Geist (Book of the Order #1) by Philippa Ballantine
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?
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I picked up a copy of Geist while browsing in a local bookstore. I was thoroughly hooked by the amazing cover art by Jason Chan and the intriguing premise.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect with Geist since I’d never heard of Philippa Ballantine. I was thrilled with the book, though. Absolutely thrilled! The book mythology was really interesting — Deacons and geists and undead possession — and I loved the idea of Actives and Sensitives, and the occasional pinch of steampunk. But my favourite thing by far was how the relationship between Actives and Sensitives is symbiotic but not co-dependent — a really interesting magical connection that gets explored in a lovely, deep way over the course of the novel. The characters are also really great. Sorcha’s a powerful Active and this prickly, pent-up woman whose depth is revealed over the course of the novel. Her new partner, Merrick, is also a rich character, with an interesting past and lots of magical power of his own (of the Sensitive variety). The other main character, Raed, is a great foil for the two Deacons. His interactions with Sorcha are a lot of fun and he and his crew add some lighter moments to the story.
I can’t wait to read Spectyr!