Synopsis:(From Goodreads): A stand-alone companion novel to the much-acclaimed MISTWOOD. When Darri rides into Ghostland, a country where the living walk with the dead, she has only one goal: to rescue her younger sister Callie, who was sent to Ghostland as a hostage four years ago. But Callie has changed in those four years, and now has secrets of her own. In her quest to save her sister from herself, Darri will be forced to outmaneuver a handsome ghost prince, an ancient sorcerer, and a manipulative tribal warrior (who happens to be her brother). When Darri discovers the source of the spell that has kept the dead in Ghostland chained to this earth, she faces a decision that will force her to reexamine beliefs she has never before questioned – and lead her into the heart of a conspiracy that threatens the very balance of power between the living and the dead.
Review: I won a copy and ARC of Nightspell in a Leah Cypress Twitter giveaway and didn’t realise it was part two of the Mistwood series. However, it said that it was a ‘stand-alone’ companion novel so I went ahead and read it. After doing some research on Goodreads, it seems that there is no need to read Mistwood irst anyway. Nightspell is a young adult novel.
Darrie and her brother Varis make the dreaded trip to Ghostland in pursuit of saving their younger sister Callie. Four years earlier, their father made the ultimate sacrifice of trading her off to Ghostland. Now has come the time when Darrie will take her sister’s place with the hope of setting her free. Darrie is a strong-willed Raellian princess who certainly experiences a culture shock when she arrives at Ghostland where the there is a blurry line between the living and the dead. On the brink of a war between humans and ghosts, the three foreigners need to watch their backs because not everything is as it seems. To Darrie’s surprise, Callie has become at ease with her new home and has chosen to stay, but just like any big sister, she knows best and plans to get her out anyway. To seal Callie’s freedom, Darrie must marry Prince Kestin but she must decide whether she will marry a ghost.
Cypess is a great storyteller and she created a world that is very intriguing, full of betrayal and secrets. I don’t generally read ghost stories so this unfamiliar genre so this was a nice change. There were plenty of secrets, suspense and action to keep me entertained but there were a few aspects I found quite disappointing, particularly the ending. It is hard to say what I didn’t like about it without spoiling it so I will have to be vague. When I turned over the last page, I was surprised that it ended. I had to re-read the last few pages because I didn’t really get what happened. When I did understand I was quite unhappy as it was not the ending I had hoped for. Although predictability can be a little boring at times, the surprise at the end was underwhelming. I have no idea whether Cypess plans a third novel but there were definitely things left unanswered. Had it not been for the ending I probably would have rated it 4 stars. Oh and there is absolutely NO love story in this novel which I was also disappointed with.
Despite the ending, the characters were quite well developed with Darrie, a strong woman who is stubborn and independent. Varis was annoying and I didn’t really get the sense that there was much ‘growth’ for him during the story. Callie’s voice certainly sounded older than 14 years but given the setting it was still believable. Ghost characters Jano and Clarisse added a bit of spark and Cypess has a great way of humanising the dead.
I may read the first in the series, Mistwood and if there was a third novel I would probably read that to see what happens next. So, if you like a paranormal story that is really quite different to most on the market and you are happy to sacrifice the lack of romance then Nightspell is an entertaining read.
* I won a printed copy of Nightspell via a Leah Cypess Twitter giveaway.