Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tris and Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison

Book:  Tris and Izzie
Author:  Mette Ivie Harrison
Publisher:  EgmontUSA
Date:  October 11, 2011
Source:  Egmont and
My grade:  C-

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.

My Review

I have never been so disappointed in a book in my entire life.  For reals.

I love Arthurian retellings.  I mean really love them.  As in, it was Howard Pyle’s “King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table” that made me a book lover when I was just a wee little thing.  Then, in college I picked up Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “The Mists of Avalon” and I have never been the same since.  Really.

I have read so many Arthurian retellings, I don’t even know where to begin with listing them.  I have also read other retellings of the Tristan and Isolde myth.  I was so, so, so excited when I saw that this was a modern day twist on the story of Tristan and Isolde.  I kept imagining that maybe this book would do for that legend what Meg Cabot had done in “Avalon High”.

This book was sooooooooo not Meg Cabot.

Where do I even begin?  Izzie was vapid and trite.  I hated her.  Tristan was flat and uninteresting.  The whole magic premise probably could have worked, but it felt like there was no world-building for it.  In the original legend, both Tristan and Isolde are so torn apart by their forbidden love and they fear hurting Mark, whom they both love.  Here, it was all very middle-school drama.  It felt fake.

And please tell me how a giant can attack a school and then one person, who is supposed to not be so powerful anyway is able to erase everyone’s memory of it???  Really?

It was impossible to suspend my disbelief in this novel.  Much like half-vampire mutant babies in a book that shall remain nameless, there was no set-up here for the reader to be able to buy into the magic.  An author has to carefully craft supernatural fiction and this one was not carefully crafted.

Obviously, I finished the book, so there was enough of a plot to keep me going, which is the only reason this book is getting a C-.  But it’s a very bottom C-.  And I’m really being generous with that rating.  I kept reading and reading, hoping that I could find some sort of redeeming quality in this book.  I hate to give bad reviews, but I just couldn’t find anything I liked about this one. 

Maybe 7th grade girls who don’t know anything about the legends of King Arthur will like this book.  But high school girls who are used to having a little more substance to the plotlines would do better to pick up “Avalon High”. 


  1. I was excited to read Tris and Izzie because I'm really interested in Arthurian legends and I like retellings of myth, legends, and fairytales. When I heard about this modern retelling of the legend of Tristan and Isolde, I was all over it. Unfortunately, this book was a waste of my time. The author has taken a fascinating, compelling legend and reduced to a bunch of unlikable teenagers behaving badly.

  2. I could not agree more! I was hoping that she would do something fabulous like Meg Cabot did with Avalon High. I have never been so disappointed in a book!