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?
Nightspell was an incredibly unique and alluring high fantasy novel. Even though this is considered a companion novel to Mistwood, you don't have to have read it (like me) to comprehend what is going on. I think my favorite aspect of Nightspell was the originality and world building. The idea of Ghostland was so different from anything I've read before and the characters were all complex and well developed. The story opens with Darri and her brother, Varis, riding to Ghostland to rescue their younger sister, Callie. Callie was taken from her homeland and brought to this frightening kingdom where the dead and living roam side by side when she was just a child. Now, Darri finally has the chance to go rescue her, but things turn out a lot differently than she ever imagined.
There is tons of action in Nightspell and the plot twists kept me guessing until the end. I loved how I never knew where the story was going and whether a character was dead or alive. This may sound strange, but, as I mentioned above, the living and dead reside together in Ghostland. Because of a curse put on the land years previous, anyone who is murdered in Ghostland comes back as a ghost. The dead work hard to blend in with the living and you aren’t always sure who is still “breathing”. I loved this aspect of the story and it was an original idea for sure. Nightspell is part mystery, part fantasy, part romance, and so much more.
The characters in Nightspell were strong and independent. Darri was an extremely brave protagonist and she did whatever she could to help her sister. Darri and her brother, Varis, learn a lot about both Ghostland and their long lost sister over the course of the story and there are some surprising things revealed.
I am so glad I took the time to read this, it was a great sophomore novel and I am even more anxious to read Mistwood now to find any connections between the two.
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
May 31, 2011/Greenwillow Books/336 Pages/Young Adult/Companion Novel
Source: The Teen Book Scene (ARC Tour)
Other books by this author: Mistwood