Mystic is the start of an enchanting new epic fantasy series from Jason Denzel, the founder of Dragonmount.
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.
About the Author
Jason Denzel is the founder of the web site Dragonmount, the leading online community for Robert Jordan's "The Wheel of Time" saga and the web's top destination for franchise-related news, features, and discussion. Dragonmount has been featured in USA Today, CNN, ABC, Wired, and the Los Angeles Times. Denzel lives in Northern California with his two young boys, and owns a lot of swords.
Read an Excerpt
By Jason Denzel
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 2015 Jason Denzel
All rights reserved.
On the island of Moth, under a swollen moon, Pomella AnDone stormed out of her house, slamming the door behind her. She hurried, expecting Fathir's yell to sound behind her. It was like waiting for thunder after a flash of lightning.
"You're not a jagged noble!" he finally screamed from behind the door. "Cut your hair and know your place!"
Pomella knocked aside a half-made barrel and strode away from the house, not looking back. She snatched up a wicker basket and carried it under one arm past her flourishing garden. The hateful man could choke on gunkroot for all she cared. She'd grow her hair whatever length she wanted.
All around her, the villagers of Oakspring prepared for tonight's Springrise festival. A cluster of men fed a young bonfire to push back the darkening night. A swarm of children chased one another, leaving behind frazzled mhathirs trying to bundle them up. Pomella ignored everyone, and headed toward the forest.
The bustle of village activity faded as she hiked to a nearby hill on the edge of the Mystwood. Comforting silence greeted her as she passed the tree line. The rushing flow of the Creekwaters sang to her from the far side of the hill, down in the thicket.
Pomella relaxed her heaving breaths. Tucking back a strand of her dark hair, she inhaled deeply. This place, the forest, was her solace. She'd never traveled outside the barony, but she couldn't imagine a more peaceful place on Moth. Out here, nobody would holler at her, saying it was improper for a commoner to have long hair. Nobody would —
The night erupted with howling wolves.
Pomella froze, hugging the basket tight to her body. The howls faded, replaced by the trickle of the Creekwaters and the Springrise revelry coming from her village.
Biting her lip, Pomella wondered whether she should tell the Watcherman about the wolves. Maybe he'd believe her this time. Maybe, but probably not. She looked down the hill toward the distant village. Women and men laughed around the bonfire, and somebody pummeled the drums.
With everyone here for the festival, wolves could bring a bundle of trouble for the outlying homesteads.
Assuming, of course, they were normal wolves.
Setting her jaw, she hurried farther up the hill to a cluster of boulders. She climbed them with long-practiced ease until she stood at their summit, overlooking the shallow valley on the far side. Moonlight blanketed the Mystwood like a lingering winter frost. She listened for more wolves, but no further howls came. Pomella inhaled deeply, savoring the night, letting the fresh air calm her.
A rush of light flashed across the treetops. Her heart raced. It came again, revealing a glowing, silvery owl, trailing wispy light that quickly vanished behind it.
A familiar tingle of fear rose within Pomella. It'd been the life of the stars since anyone believed her about seeing strange, misty animals in her garden or the Mystwood. Each time she'd told somebody, they'd looked at her like she was a dunder. It was the same reason she'd learned long ago not to talk about her books or how she sometimes tried to feel and use the Myst. If her fathir found out about either, especially the Myst, he'd ensure with a firm hand that she didn't blather about it again. Commoners were forbidden from meddling in such things.
Still, sometimes, on cool nights like this, she felt something different in the air, like a song in her chest, demanding to be sung.
She shook her head. The owl was gone, and the wolves weren't likely to be a concern tonight. Or maybe she was a dunder and had imagined the whole thing.
Jumping down the rocks, Pomella found her nearby drying line and snatched up the clothes hanging there. She quickly folded each garment, tucking them inside the basket. She hummed as she worked, trying to raise her spirits for tonight's Springrise festival.
Stepping barefoot across the cool hillside grass, Pomella returned to her village. But instead of heading toward the bonfire, she skirted around Goodman AnClure's smithy, its furnace banked and quiet for the night. She found a dark corner behind the thatch-roofed building and dropped the basket. Quick as a luck'n so as not to be seen, she pulled her work dress over her head and let it drop to the ground. The night air pebbled her dark, almond-colored skin and she prayed to all the Saints that spring would bring warmer weather.
This would have been easier if she'd just gone home to change, but she was afraid Fathir might still be there. That, and her brother Gabor might be lurking, and the last thing she wanted was the little twerper running off with her dress as a prank like he did last Summeryarn.
Pomella fumbled through the basket, and pulled out her Springrise dress. She'd sewn it herself in autumn, having saved her nugs and even a clip in order to afford the fabric before winter came. She hoped to Brigid the dress fit. Pomella had grown more than usual over the past year, both in height and in the chest. Blessed Saints, how she hoped she was done growing! She was sixteen and it was time to be quit of it.
When she wiggled the dress over her hips, it settled nicely, if a bit snug, over her curves. She checked the length of the long sleeves. Embroidered ivy and sunflowers wove themselves around the cuffs and hem. It would have to do. Grandmhathir had always said Pomella's best talents lay elsewhere.
"There you are!" called a familiar voice.
Pomella looked up as Bethy AnClure, red haired and crowned with a golden wreath of winter leaves and pine needles in the likeness of Saint Brigid, hurried over. A heavy, shamrock-green cloak hung across Bethy's shoulders, clasped in front with a pin shaped liked a Mothic knot.
"Were you off talking to birds in the woods again?" Pomella's friend said. "The Toweren is about to begin, and you promised me you wouldn't miss it."
"I know, sorry, Bethy. I had to get out for a bit. My fathir was being a culk again. Do you like my —"
"Oh!" Bethy gasped, her blue eyes widening. "Your dress! Look at it! These ocean waves are so beautiful."
"They're ivy," Pomella said, frowning.
"Oh, shite, sorry," Bethy snipped, brushing off her mistake. "It looks wonderful."
"Thank you. Your Brigid costume looks nice, too. The cloak is beautiful. With that and your hair, you were born to play her."
Looking at Bethy, Pomella was reminded of how she'd always wanted hair like her friend's. Her own shoulder-length dark-brown hair was nice enough, but it just wasn't as pretty. Pomella wondered again, as she often had, if red hair would look good against her own darker skin. If she couldn't change her hair's color, she could at least grow it longer, like the merchant-scholars and nobles did.
And the Mystics.
Bethy's eyes shone above her smile in the moonlight. "Danny AnStipe was looking at more than my hair just a little while ago. After the play, I'm taking him to the underworld." She grinned knowingly.
Pomella humored her with a smile. Danny AnStipe was probably the handsomest boy their age in Oakspring. But despite this, Pomella had never been as drawn to him as she had to a certain other.
Bethy stepped back and pulled open the cloak so Pomella could see the full dress. She leaned in with a cunning smile on her face. "Mhathir made the cloak and helped me with the dress. But I lowered the neckline."
Pomella gaped at her. "Bethy!"
She waved Pomella off. "Yah, yah, I know. She'll buzz like a honeyhive when she sees it. Oh, and Fathir forged a real iron sword for the play! But I'm not allowed to touch it until the play begins. I listened to him about that because I didn't want to kick my luck too much. I saw Sim eyeing it hungrily, though."
"I wish I had your confidence," Pomella grumbled.
"Come on," Bethy said, tugging Pomella's sleeve. "We shouldn't dawdle like ganders. I need to —"
"Bethilla!" called a man's voice. They turned just as Bethy's older brother, Simkon, stepped out of the light, peering into the shadows where the girls stood. Pomella thanked the Saints that she'd managed to get her dress on before all these people showed up.
Not that she would mind if Sim managed to glimpse her wearing slightly fewer garments than normal.
Seeing the girls, the older boy strode over. Bethy snickered when she saw her brother. He wore a makeshift laghart costume crafted from a pair of green-dyed pants, along with a shirt with scales stitched into it. A ridiculous, vaguely lizard-shaped leather mask covered most of his face. Pomella grinned. He was meant to be the leader of the forty lagharts from the Brigid legend, and it was funny looking.
"Hi, Pomella," Sim said, only briefly meeting her eye. "I was looking for Bethy."
"I'm right here," Bethy said, crossing her arms.
Sim stared at his sister. "What did you do to your dress? You can't go onto the green like that!" He reached over to tug her cloak closed.
Bethy slapped his hand away. "Don't order me around, lizard-boy!"
Pomella rolled her eyes and eased between them. "Your fathir will give both of you lip if you don't hurry. I'll catch up as soon as I put this laundry away. I don't want it to gather biterbugs."
Bethy glared at her older brother. "Fine. Hurry, though, Pom. The baron's daughter is here. Let's go, scale face."
Pomella's face blossomed into a smile. She'd forgotten that Lady Elona was coming today. The girl had a fascination with the Myst, and for the Springrise festival. For the past two years she'd insisted that her fathir, Baron AnBroke, allow her to celebrate with the commoners. The rumor around Oakspring was that Elona planned to become a Mystic's apprentice. Pomella suppressed a pang of jealousy. Maybe Elona would show them the Myst tonight.
Sim lingered and removed his mask with one hand, revealing a head of tousled, straw-colored hair. Pomella bit her lip upon seeing his strong jaw and piercing eyes.
He looked down at the ground and cleared his throat. "I like your dress. It's pretty."
"Thank you," Pomella replied, cautiously waiting to see where this led. She'd known for years that Sim returned her affections for him. Recently it'd become more obvious, which Pomella didn't mind. But things had become awkward after he'd found her trying to read noble runes by the Creekwaters last week. She prayed to the Saints that he wouldn't bring it up.
He took a deep breath and gazed down at her. "I was wondering if we could walk tonight, after midnight when Springrise arrives. Walk and, um ... talk."
Excitement and anxiety swirled inside Pomella. She forced herself to meet his gaze. Most girls her age in Oakspring found Sim handsome, but she was drawn to his humble blue eyes and gentle manner. They had been through so much together. In a strange way, Sim probably knew her better than anybody, including Bethy. Normally, Pomella would gladly accept any time alone with Sim. But right now, she was just too confused to know what was supposed to happen next.
She opened her mouth to tell him so, but his pleading eyes made her hesitate. "Perhaps I will, yes," she said. He'd only asked her to go for a walk. She could handle that. Walk. And talk.
It was the talking that worried her.
Sim frowned. "So ... did you just answer 'yes' or 'perhaps'?"
"Yes," she replied.
"Yes, you answered, or is 'yes' your answer?"
She pushed him gently, her fingers sinking into the scaled wool. "Go to the play, Sim," she said, forcing a smile. She couldn't help but notice his chest felt very strong beneath the costume. He'd grown a lot in the last year, especially in the shoulders. That was certainly a clip in his favor. "Go slither around your sister like the laghart you're supposed to be. I need to put these clothes away. We'll walk after."
His lips parted into a charming smile. "I'll see you then. Oh, and the embroidery on your dress looks very nice." He ducked around his fathir's smithy toward the bonfire and celebration.
Pomella sighed. She picked at her ivy embroidery. Grandmhathir was right. Pomella would just have to focus on her other talents.
Lifting the basket, she hurried toward the house. She'd just have to hope that Fathir was at the bonfire by now.
As she neared home, her garden came into view. A bursting array of flower bushes, vegetable patches, and even a few fig trees surrounded the house, seemingly trying to encroach on the little wooden home. Barrels in various stages of construction or repair stood along the side of the house, waiting for her fathir to complete them. They huddled together as if seeking protection from the overwhelming onslaught of Pomella's garden.
She passed the towering plants, enjoying the wild aroma of her spring flowers. Beets and carrots, yams and potatoes, all flourished under the soil in carefully plotted rows of dirt, already showing their first shoots, way ahead of anybody else's efforts. The garden had been Grandmhathir's once, starting as just a tiny patch by the front door. Pomella's heart ached every time she thought about how her grandmhathir would never see what the garden had become under her care, nor would she ever hear about all the villagers that came from Eldleaf and Whissting Ford who had come to see it with their own eyes.
Stepping across the tiny porch, Pomella ducked through the front door and set the basket atop the carved table Fathir had made. A quick peek around the house told her Gabor wasn't hiding. She found her brush and tidied her hair. It fell nearly to her shoulders now. She grudgingly admitted that maybe her fathir was right, that maybe she'd have to trim it soon if she didn't want the Watcherman lecturing her on commoner appearance laws.
Outside, she heard the villagers settle as the Toweren began. The Watcherman always began the saga, setting the stage on the village green with his charming voice. She barely heard his words at this distance, but mouthed the lines from memory anyway.
Come follow me
On memory free
Of Brigid old
And tales long told
Of abandoned hearth
And tiresome trails
In soaring Tower
Her child pales
Caught by death's dark power
Pomella set the brush down and hurried out the door, toward the green. Her grandmhathir had always said the Toweren was written to be sung. Pomella wished she could hear it performed that way. Strolling to the green, she sang the next stanza, trying to find a tune of her own for it.
"Come search with me
Across the sea
With Brigid sold
Her sad tale told
Of a master's demand
From Tower steep
'A branch of banes
Or I will ever keep
Your son in chains'"
She scowled to herself. Her tune wasn't quite what she wanted. She loved coming up with little melodies and singing. When she did it well, it drew people's attention. She'd developed a reputation for it in Oakspring, until her fathir strictly forbade her singing around others.
She arrived at the green just as Bethy slipped into the grassy clearing, standing alone in a wide circle of torches. Pomella's friend slinked around the grass barefoot, pretending to swim in darkness, playing out Brigid's search for the entrance to the underworld. Pomella edged her way along the back of the crowd, hoping to get a clear glimpse of Lady Elona.
She caught sight of her brother, Gabor, up ahead. He and some of his twerper friends crouched behind the crowd, huddled over what she suspected was a gaggle of pranks. On the green, Bethy asked the Nameless Saint where she could find the the entrance to the underworld.
"Gabor!" Pomella hissed, trying to catch his attention. If Fathir couldn't keep Gabor out of trouble like Grandmhathir had, then Pomella would have to do it herself.
Lady Elona, small and delicate, not much older than Gabor, played the Nameless Saint and wore a stunning silk and gossamer gown with faerie wings and face paint. Dark, shimmering hair with delicate emeralds woven within cascaded down her back nearly to her hips. She answered Bethy with a musical voice that sounded like tinkling bells. "Beyond the veil, by my eyes, to faerie skies, seek and find!"
Gabor looked up at Pomella and grinned like a luck'n. Pomella hesitated, torn between discovering what mischief he was up to and watching the play.
A soft glow emanated from the stage, drawing murmurs from the crowd.
Elona lifted her hand. Thin strands of light spun above her palm, weaving a flower shaped like a Mothic knot. Its shimmer gleamed on her pale skin.
Pomella forgot Gabor and stared in wonder as the little girl summoned the Myst. At least, Pomella assumed it was the Myst. What else could it be? The flower spun and lifted, drawing all eyes upward. Voices flew from the flower, filling the village with soft singing. The music resonated with something inside Pomella, coaxing her to join with its melody. A desire arose within her, steady and burning, to know how the girl did that.
By the Saints, if only Pomella weren't a commoner. She didn't really mind keeping her hair so short, but it seemed silly that she couldn't keep it longer like a noblewoman. Pomella had never known the feel of silk, either, but how could she miss what she'd never known? She wished she didn't have to try to teach herself to read noble runes in secret, and that people would believe her about seeing silver animals in her garden and in the forest. But most of all, she wished, desperately, that she was allowed to learn of the Myst.
Excerpted from Mystic by Jason Denzel. Copyright © 2015 Jason Denzel. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
2. The Book of Songs,
3. The Mystwood,
4. The Lost Chamber,
5. Kelt Apar,
6. The Candidates,
7. The First Trial,
8. The Garden,
9. The Black Claws,
10. Forging Iron,
11. The High Mystic,
12. Sad Songs,
13. The Road to MagDoon,
14. Dreams of the Mountain,
15. The Summit,
16. Blood and Stone,
17. The Guardian,
18. The Apprentice,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Good story, just short and feels incomplete.
Good coming of age story. Very enjoyable.
Was worth the read. He did as much as anyone could with 200 pages. The characters were interesting if a tad shallow. Plenty of room for good story telling to come. That being said I do wish there was more meat to it. Fingers crossed the next installment will be lengthier.
Ahoy there me mateys! This be book one and I devoured it. It be a tasty treat that I truly should have read years ago. I be super excited that tomorrow I be readin' the sequel. Arrrr! So this story follows Pomella, a young girl with a secret ambition. She wants to be a Mystic, one of the practitioners of magic. The problem is that she is common-born. And magic is reserved for the nobility who have the time, talent, and training for the art. So imagine everyone's surprise when she is summoned for a spot in the contest to choose a new apprentice for the High Mystic. Pomella decides to break tradition and participate but if she fails the consequences are dire. She will become Unclaimed and lose her place in society, her name, and the ability to ever go home. Now first off all, I absolutely love the myst. The fae magic underlies the world but only mystics can access it. The magic lends itself to the user through different means - painting or an instrument for example. Those that see the myst can see the silvery creatures that live there. And not all of them are nice. I thought the use of the myst in this book was fascinating and yet ye only get a small glimpse of its potential. I am looking forward to finding out more. Pomella be a very fun character. She is intelligent but makes mistakes. She is driven but can be blinded by stubbornness. She doubts her own abilities and choices. She works hard for what she wants. As a character, Pomella above all feels authentic. Just a person trying to achieve a huge, difficult but possible dream. I also liked the other characters as well. There is a young man from Pomella's village named Sim who I adored. He did not have many chapters but those he did have helped enrich the story. I also loved the magical creatures, Pomella's best friend in her village, and the gardener. The romantic elements in the story were realistic and not over-the-top. But best of all was the writing that helped draw me into the story and also the plot twists that were unexpected and yet so seemingly perfect when they happened. The arc was complete at the end of the book but I hope there be a lot more adventures for Pomella and Sim. So if like me, ye somehow failed to read this charming book, go get yerself a copy! Stay tuned for book two tomorrow. I am looking forward to the explanation of dragon in the title. Arrrr!
It was good book a bit short tho
It stayed in my mind during the day and couldn't wait to get back to it at bedtime! That's always been my barometer for a good story!
I expected a bit more. Very short at 200 pages. It had an interesting premise, but lacked worldbuilding and charcter development. I regret spending $10 on it.
So far just read the sample, intriguing--- I need to purchase so I can find out more
Her dream came true, her journey began. In a quiet corner of the island of Moth, the people of Oakspring village prepare for their annual Springrise festival. For most it’s a time of celebration, but not for Pomella AnDone. For she has a secret, a world that only she can see, full of strange, ethereal creatures, the world of myst. Even among the nobles it is a rare honor to be trained by a mystic; for Pomella it is a dream come true, complete with unexpected obstacles, and the very real possibility of failure. Set in a world of magical creatures, Mystic relies on quick glimpses and minor mysteries to spark audience interest, but fails to linger long enough to provide any substantive answers. Instead the story hurries through its narrative. Inner thoughts help to emphasize themes of perception and identity, outlining conflicts that often resolve all too quickly, with many questions left unanswered. In the end the story is little more than comfort food; fun, easy, but not very memorable. +Strong Setting *Young Story/Fast Read *Strong but familiar Characters *Simple Plot -Weak descriptions 2.5/5
It was the Springrise Festival Pomella got in another fight with her father. He shouted at her that she not a noble and should cut her hair. Pomella grabbed a wicker basket and headed toward the forest where she found comfort in it’s silence. Bethany was Pomella’s friend. But pomella had feelings for Bethany’s older brother Sim and he felt something for her. Sim probably knew Pomella better than anyone. During the celebration of the festival the Green Man appears, it has been fifty years since he last appeared. The Green Man had a message from Kelt Apar inviting Pomella to participate in a competition to become an apprentice to the High Mystic. There were three tests she had to complete. But never before has a commoner been picked. It goes against the law and tradition. Pomella decides to accept anyway. But if she fails to win she will become unclaimed- nameless, homeless, and declared anathema. She was up against three other candidates. Men and women who have a connection to the Myst and have the potential to become mystics. I liked this story. It’s not normally the type of story I would read but decided to give it a try and was glad I did. This story did keep me interested .I liked that the High Mystic broke with tradition and picked a commoner to compete and not just the nobility. I also liked that Pomella was brave enough to accept the challenge of the three tests with all she could lose and going up against three others. I liked the characters in the story a lot especially Pomella and all the twists and turns she went through. I recommend. I received an ARC of this story for an honest review.
So much fun. Well worth reading.
Worth reading for all ages.
Nice story, action packed, and fun
Mystic is a great book, and there were so many elements of it that I enjoyed. First off, the world of Moth was captivating, and filled to the brim with whimsical creatures, incredible places, and relatable characters. I already can't wait for the sequel, because there is so much more I want to know. From Fayun—the land of the Fae—to the bonds magical creatures form with humans, Jason Denzel left so much room for imagination and wonder. While I can't say that this book was the most original one I've read, the stupendous writing made up for this, and I'm thrilled I got to read it. There were a lot of plot twists in the story, and I wish I could say that I found all of them to be shocking, but I did see some of them coming. However, the need to know what would happen kept me turning the pages like a madwoman until the very end. My main issue with the entire story was how underdeveloped the Black Claws (a.k.a. the main group of villains) were, even though I truly wanted to know more about them! Their descriptions, motives, and backstories felt glossed over, which made the rest of the book confusing at times—especially since they were so important to the plot line. Overall, I loved Mystic. The writing was fantastical, the descriptions were whimsical, and I can confidently say that it would be a fun read for any fantasy lover. Full review: http://www.bookrambles.com/2016/01/mystic-mystic-1-by-jason-denzel-review.html
The storyline and characters were great, and I really enjoyed the book until the ending. I was ok with the ending itself, but I needed more explanation.
Weak story line. A Rothfus wanna be.
!Magic , love intrigue and more! Easy fun read! Look forward to the next one!