because...oh wait...he's actually been in love with with Izzie's best friend the WHOLE time?!?! And then the two couples "magically" become best friends together?!?! It just feels too good to be true.
Like I said, this is a perfect child's fairytale. I would read this to my grade-schooler. But because it's labeled "Young Adult", I felt like the book could have been so much more. It just didn't live up to its potential. There's so much awesomeness that could have come from re-doing this legend that just didn't happen.
I do believe there is a group of people out there that will enjoy this book. If the simple, happy-ending, read-in-one-sitting book is what you're looking for, by all means, pick up Tris and Izzie.