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NIGHTSPELL by Leah Cypess Kirkus Star

NIGHTSPELL

By Leah Cypess

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: June 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-195702-4
Publisher: Greenwillow/HarperCollins

The distinctions between life and death are dissolved with sinister consequences in this dark companion to Mistwood (2010).

In the night-shrouded court of Ghostland, the dead do not rest quietly; they mingle freely with the living, dominating their amusements, intrigues and politics, centuries after their bodies have rotted away. Despite their disgust, the nomadic Raellians sent Callie, their youngest princess, as a prospective royal bride. Now her siblings have come at last: Prince Varis, ambitious for alliance (or conquest), and Princess Darri, determined to rescue Callie from her ghastly fate. Callie is not ready to leave, however, and the living and the dead each have their own agenda for their "barbarian" guests. While only a secondary character links this to the earlier title, fans will recognize the poetic style and rich characterization. The three protagonists stand out in their blunt vitality, but every character is portrayed with complexity and clear-eyed sympathy; none is unambiguously hero or villain. Elegant, allusive prose conveys both the claustrophobic horror and overripe allure of the decadent court, where the dead exude macabre charm, disarming sorrow and a dreadful "otherness." Some may be disappointed in the lack of dramatic resolutions; the more thoughtful will appreciate the fluid navigation between good and evil, freedom and duty, life and death, with only love reigning supreme.

Morbid and moving, transcendent and triumphant. (Horror. 14 & up)