13 July 2011

Nightspell by Leah Cypess

Here be ghosts, the maps said, and that was all.

In this haunted kingdom, ghosts linger—not just in the deepest forests or the darkest caverns, but alongside the living, as part of a twisted palace court that revels all night and sleeps through the daylight hours.

Darri's sister was trapped in this place of fear and shadows as a child. And now Darri has a chance to save her sister . . . if she agrees to a betrothal with the prince of the dead. But nothing is simple in this eerie kingdom—not her sister, who has changed beyond recognition; not her plan, which will be thrown off track almost at once; and not the undead prince, who seems more alive than anyone else.

In a court seething with the desire for vengeance, Darri holds the key to the balance between life and death. Can her warrior heart withstand the most wrenching choice of all?

This was a great, heart-wrenching story.  And instead of romance, the focus is on the two sisters, Darri and Callie.  This companion novel to Mistwood was a thrilling and compelling read.  While dark and spooky, I wish there had been more romance, but that's my personal preference in a book.  I think it would have added some flavor and drama.

The characters were excellently written and each distinctive.  They were all loveable and all garnered respect from me in one way or another.  Even Varis, who was a real butt head and didn't really change much throughout the story, was relatable in my mind.  I really rooted for Callie and Darri in equal turns.  Their relationship was excellently written.

The setting, well…ghosts creep me out anyway.  You won't ever find me chilling by a fire listening to ghost stories.  So Nightspell really got my imagination shaking at some moments.  Leah Cypess crafted an excellent ghostly setting.  Not just spirits moving in the dark woods far off, but partying, carousing ghosts who, unfortunately, can acquire really cool—and dangerous—powers.

The plot was excellent as well, though I really missed some minor part at the end.  There was some revealing piece about Clarisse and it went over my head.  Other than that, however, the end was just what the back cover said, "a heartbreaking choice".  It really fit the characters.  Wasn't too much of a stretch or anything.  The very last scene though, in my mind, was a bit of a cliffhanger, which is just mean.  There had better be another companion novel.

I think this book was primed for a great romance story.  The lack of it, however, I think really added to the flavor and environment. Some authors, like the talented Ms. Cypess, create books that are so awesome you don't even NEED a romance.  Still.  It's what I like to see in a book, so I was a smidge bit disappointed there.

Overall, it was a great story—very enjoyable.  I think out of the two Leah Cypess has written, I'd say I liked Mistwood more but I think the main character's ability to shape-shift has something to do with that.

If you liked Mistwood, you'll love Nightspell.  And tune in tomorrow (7/14) for my interview with Ms. Cypess!

Book Info:

  • pages – hardcover, 336
  • published – May 2011
  • publisher – Greenwillow Books
  • genre – fantasy
  • received via – birthday gift :)
  • rating – 4/5