“LibraryCin said: 3.5 stars
Ysabel is a young adult urban fantasy novel. 15-year old Ned is in France with his father, a photographer. While exploring a cathedral, Ned meets Kate, who is about the same age as he is. Odd things start happening. Without giving too much away, the story involves two men and a woman from 2500 years ago, merging in today’s world and somehow Ned and his family are involved.
I liked it. I am not usually a big fan of fantasy, but I’ve found I tend to prefer ya and urban fantasy. I’ve only read one other Kay book, which for me, took an incredibly long time for the story to get going. I was happy that this one started off with the action right off the top.
kairilily said: 3 stars
Fourteen year old Ned Marriner finds himself in Aix-en-Provence on a shoot with his famous photographer father. While his father and his team are shooting photos of an ancient cathedral, Ned meets Kate, an American exchange student about his age. While Ned and Kate are hanging out together in the cathedral, they meet a very strange man with a knife that threatens them. After the confrontation with the man, Ned gets a very disturbing feeling that overwhelms him while he's looking at a carving of what's supposed to be The Queen of Sheba on a pillar inside the cathedral. These two events set in motion a story that's been going on for centuries and Ned and Kate are now in the middle of it.
I found Ysabel to be a quick, interesting read. I thought the story was quite good, but for some reason, I just felt it could be a little better. Maybe I felt that way because the story had such a young adult feel to it but there were so many elements that could have made it an even better adult story had the author chosen to go in that direction. I would recommend the story to fans of historical fiction with a fantasy or supernatural element to it.
***Note - This book is tagged history, but if the historical part is the only reason you're reading it, you may be disappointed. There is some history of battles and such that took place in Aix-en-Provence and surrounding areas, but this story mostly takes place in the present with a few short history lessons along the way.
krisT J said: 4 stars
This story surprised me. I had this author on my list to try since the fantasy tag and when it fit for this game and was tagged a fairy tale I had to go for it. The story pulls you in right away when the main character a teenager named Ned goes on a trip to Provence. His father is a famous photographer and is on assignment to shoot some old buildings and ruins in France. Melanie is the fathers very efficient assistant and she plans things for Ned to do while on location. When shooting an old cathedral, Ned goes into the cathedral to explore and runs across a teen girl that is an exchange student there and pretty geeky. Together they find some mysterious things happening and drawing them in to a story that happened thousands of years before.
The story was a little long but the just of it was a pretty interesting read. I do not see why it was tagged a fairy tale but maybe more of folklore. I gave it 4/5 stars.
Cora R said: 4 1/2 stars (rounded down to 4 on my shelf)
The south of France is thick with history. Many civilizations have sought to control the area including Celts, Greeks, and Romans. On a trip to a cathedral in Aix, Ned stumbles into a two thousand year old historical feud. He sees a man who seems to be from another time. All of a sudden Ned grows an awareness of things he should not be involved with. When his involvement in the supernatural endangers a friend, he feels responsible and begins a race against destiny to save her.
I really enjoyed this young adult fantasy. I felt like I learned a lot about Provence and its history. I liked Ned a lot more than I expected to and I appreciated how he grew and matured throughout the story. I also bumped up the rating a whole half a star because unlike other young adult fantasy novels, when things got weird and dangerous, Ned actually went to his parents for help rather than trying to save the day all by himself. The adults in the novel were interesting and responsible, not only card board cut outs or stereotypes. I also was pleasantly surprised when characters from Kay's Fionavar Tapestry appeared in this book (although you do not have to have read that series to appreciate this book). The only negative I had for the book was that Ned seems to spend a lot of time worrying about what he should do rather than doing anything in the beginning. I became a bit impatient for the meat of the story to really begin. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that enjoys fantasy where ancient myth and folklore meet modern day settings.
Linda C said: 3.5 stars rounded to 4
Fifteen year old Ned Marriner is traveling with his celebrity photographer Father to France on a shoot while his doctor Mother is in Darfur working with Doctors without Borders. He meets exchange student, Kate Wenger, while touring a cathedral. While in the church they stumble into a ‘Story’ from the past which is being relived in current time. During Beltane (May 1st) they get further pulled into the Story and then part of their traveling group gets pulled in as well. In order to save her Ned and his family have to become involved in the ancient Story. I liked Ned and the rest of the present day characters, and found their relationships to each other believable, but found the Story a bit contrived. Everyone seems to keep saying how confused they are and then doing things because the impulse seemed right.”
His earlier trilogy (The Fionavar Tapestry) has Kim and Dave as two of the five main characters, and is much more Fantasy/fairy tale-like. Or maybe more myth-like. If you enjoyed Ysabel, you might really enjoy those three books-they are still among my favorite fantasy books.