by Philippa Ballantine
Published Oct 2010 by ACE
Between the living and the dead is the Order of the Deacons, protectors of the Empire, guardians against possession, sentinels enlisted to ward off the malevolent haunting of the geists…
Among the most powerful of the Order is Sorcha, now thrust into partnership with the novice Deacon, Merrick Chambers. They have been dispatched to the isolated village of Ulrich to aide the Priory with a surge of violent geist activity. With them is Raed Rossin, Pretender to the throne that Sorcha is sworn to protect, and bearer of a terrible curse.
But what greets them in the strange settlement is something far more predatory and more horrifying than any mere haunting. And as she uncovers a tradition of twisted rituals passed down through the dark reaches of history, Sorcha will be forced to reconsider everything she thinks she knows.
And if she makes it out of Ulrich alive, what in Hell is she returning to? (via Goodreads)
I don’t pretend to be an expert of the Fantasy genre. To be honest, I’ve leaned more towards Science Fiction and Horror most of my adult reading life. But in the last year I’ve felt a calling to read more Fantasy and I’ve have not been disappointed. Fantasy has changed since I read The Lord of the Rings as a teenager. Sure, there are still plenty of books that read like The Fellowship of the Ring, but more and more are moving in a new direction. Geist is a superb example of this change. Instead of laying the world out before the reader in huge gulps, Ballantine immerses you right in the middle of the conflict. Any backstory warranted, builds inconspicuously in the background. Everything is experienced in time with the story. You feel as if you are right there along side Sorcha and Merrick as they discover origin of the attacks in Ulrich. Geist binds the reader to the characters in a way I have never experienced. It’s a hook from which you can’t break free, your own personal geist!
When I first began reading I had a moment of concern. Deacon Sorcha Faris was not what I expected. She was abrasive, sometimes cruel and smoked cigars! Err… But like most people we meet in life there is another side we never see, an untold story to their lives we are not privy to. As I read and came to know her and understand her, she changed before my eyes. The abrasiveness transformed into an intelligent and sometimes snarky woman, with a heart. The character who started out as my least favorite became the viewpoint I only wanted to read! The same could be said of the other characters, Merrick and Raed. They came from different backgrounds and lives, were thrust together and grew beyond ordinary limits. When I think of what Ballantine achieved – the world, the story, the characters, the writing devices – it blows my mind.
Ballantine not only weaved a perfect magical world, she filled it with complex characters and monsters you might find in an Urban Fantasy novel. It deserves 5 stars for originality, 5 stars for plot, and 5 stars for characters who start off a bit rough but end up shining like diamonds. These things combined make it one of the top Fantasy books I’ve read this year!
Spectyr can’t get here fast enough.