Peejay Who Once Was Minsma's Reviews > Ghostland

Ghostland by Jory Strong
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May 31, 09

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Read in May, 2009

Jory Strong has put a great deal of time and thought into the worldbuilding of Ghostland. It shows on each and every page: a post-apocalyptic Oakland ruled by corrupt Churchmen, guardsmen, and the privileged rich. Magic workers are tolerated, but they're ghettoized into the "red zone" part of the city and often used on the sly by the power elite. She does a good job of showing us this familiar but unfamiliar world.

Aisling, a young shamaness orphan who grew up on a farm in San Joaquin, has been used to hiding her magic nature from her less tolerant country neighbors. She is unwillingly recruited by the Church and brought to Oakland in order to solve the mystery of the disappearance of a important man's mistress. This draws her into conflict with Zurael, a powerful Djinn prince whom she unwittingly summons to do her bidding. This kind of summoning power is dangerous to the Djinn and so Zurael vows to kill her, but not before she can help him solve another mystery concerning those who have taken possession of an archive of black magic and are using it in dark rituals. They band together to solve their separate mysteries, and grow much closer than either of them thinks is wise.

I found the narrative to be compelling and interesting. The characters are a bit generic, but not so much that it bothered me. Mostly, I was a happy little clam reading this book.

Except for the sex scenes.

I'm not at all prudish when it comes to sex writing. Crude words to describe anatomy don't bother me, explicitness doesn't bother me, a little BDSM—no problem. So those things weren't what felt off to me. I guess it's because these scenes seem to lack the pizzazz and presence of the rest of the writing. There are a lot of throbbing ****s and slick ****s here, but I got more of a feel of "insert plug A into sprocket B" then anything erotic. And there were a number of scenes! Not a problem with that, either, if they are justified. Character-wise, I suppose they are, because they built on he obsession the two main characters have with one another, reinforced their bonding, and etc. But I did wind up skim reading them towards the end.

So, great story—good enough that I'd buy a sequel as I'm sure there will be one—but curiously flat sex scenes.
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