Book Review: Geist by Philippa Ballantine

Title: Geist (A Book of the Order)
Author: Philippa Ballantine
Publisher: Ace Books
Genre: Dark Fantasy

As any reader of this blog knows, I am a big fan of Philippa Ballantine’s books. Her stories have never failed to entertain me. I have reviewed several of her stories in podcast form and the very first post ever written on this blog was a recommendation of her wonderful story Weather Child. When Ms. Ballantine announced she had sold two of her stories to Ace Books, I of course knew immediately both stories would end up being on my bookshelf. The first of those two stories, Geist, was released last week. I wasted little time in purchasing my copy at the local B&N and rapidly devoured it.

It should be obvious to all that I had high expectations going in and that, all ready being a fan of the author, I might be in a forgiving mood and cover any inadequacies of the story with gushing enthusiasm. So, what are my thoughts?

I’m happy to report that I don’t think there were any plot holes and no need for forgiveness. Ms. Ballantine has crafted a superior tale in Geist and made me crave an accelerated release of the sequel.

As has been stated before, I am extremely character driven. World building seems to have turned into the rage these days. Many authors spend so much time creating the universe the characters live in, the forget to make those same characters breath.

For me, this is obvious in stories like (prepare for blasphemy) Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. After reading all but the last book of the series, I realized I had no desire to complete them because while the world lived and breathed, the characters hadn’t developed sufficiently to keep me interested beyond the second or third book.

Ms. Ballantine does create a firm mythos that encapsulates the motivations driving her characters towards their objectives. However, she does this whilst keeping the focus on the characters and letting the mythos build along the way. This is a lesson I think many writers need to learn.

Ms. Ballantine’s characters are worth knowing. ┬áHer strong female lead is unique. Sorcha Faris is a strong, powerful, mature, attractive woman. She is direct, almost brutally blunt at times. She enjoys a good cigar and is truthful with herself. She is easily the driving character in the story and she exudes potential development in subsequent stories. She might not be the easiest person to know, but she would be someone that would be worth that effort.

Raed Rossin enters the story relatively early on (the second chapter) but remains outside of the main storyline, moving parallel, for the first part. Raed is a member of the once ruling family, now a sea nomad doing his best to stay alive. He hides his inner qualities behind a course (though not unrefined) exterior. He effortlessly claims loyalty from those that follow him. He is a prince among men and a pirate at heart.

Merrick Chambers completes the starring cast. He is a young but powerful idealist partnered, against their wishes, with Sorcha. Along the way they learn to trust and rely on one another. It is neither an easy or enjoyable path for them at times, but it does make for a very good story.

Geist is much more than another quest fantasy. Geist has elements of fantasy, horror and romance all rolled into one action packed adventure spanning continents where loyalties are called into question, rogues can be heros and heros can be idealists.

At a purchase price of under $8 US, this is a story you shouldn’t hesitate in buying. This book begs you to lock the doors, get comfortable in your favorite chair, turn down the lights and read. I encourage you to do the same. You won’t be disappointed.

Comment Pages

There are 2 Comments to "Book Review: Geist by Philippa Ballantine"

  • Jeffrey Hite says:

    I didn’t think it was possible for me to want to read this book any more than I already do. I am only waiting for payday to get it.

    Thank you Odin you did a wonderful review as I have come to expect from you. good or bad, your reviews are always fair and honest. It is great to have someone like you that I can come to when I am looking for a fair review.

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