Kara's Reviews > Geist

Geist by Philippa Ballantine
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Aug 23, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy, action-adventure, favorites, ghosts-shades-geists, active-magic, i-own-it, strong-females
Read from July 24 to August 03, 2011 — I own a copy

First off, I don't think I write good enough reviews to do this book justice, so I highly recommend you just read it.

Sometimes you just connect with a book. Maybe it's the timing, the setting, the author, your life cycles, etc., but I connected with this book. After giving Phoenix Rising a hands down 5 star rating, I had to check out more of Ballantine's work, and Geist suited my preferred genre for unique high fantasy novels. So I was expecting something good - which usually is a surefire way to set myself up for a disappointment. I was very pleasantly surprised when I enjoyed this novel even more.

I like the characters. Sorcha is strong, smart, and determined, but she's not cold. Raed seems like a man I would fall in love with myself, kind, noble, and tortured. (view spoiler) Merrik, a powerful unknown with a history that ties him to the past, the land, and the problem. There are others, all of who played important roles and were well developed.

I liked the plot. No - saving the day from evil of another realm is not a new theme, but the way it's presented here was very enjoyable. I like the use of "Geists" as the evil we fight, and how their known behavior turns chaotic - our characters were always dealing with something unprecedented, and had to work together in very creative ways to solve problems and succeed in their missions. There wasn't a whole lot of "I saw that coming" in this book.

I also found myself curious about the history of the land and the background of the Order, both native and new. (On this note I will mention that I have started listening to the Chronicles of the Order podcasts, I'm only 1 down, but it was very good, and I'm hopeful the others will be as well - and they DO apparently address the histories that came before the book.) Well developed world intricately laced with true mythic origins... (view spoiler)

I loved the magic system. The pairing of an active and a sensitive was a really unique and well thought-out idea. Basically, the Order works in pairs, an active and a sensitive. The active gets gauntlets and bright colorful displays of active magic which they use to control or vanquish giests. The sensitive wears a strop (when necessary) and is able to "see" into the other realm, and identify what type of geist the active is dealing with. Without one, the other fails.
The actives' gauntlets has 7 runes, and the sensitive's strop has 7 different runes. Together, two people must work as partners to defeat the constant threat from geists. They must rely on each other wholly and implicitly. They are "bonded" to one another, an idea that brings new levels of complexity to the plot as the story progresses.

What else to say? The book was a page turner. Plenty of action and mysteries to unravel. Very little in the way of regants/rulers/monarchs and throne politics involved, (which was nice). A bit of romance, that actually fit in where it should. Very good and easy to read writing style. If I had just finished the book, I would probably give more details, but as it is, I just remember that I absolutely loved it, and I'm currently happy to know that book 2, Spectyr is on it's way to my mailbox.
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Reading Progress

07/24 page 20
7.0% "Read the first chapter last night before bed, which was awesome. Enjoyed the second chapter with my dinner at work, and I like this book. Ori"
07/30 page 238
78.0% "End of Ch. 20. I freakin LOVE this book. Must order the next..."
05/26 marked as: read
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Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-3 of 3) </span> <span class="smallText">(3 new)</span>

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Kara Nicki wrote: "You don't give yourself enough credit in that first paragraph -- it turned out to be a great review, and I'm bumping this up my TBR. :)"

lol. Thanks! =) You'll enjoy, and I'd love to chat it over with you.


message 2: by Donna (new)

Donna Great review. I agree with Nicki that you do not give yourself enough credit, I understand that though because I often feel the same, especially when I feel strongly about a book. I started Geist and lost interest and put it down, possibly one of those situations when it was the right book/wrong time. Your review makes me want to pick it back up again.


Kara Thanks Donna. I often find your reviews very helpful, so I'm glad this has you re-thinking Geist. Just wait until you are ready... I know book three is set to come out, but I'm not sure if there will be more after that or not.
The cover art won an award. Can't remember the name, but I can understand why.


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