I picked up Nightspell by Leah Cypess 1. Because it had a pretty cover; 2. It was available for immediate download--it was late, I had a free moment, and needed something to read (I am SUCH the intellectual when it comes to book choices). I liked this book, but was surprised that so much of it was about the politicking of the royal court of Ghostland. Since everyone lives forever as ghosts, there are lots of layers of intrigue and relationships that shape the story. The action parts were the best part, but I was intrigued AND repulsed by the politics of this world, which I think is exactly what Cypess wants.
Originality: 8. A country of ghosts is not something you see everyday. The hint of the smell of decay behind perfume, the attempts to pretend life still exists were creepy and made Ghostland exotic in a way that drew you in.
Absurdity: 2. This was a bit creepy, but I did not find it ridiculous at all. It is fantasy, you just need to roll with it. I find I more willingly accept fantasy books than the “wake up one day and realize there is a paranormal world out there and you are crucially important to it” story line.
Level of Paranormal Romance: 3. The big story here is not really about Prince Kestin and Darri (although the prince is a rather well-drawn character, he has his flaws but is kind and has definitely learned from past mistakes in love. This is important since that past love literally haunts him. Since it is a country of ghosts. Ouch). The rather small potential for romance is not as important as Darri’s relationship with her sister.
Level of Harry-Potter-ness: 6. The world-building here is detailed and atmospheric. And the ending? Surprisingly bittersweet.
If you want a book that functions as a stand-alone, check this one out. I would have liked to spend more time in this world.