Mistwood & Nightspell: reviews & giveaway

Posted 17 June, 2011 by Danny in / 73 Comments

Note to readers: The following reviews are quite frankly the most jumbled I have ever written (and that, my friends, is a feat). See. I enjoyed reading the following books, despite what I humbly view as a few epic failings. These are great stories with (again in my humble opinion) serious plot issues. Not to mention, they have no clear resolution in my mind and were at times extremely vague and yet I lapped them up like a kid with candy. Please… don’t ask me to explain. I don’t understand myself… It just is what it is. The end.


by Leah Cypess (blog, twitter)
Published April 27th, 2010
amazon, Barnes & Noble 
synopsis from goodreads
The Shifter is an immortal creature bound by an ancient spell to protect the kings of Samorna. When the realm is peaceful, she retreats to the Mistwood. But when she is needed she always comes.

Isabel remembers nothing. Nothing before the prince rode into her forest to take her back to the castle. Nothing about who she is supposed to be, or the powers she is supposed to have.

Prince Rokan needs Isabel to be his Shifter. He needs her ability to shift to animal form, to wind, to mist. He needs her lethal speed and superhuman strength. And he needs her loyaltyβ€”because without it, she may be his greatest threat.

Isabel knows that her prince is lying to her, but she can’t help wanting to protect him from the dangers and intrigues of the court . . . until a deadly truth shatters the bond between them.

Now Isabel faces a choice that threatens her loyalty, her heart . . . and everything she thought she knew.

some cutie thoughts:
There were some fundamental plot line issues with Mistwood (more on plot later, taters). It was almost as if the author had a bag of plot twists and would randomly pull one out at will adding it to her story. Toward the end of the novel, as things finally sorta started to take shape, I just stopped trying to figure out what the heck was going on and embraced the fact that nothing was going to make sense. Revelations were made, huge plot reveals explored, and yet, I just couldn’t find a rhyme or reason to them.

Isabel (the Shifter and main protagonist) was an extremely unstable character and I could never truly put my finger on who she was. I know her character was in turmoil, but there was just far too much “shifting” in her character traits. The only consistent personality trait was her conceit, which is eventually her undoing. This quality was both annoying and yet interesting to see play out. I think my main issue with Isabel was her lack of taking control of her life and standing up for what was right. Or maybe I just wanted her to learn to embrace her emotions even if they were human and messy. I got tired of her using the excuse that she had no choice in serving the king because at times it seemed she could have easily turned from him. I was never convinced she couldn’t do as she pleased or that she would be worthless without her ties to protecting the royal line. Also, the love story that was unfolding throughout the course of the novel was hastily thrown together within the final pages of the novel… at least… I think they were.

All the negative aside, the story is truly beautifully written and the setting is both unique and interesting. I just couldn’t put this novel down no matter how many times I rolled my eyes or just didn’t connect with the characters. Ms. Cypess is a fantastic writer. Her voice is strong. Her imagination is epic. And her characters are diverse and interesting, if not a little one-dimensional.

I think my main complaint was how without substance the reveals were and how at times the characters would have these “eureka moments” of understanding what was going on in the story, and yet I felt confused and left in the dark.

My Bewitched Rating:
In spite of it all, Ms. Cypess won me over with her beautiful voice and style.
by Leah Cypess (blog, twitter)
Published May 31st, 2011
received from HarperTeen for a fair review
synopsis from goodreads

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.

Let’s indulge cutie for a moment whilst she explains the obvious.
So, a story line is the A to B to C which eventually will get us to Z of a story. It’s everything that happens and then some, whilst a plot is the twists and turns that are thrown into the story which manipulate it or in other words, it’s all the drama and dum.dum.dum moments. The plot gives the story substance, meaning, a reason. It makes the story interesting and helps drive it toward point Z. See, college ain’t a complete waste of time.*rolls eyes at self*

cutie now gives ya her thoughts:
If Mistwood’s plot was confusing, Nightspell’s was nonexistent. There was a story, that’s for sure. It’s setting was mysterious and beautiful, however, I have no clue how it was the same setting as Mistwood (??). It’s back history was interesting if not muddy. And it’s characters were plentiful, powerful, and yet they really didn’t do anything. I think there were a few love stories… but I’m not sure. I think the world was made better…. but I’m not sure. I think…. I’m beyond confused.

A hundred pages into the story I had no clue where it was going, what the main goal of the characters were, nor did I understand why I was reading this tale. And by the end of the story I felt no resolution nor was I any closer to understanding who the antagonist was or what the premise of this story was.

Nightspell is told from the prospective of at least three characters who are all siblings: Varis (a know-it-all warrior who was constantly being taken by surprise), Callie (the youngest sibling who had been sent to Ghostland to marry the prince), and Darri (an extremely head-strong and stubborn character who wants to save her sister). Outside of Callie who grows somewhat, all the characters remained steadfast in both their convictions and prejudices. I didn’t feel there was any resolution to this story nor to their relationship issues. Added to this, each of the characters seemed to have love interests: Varis’ never made sense, Darri was muddy at best and I was sad it wasn’t more flushed out, and Callie’s assumed main squeeze was tossed away without acknowledgment.

But mostly, I’m just unsure what was going on. There were moments when characters would suddenly just get it but I never did. For example, Varis at one point confronts a secondary character Clarssie about her past and her family, but I’m still not sure what it all meant, it was so vague and without substance or explanation, and yet it was this huge moment in which they connected….  And the sudden ending, with so many loose ends left unexplained, just left me on edge.

However, despite all of this, the story was enjoyable (I know, right? I’m not sure how), if for no other reason then I was completely drawn into the setting and found the writer’s style both beautiful and enchanting. I have never felt so conflicted whilst reading a book. A part of me was completely in love with the story line, the potential for epic greatness, while the other part of me wanted to call up the author and ask her what the hell was going on!

My Bewitched Rating:
I was confused. I was charmed.
I was taken in without my consent.
But I’m still not sure what happened.
Sharing is caring, my friends!
Annnd sooooo
Because I have webernet fail,
Danny’s here to hold my hand and help set this all up.
Take it away, my love.

Danny: Of course we do a giveaway!
We have 2 awesome shiny hardcover copies for you to grab!
Please fill out the form below and get an extra entry 
for leaving some comment love for cutie 
on this post… 

Contest is open internationally and ends Friday 1st of July! 

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73 Responses to “Mistwood & Nightspell: reviews & giveaway”

  1. April X

    Great reviews, I've heard mixed things about this book but I've been wanting to read it for a while πŸ™‚ Thanks for the giveaway πŸ™‚

    Reply »

  2. cutie

    If you enjoy YA paranormal, you should definitely give it a go. The premise is interesting, the story is very imaginative, and they are beautiful written (tone, voice, and style wise). I just want to put out there that I am completely conflicted, I would hate for someone to dislike these books (and probably rightfully so) and then be upset at me! Ya know?!

    GOOD LUCK!!!!

    Reply »

  3. cutie

    Yeah, I had seen mixed reviews as well. I checked out a bunch after I had finished reading the books and realized I hadn't gone crazy (well… gone crazier! har har har. I'z funny.).

    GOOD LUCK!!!

    Reply »

  4. cutie

    I am still not sure if I had fun reading them!? *headdesk* Honestly, I am very confused. And I hate to admit that, cause it just makes me sound so silly, but that's where I'm at.

    However, I think they are worth checking out, just due to the authors writing style and imagination.


    Reply »

  5. cutie

    I was just never sure what these stories were driving toward, and being that I'm fresh out of a few writing classes, it just grated on me. I have the pretentious. *winks*


    Reply »

  6. Najela

    That's how I felt about Mistwood. When I read it, I wasn't sure I liked fantasy as much as I said I did, but then I realized that this book is just strange. I was in love with the writing, but everything else was frankly… well, confusing, like you said.The writing was the only saving grace and it seems like it would be the same case for the other.

    Reply »

  7. Dee Bibb

    I really enjoyed hearing that someone else can really not connect with a story but continue to read because they enjoy the strength of the writer or setting.

    I haven't read either of these and really appreciate the opportunity to enter to win.

    Thank you!!!!

    Reply »

  8. I really enjoyed Mistwood, although I did find the beginning confusing, especially as Isabel is somewhat of an 'unreliable narrator' at first. I'd love to have my own copy though (and Nightspell, which I haven't read yet!), thanks for the giveaway! πŸ˜€

    Reply »

  9. cutie

    THANK YOU for sharing that! Truly, I thought I was losing my flippin' mind! She really is a great writer but her skills of a plotter and reveal-er do so suffer.


    Reply »

  10. cutie

    Nightspell is even more confusing and yet the setting and "court intrigue" is even more epic. If you enjoyed Mistwood even slightly, definitely pick it up! Oh and GOOD LUCK!

    Reply »

  11. cutie

    And I appreciated your honesty! Truly, in all honesty, I'm not sure I would have read Nightspell if this review/giveaway had been in the works. Unfortunately, with so many books out there, one must be sorta cut throat about the selection process. I'm not sure I'll be picking up another Cypess book in the future, I definitely won't be buying one, but I am glad I read these just to get a taste of her writing. blah blah blah. Rambling over and out!

    Reply »

  12. hrose2931

    The cover of Nightspell looks like something out of Arabian Nights and I so wanted to read it. But hmm. I love your line "I wanted to call up the author and ask her what the hell was going on!" Made me laugh! Maybe you could have her on the blog to explain things??? Might be awkward. Might need to be a private conversation. I loved your super honest review. I think you did a great job of explaining exactly how you felt!

    My recent post Luminous Summer Grand Prize Giveaway

    Reply »

  13. Denise Z

    I understand just what you mean by saying there were obvious flaws, but in spite of this you really enjoyed it. I have read a few of those myself πŸ™‚ Enjoyment of fiction is so subjective that sometimes expressing yourself is just difficult. Thank you for sharing today and for the lovely giveaway opportunity. I have been following these books and really would like to read them.

    Reply »

  14. Michaela Cini

    thx for the giveaway and for making it international :)) can't wait to read these books πŸ™‚
    email : michaela_cini(AT)rocketmail(DOT)com

    Reply »

  15. jwitt33

    I've felt the same way before when reading a book: I feel compelled to keep reading even when I am confused and have a lot of questions! I'm glad you liked it, and I would love to read it, too:)
    Thanks for the great giveaway!

    Reply »

  16. I've honestly not heard much about these books so your review is all that I'm really going on. Its really too bad that the plot lines were so confusing, I still think that I would like to read them to see for myself what is going on! Thanks for hosting a giveaway!

    Reply »

  17. vancie917

    I came here because I have a library copy of Nightspell and wondered if I could read this one not having read the first. Its seems that's a yes and your review of these two books had me laughing. I believe I'll give it a shot and I'll definitely be back for more fun with your blog.

    Reply »

  18. aloveforbooks

    Thanks for the review! Your rating makes me kind of cautious though! But who doesn't want a giveaway? I sure do want giveaways, especially international ones! Thanks!

    Reply »

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