Nightspell by Leah Cypess is a companion novel to her debut, Mistwood (my review). It can be read as a stand alone novel, the two only share one character and you don't need to know her story from the first novel to enjoy or understand this one.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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.
Despite what the synopsis may lead you to believe, Darri is really not the main character. Or at least not all by herself. She shares that position with both her siblings, Callie and Varis, and also with Clarisse. Of the lot of them Darri was actually the one I found the least interesting. She is one of those hard headed stubborn types who has firm opinions, but doesn't seemed to have done much analyzing to arrive at those opinions. Varis and Clarisse were by far my favorite characters. They were certainly not always likable, not even a little bit, but man oh man are they are interesting. They too have firm ideas about what needs to be done, but at least there is evidence that they think things through carefully, and even when you think the choices they make are reprehensible you can see why they are making them. The interactions between the two of them were my favorite parts of the book.
Cypess has a real talent for drawing a reader into a story. There is plenty of intrigue, mystery, and complicated maneuvering going on amongst the members of the court to keep a reader engrossed until the end. However, once I reached the end I was so frustrated. (This happened when I read Mistwood too.) The troubling thing about it is I can't explain why I'm frustrated because that would involve giving away spoilers. I'll just say that I felt there were several holes left in the plot at that the end.
I do like the way the ghosts were portrayed as clinging to an artificiality and that they were not enjoying eternal life, but rather eternal death. I also enjoyed that this was a sibling story as much as it was a ghost or fantasy intrigue story. The relationship between Varis, Darri, and Callie is portrayed very realistically and I loved that element.
This is a good book to recommend to anyone who enjoys slightly creepy stories and complex relationships.