I’m debating setting a rule: when the female characters start to complain that all the men are stupid and that they’re the only sensible ones, there’s a chance the book has fudged up its gender dynamics.
An argument could be made that, given the 15-year-old male protagonist, this isn’t totally unexpected. But when adult women act out the fantasies of 15-year-old males, there’s a problem.
There’s a lot of good elements in Ysabel, but the women characters are not one of them. They fall uncomfortably close to virgin/whore personalities, they are a little too preoccupied with their relationships to men, and frankly I just didn’t find them very believable.
Which, given that this book is named after a woman, and that a woman’s actions and personality are supposed to be the driving force in a book, is a pretty fatal flaw. In fact, the titular character has no real personality. It’s all just borrowed from her host soul. I couldn’t describe Ysabel if I tried–only the effect she produced in the men who loved her.