Nightspell Week: Nightspell Review & Giveaway!

Leah Cypess's website here // $9.99 from {amazon}
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (May 31, 2011)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Source: Author
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.

My Thoughts:

It took me over ten tries to get this right: NIGHTSPELL is indescribable. It’s indescribably amazing. It’s indescribably fantastical. In a word, it’s brilliant. (And, yes, paradoxical.) Leah Cypess is quickly becoming one of my favorite YA fantasy writers, and in NIGHTSPELL, it’s clearly evident why.

My top reason to love: Leah Cypess is a master at world-building and plot-weaving. NIGHTSPELL doesn’t just throw out some Ghostland facts and leave you attempting to connect-the-dots. Rather, it gradually and seamlessly laces them together to form a rich history and haunting setting. Nothing in NIGHTSPELL is simply “a crack,” it’s “a hairline crack [that] spread along the length of a black-speckled gray coil” (315, ARC).

Likewise, the plot is fully fleshed out and filled with just as many twists-and-turns as its companion novel, MISTWOOD. For those that have read MISTWOOD, Rokan’s sister Clarisse steals the spotlight in NIGHTSPELL. She’s the same Oscars-worthy actress and cunning enigma that I knew and loved (though her previous history isn’t vital to the plot). She’s so incredibly self-serving, but man, do I like it that way. Clarisse is the one who makes so much of the plot unpredictable and exciting, and when everything does finally click together, it’s definitely a historical “WOW” moment.

However, what failed to impress me were the characters: solid, but not great. NIGHTSPELL switches between Darri, Varis, and Callie’s point of views, which was... fine. I didn’t really gain any spectacular insight about Varis or Callie, whose perspectives really just worked to further the plot. They lacked that extra ounce of unique personality, which, actually, could be said of all the characters, from primary to secondary ones. They each seemed driven by one self-defining purpose, and past that, it was a fuzzy fog. I had some quick glimpses and possible ideas, but never felt like I saw the raw essence of personality. That being said, the characters all had genuine struggles and authentic voices, and it was enjoyable learning more about them. 

In the end, does it matter that I wouldn't cry buckets if a character died? Not at all. NIGHTSPELL is a book that revolves around its stunning, mystical world and constant intrigue, and after adding some more action, what could be a better recipe for a fantasy-lover? :)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Romance: No real physical contact. There's the promise of something at the end, but sometimes reality cuts in and I'm glad NIGHTSPELL reflects that.

Cover:  I LOVE IT. The castle is perhaps a bit too pretty and Disney-esque, but the girl on top really matches my mental image of Darri.

Bottom Line: I highly recommend both NIGHTSPELL and MISTWOOD to fantasy and, to a lesser extent, mystery lovers, because the plot and setting are just that amazing. If you're not that into either genre, it's still a great book, just go in knowing what to expect.


Since I love Leah Cypess's books, I thought I'd give someone else a chance to read my finished copy of Mistwood. If you'd like the chance to win Nightspell, enter here. Remember you can comment on this review for an extra entry into the Nightspell giveaway! :)

To enter, fill out the form below.
** You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
Open Internationally
Contest ends Thursday, June 2nd at 11:59 EST
• For more information, please view my contest policy.