Author: Philippa Ballantine
Release Date:October 26th, 2010 (originally September 29th, 2010)
Pages: 293 (Paperback)
Genre: Fantasy | Romance | Paranormal
Series: Book Of The Order #1
Read: from August 25 to 29, 2012
Source & Shelf: Purchase | Own
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?
*This review might contain spoilers*
To be honest, it pains me not being able to give this books 5 cups but, unfortunately, my feelings are a bit in a mess. I liked it but I didn’t loved it, which was what I was expecting. But, don’t you go around thinking that this review means it was a bad reading, because it wasn’t. If you’ve noticed, I’ve awarded this book 3,5 cups which means it’s labelled I-liked-it-very-much-but-didn’t-loved-it-deeply. This book didn’t disappointed me but neither did it took my breath away.
First things first: the reason I bought this was the cover. The picture by Jason Chan had me literally drooling over my keyboard and it was the main reason I’ve chosen this book over the thousands I have on my never ending wishlist. Of course that after falling hard for the cover, the plot also helped.
Philippa Ballantine‘s Geist was an exhilarating read and I’m looking forward to read the next volumes. I’ve never read anything like this before, this being quite my first steampunk book, even though the book isn’t raw steampunk but very close to the genre.
The beginning felt a bit rushed, confusing me with all the straightforward action. I got inside this new world hunted by these ghosts called Geists and this Order of Deacons whose job is to rid the world of them and it didn’t stop. I barely had time to absorb what was going on around me when Ballantine begun with the Actives and the Sensitives and the Vortex and the Gauntlets and the Strop…
Jeez, I only realised half of it at the middle of the book.
Sorcha Faris, the protagonist, is the type of woman we all would love to be: sensual, independent, strong and smart. When we fist met her, she’s a bad-ass… a red-haired bad-ass. However, she’s also complicated. She’s the most powerful Deacon of the Order, an Active (whose job is to cast out the Geists from this world) who is not afraid of a good challenge. And she knows she’s good. But, as the story unfolds, her personality shifts and what she thought was for granted, crumbles down around her.
Her relationship with her husband (and previous partner) is cooling down which makes her seek refuge in the arms of Raed, the supposed heir to throne of her Emperor. She’s thrust into a new partnership with Merrick Chambers and their mission is going to test her/their abilities as a Deacon, human and woman in a village where nothing is what it seems. The red-haired bad-ass soon becomes quite vulnerable.
Don’t you even dare think I didn’t like her (despite the flaws you came to find out). She’s not the typical chosen-one-teenager in the story. She’s a grown-up woman, married and with a career. She’s quite the idol – until she messes things up.
Merrick Chambers is Sorcha’s new partner fresh out of the novitiate. He’s a Sensitive (whose job is to be see and sense the Geists in this world) who still haven’t tasted the world and his own powers. Let’s say he was thrown to the sharks in his first attempt in diving.
There’s quite a lot of his background story to figure out which didn’t allow me to know his true and deep character. He grows with the story and becomes aware that not everything is roses.
Here’s a character that deserves more development. Perhaps that’ll happen in the rest of the books.
His “romance” with Nynnia (a weird character still confusing me) sounded too rushed. Basically, as soon as he sees her, it’s love at first sight. Maybe the author created such a thing to serve as a difference with Sorcha and Raed’s love? I’ll be waiting for Merrick to find a person ’cause he sure deserves it after all he’s been through – he was the character that suffered the most and who nearly died.
The Pretender Raed Syndar Rossin wasn’t my favourite character – a treat that surprised me.
You all know I normally fall for the strong and main male character with whom the heroin falls in love with. But, surprisingly, in this book that’s not the case. I blame Merrick and his Sensitiveness.
But Raed was a character that intrigued me since I haven’t fully understand neither his role in – mega spoiler here – the Bond nor his Curse. I mean, I sure did get the basis of it but I believe I haven’t grasp it all. And, as Merrick, his background story has some holes in it, things still need to be said. All of this makes him rather mysterious.
His Curse was also slightly strange and I still didn’t fully realise its dimension. I thought, when I first saw the cover and read the synopsis, his Curse was one of those like a werewolf, it would only come at night or something. But it’s all connected to the Geists and the changing world and, who knows, a lot more.
His attraction to Sorcha, in the beginning of their “acquaintance” – happened quite fast (not as much as Merrick’s) and I thought it had to do with the creature inside him – which in my mind looked more like Beast from Beauty and the Beast than a lion as in the cover.
The writing was at some moments a bit difficult for me to follow. I had to re-read some sentences in order to understand what was going on. And that sometimes makes the action slow down. And that fact that I had a hard time understand the difference between the Actives and the Sensitives and their power, turned it even more slow. However, as soon as I had grasp the meaning and the rush of it, it was quite obvious what was happening.
I felt that there was something missing. The world that Ballantine created was known between characters but to us, readers, we get a bit lost in it. I would say that a map would help me understand the magnitude of the world. And a little bit of its history wasn’t a bad idea.
The background story of some characters – as I’ve mentioned before – are just presented and not developed. I hope the writer will explain them in the continuations. Or else I’ll be extremely frustrated.
Nevertheless, I liked this book, perhaps not as much as I was hoping but still good and entertaining reading. I will definitely keep following this series now that I found out there’s going to be a fourth book.
Plus, I’m still hoping to have Merrick finding a proper girl for himself because he deserves it very badly.