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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Nightspell (Mistwood #2) by Leah Cypess

Nightspell (Mistwood, #2)
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?

Since Mistwood was so much like Graceling, I expected this to be very similar.  After reading the entire book, I still have no idea what Nightspell has to do with Mistwood, but at least it was much more original.

I loved the setting.  It was so well-described, and just plain cool.  And creepy.  I loved the idea that ghosts of murder victims remain at court until they avenge themselves.  That part of the book was done very, very well, and I'd be interested in reading more books set in this world. 

Apart from the cool setting, though, this didn't improve on what I felt were Mistwood's weaknesses.  The characters were maybe a tiny bit more well-developed, but not by much.  I was struggling to care about them all the way through.  I don't know what it was about them, but I just had a hard time connecting. 

The court intrigue was okay, but it got very predictable in places.  Again, I wasn't given a reason to care about any of it.  Usually I love all the who-gets-to-be-heir and so on, but this just didn't stand out in my mind.  I wanted it to be more intense and unexpected.

Overall, Nightspell was an okay read.  I really liked the setting, but the rest of it fell a bit flat.  If you liked Mistwood, then go ahead and try this.   Even if you haven't read Mistwood, try it if it looks interesting to you, because they aren't related, but otherwise I'd pass.  Not horrible, but not great either.  I enjoyed it, but definitely not as much as I could have, given the awesome premise.


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