A Book of the Order
by Philippa Ballantine
Publisher: Ace, a division of Penguin Book Group
Publish Date: October 26, 2010
Genre: Fantasy/ Paranormal Fantasy
Source: Personal Paperback Copy
My Rating: **** 4 of 5 stars
Blurb from Back Cover:
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 Faris, 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?
Geist is attention grabbing right from the start. This story is full of action, intrigue, and is never boring. The world created in Geist is exceptional. It is a very fantasy world, full of magical fighting and otherworldly creatures. The otherworldly creatures are unique though, no vampires or traditional witches grace the pages of geist. The otherworldly creatures are called geists, and are undead monsters, almost demon or ghost-like that can possess people and incite violence. The concept of The Order is also quite interesting. It seems loosely based on old religious structure, however religion is irrelevant in this book. The deacons are what seem to be the paranormal equivalent of mages, with their ability to use runes and wield various powers. While complex, I came to understand and appreciate the world structure pretty quickly.
I enjoyed the characters in Geist. Deacon Sorcha Faris is a very interesting woman. She is tough as nails, and a definite leader, but as the story progressed, her softer side showed on occasion. I have to hand it to Ms. Ballantine for creating a world where women are very equal to men. Women are deacons, commanders, and leaders in their own right. For a story set in a fantasy land where the time period is feudal in nature, seeing women as equals was unexpected and very welcome. It was good to see the characters adapt and change along with the story. Misconceptions and fears were challenged and overcome. As for Raed Rossin, the sort-of shape shifter, I loved this character. I enjoyed how the nature of the shape-shifter and the history of the Rossin was quite original.
Geist presents an entirely new genre that surpasses traditional fantasy by adding in a bit of the paranormal element and a little romance along the way. This book is a successful paranormal fantasy, which I truly enjoyed. If you are a fantasy or paranormal fan, I would recommend giving this book a try. Book 2, Spectyr releases in June, and I am looking forward to reading and reviewing this next installment.
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