(Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway) NIGHTSPELL by Leah Cypess

[Again, I apologize if you see these images as blown-up or as long rectangles.  I don't know why Blogger sometimes does this to my entries lately!!]

Today's post is part of Leah Cypess' NIGHTSPELL blog tour.  A list of tour stops can be found here on Leah's web site.  Tomorrow's stop will feature an excerpt at Arianne Cruz.  

Want a good reason to stop by each day of the tour?  Leah is GIVING AWAY an exclusive, one-of-a-kind annotated edition of MISTWOOD!  All you have to do is leave a comment on any tour entry to be entered in a random drawing.  The more of these posts you comment on, the more chances you have to enter (although only one comment per post will count).  

In addition, most of the blogs participating are giving away either copies of NIGHTSPELL/MISTWOOD and/or autographed bookmarks.  A Backwards Story is delighted be offering up a giveaway at the end of this post!

Author: Leah Cypess
Release Date: Out now (May 31, 2011)
Publisher: Greenwillow/Harper Collins
Received: Purchased


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.

I never did review MISTWOOD last year despite the fact that I really enjoyed it.  Then again, after May 5th, I didn't review ANYTHING until August 17th.  *coughs*  I kid you not whenever I mention how little I blogged my first year.  I had 30-some entries for the entire year...which is about what I generate in a month now.  ^^;;  I was hoping to finish re-reading MISTWOOD before today's blog tour stop so I could deliver a  double-review, but sadly, that isn't going to happen.  But you should still totally read it because it's AWESOME!

One of my favorite book genres is high fantasy.  I've been a fan of Leah Cypess ever since reading MISTWOOD last year after hearing fellow debut author Alexandra Bracken (BRIGHTLY WOVEN, which I *gasp* DID review) talk about her and seeing her title on Enchanted Inkpot (I was totally a LiveJournal girl before moving here).  If you love high fantasy, Leah Cypess won't disappoint you.  Her books are fresh and unique as she invents her own worlds seldom seen before.  In MISTWOOD, she introduces a Shifter sworn to protect the kings of Samorna.  NIGHTSPELL revolves around a kingdom where at least a third of the inhabitants are deceased, murder victims giving a second chance at existence in order to take vengeance on their killer and rest in peace.  Unusual, right?  Nothing about Cypess or her worlds is ordinary.  You don't have to read MISTWOOD to read NIGHTSPELL, either (or vice versa).  They're companion novels, but only in the way that Kristin Cashore's GRACELING and FIRE can be called companion novels.  The kingdoms exist in the same world, but each kingdom is uniquely its own.  The books only share one common character.  I didn't even remember this until I started re-reading MISTWOOD, actually, and it made me intrigued to read through new eyes.  There are also a couple of scenes in NIGHTSPELL I want to re-read now that I've found the link.  I would love a third companion novel that ties everything together, even if it's the way MESSENGER tied Lois Lowry's THE GIVER and GATHERING BLUE together.

NIGHTSPELL starts off with a powerful punch, throwing readers immediately into the action and then slowly piecing together necessary information.  Darri and her brother Varis are on the way to Ghostland, described as:

 "Here be ghosts, the maps said, and that was all they had to say about the kingdom known as Ghostland. They were riding toward a castle where, the legends whispered, the dead outnumbered the living. Each of the dead seeking vengeance and nearly impossible to fight.  They could kill the living with any weapon they pleased, but only silver or sunlight could harm a ghost" (pg. 5, US hardcover first edition).  

Doesn't that give you shivers and tell you that this is a unique novel?  The siblings are going to join their sister Callie, whom their father sent to Ghostland a few years ago.  Callie, however, has changed, having spent years experiencing horrors that no one from the Plains could ever dream of.  On top of that, upon reaching Ghostland, it is discovered that Prince Kestin has been murdered and is now a ghost, which puts Darri's betrothal and the unification of the kindoms in a state of flux.  Things aren't as they seem in Ghostland, and not everyone is happy to have foreigners among them.  Something dangerous has been brewing beneath the surface and the arrival of Darri and Varis has brought everything to a boiling point.

It's hard not to talk much about the summary for this one!  I really enjoyed it.  One of my favorite characters was Prince Kestin, who sadly no longer has a pulse.  I loved every page he was on.  I also liked the way Cypess flipped the POV between the three siblings at times to give readers new perspectives from which to view everything by.  Through Darri's eyes, Varis is heartless, but through his eyes, we still that there is still good within him.  Through Callie's eyes, we also see WHY she has closed off the way she has despite the fact that, through Darri's eyes, we can't.  We can also see the way foreigners are viewed as barbarians through Callie's eyes, as well as other insight we'd never grasp if this book was told solely through Darri's eyes.  Each perspective is necessary and not done in an intrusive way.  I love how strong Darri's character is and the way she still manages to have flaws.  Callie really grew on me as well and I wanted to keep reading once I finished the last page of the novel.  I liked MISTWOOD a lot, but I loved NIGHTSPELL more.  Cypess has evolved as a writer and tells a more gripping tale now than ever before.


Pretty!!!!  I thought the design for MISTWOOD was great and am glad to see that Greenwillow/HarperCollins brought art director Paul Zakris back for NIGHTSPELL.  Zakris has also designed the covers for other Greenwillow fantasy novels I love such as SILVER PHOENIX by Cindy Pon (mentioned in FURY review) and THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson (review).  He has created some beautiful covers that I'm proud to house in my bookcase (All on the same shelf reserved for my "special" fantasy books, no less!).

I really like how the design remained so close together for both books:

 I love that both books feature a girl overtop of beautiful background scenery--images important to each individual novel.  I adore the embossed title--and the font used!!  *Swoon*

And the interior design also matches both books!  They both share the same way of emphasizing page numbers:

And they use the same font at the start of each chapter:

Now, looking at NIGHTSPELL individually?  I love all the shades of purple, the way the kingdom is cloaked in starlight, the amber quality of the castle that effects all grand buildings when lit at night.  I love that the title and author's name both stand out in silver. I love the shiny tone to all the colors in this novel (which pictures can't justify.  Go look at this book in person!).  I've seen MISTWOOD in paperback and it's not as...pretty, as luminous.  I'm so glad I own my copy of both books in hardcover!

Okay, okay.  I know you really stuck around for the GIVEAWAY!

Again, leave a comment below or on any participating blog (one entry per blog) to be entered to win an exclusive annotated copy of MISTWOOD.  

Leah has generously sent me autographed bookmarks to give away during the tour.  Fill out the following form to win some of these babies!  

You  have until December 19th to enter both giveaways!


  1. I haven't read either of these yet, but I have Mistwood sitting on my shelf at home. I have actually contemplated reading Nightspell first, because after reading the sneak peak of the beginning, I really wanted to know what was going to happen. Thank you for mentioning the connection--especially saying that it was similar to the one between Fire and Graceling. Now I know that I won't be totally lost if I read Nightspell first. Thank you so much!

  2. What a great highlight on the actual books themselves. I have a fascination with all the unique aspects to each book.

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot dom

  3. I've read and enjoyed both books, and would love to win an annotated copy of Mistwood!

  4. I haven't read either of these yet but they look wonderful!

  5. I've heard so much about Leah, but haven't read any of her stuff yet. Thanks for review.

  6. This sounds AWESOME! Your review has seriously motivated me to try to get my hands on a copy again. I got it through the library when it first came out, but I was swamped with too many other books and couldn't get to it before it was due. Now I am regretting that! :)

  7. I love those Disney Movie rewards boxes, didn't know they made those.

    I need to read some Jennifer Estep, haven't yet!

    Great haul of books. Love the vid.


  8. I'd never noticed the connection between the covers and book design. That's really cool. I think I like Nightspell's cover best.


Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to stop and comment! I appreciate it more than I can say. I try to respond to each one!