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Ghosts in the Yew

(Vesteal Series #1)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  136 ratings  ·  38 reviews
A tale of violent magic, intrigue, and statecraft, the Vesteal Series is the story of four who are banished beyond the edge of the map to a land of gnarled forests, ancient magic,and the site of a terrible murder. Their struggles to survive will put them at odds with their families, their nation, and the very powers that shaped the world.
Paperback, 2, 540 pages
Published March 1st 2018 by Rook Creek Books (first published June 3rd 2011)
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Cheri Rice
May 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having read epic fantasy before, I was worried that I would find this book to be cliche. That is far from the case. Mr. Hausladen approaches the book from an economics/resource angle. Some authors seem to stumble over why countries are waring or sacrifice the background structure. Mr. Hausladen creates a world where the characters are more at the mercy of their circumstances than other authors I've read, which seems to ring truer to the human condition.

It didn't take me long to identify with the
Nov 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

“Ghosts in the Yew” tells the story of Prince Barok, one of the many Yentif princes, his washerwoman fresh from the Dagoda school, Dia, a hardend Hemari soldier addicted to alcohol, Leger, and Prince Barok’s nightguard, Geart, who are banished from the palace and the capital for crimes they didn’t commit. We get to follow their struggle to survive and their rise to power.

If you like your books fast-paced and action-packed all the way through, you might str
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Do not think for a second that the length of time if took for me to finish this book reflects how good a read it is, how well written it is, how compelling the characters are or how engaging the narrative is. It is in fact, a reflection of how good a book this is that it took me so long to finish. Like spanish moss or ivy, Ghosts in the Yew grows slowly at first but before you know it you are enveloped into a world with so much beauty and terror that it deserves to be read with an attention to t ...more
Feb 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2015
This was a fun read. I love that the heroes are engaged in building community, in contrast to so many fantasy novels that focus on the hero learning to stand alone, despite the cast of thousands supporting him. Hausladen has a definite knack for weaving together all of the many character motivations and plotlines of his epic. The suspense and pacing never lagged, plot twists were surprising but logical, and new information appeared in a nicely arranged trail of breadcrumbs. The books wraps up in ...more
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to say I am extremely impressed by Mr Hausladen's writing. It is hard to believe this is his first book; the richness and complexity of the story and characters is like a fine Cabernet on the palate. The characters are compelling and very human; they are people you want to love, hate, and pity.

This is not your typical fantasy novel where the author concentrates and relies too heavily on action and magical outcomes. While Ghosts in the Yew is action filled and magical, Mr Hausladen has ob
Matthew Luepke
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully developed world and backstory. Rich and wonderful characters drive this epic tale. Uniquely told from the first person perspective of all four of the main characters, Ghosts gives the reader access to the intermost thoughts of all of the main characters.
A must read for any lover of high fantasy.
May 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vivid world building, interesting plot, and a gorgeous book ( want to own a copy you can hold, not an ecopy). If you liked Jordan's "Wheel of Time" books I think you will like this one as well. Looking forward to the next one! ...more
Ophelia Julien
Dec 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do not make the mistake that I did by starting to read Blake Hausladen’s Ghosts in the Yew without enough time to finish the book in one large satisfying bite, or at least in consistent tasty nibbles on a daily basis. Though the set-up takes a little time, and rightfully so since this is a complex tale told from the points of view of four main characters, once the story begins to unreel there is no option of putting the book down.

The story is set in the unhappy and decaying kingdom of Zoviya. T
Apr 18, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: doorstopper fans, community builders
Recommended to Skjam! by: Blake Hausladen
I bought this book directly from the author, who markets it by going around to conventions in person. He’s hoping that by the time he reaches the third or fourth book in the series, he’ll thus have an inbuilt audience. I will say that it seems to have done well at getting readers to actually review the book on Goodreads. Since it’s a first novel, I’m going to be a bit more nitpicky than I otherwise might.

When political scheming by Prince Barok of the Zoviyan Empire against his possibly more evil
Feb 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure Fantasy is a genre I like. That said this book kept me involved and by the 1st third I had to know how it ended. It builds brilliantly. I'm looking for book 2 now ...more
Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full disclosure: I met Blake at a con and purchased this book from him in person. He is a FB friend. I haven't bothered to review the other books I've rated so far on Goodreads, but because Blake is a new author who is establishing an audience, I thought I should give my honest assessment of his work.

Ghosts in the Yew is a strong first novel. Blake excels at world-building, and his book is so detailed in so many areas that he either conducted an astounding amount of research for this book, or he
Michael S.
It started out fairly interesting, then got less interesting---then got really good for a couple of chapters...then got less and less interesting and more boring. (I gave it about 500 pages!)
Too much attention to uninteresting details and not enough background/world-building for me. Plus some things were not very believable. May give this one another try some day but it's not likely.
Dangiras Venckus
Very good and original story. Loved the characters, their progression and the way they were written - actions and decisions never felt like they were forced or contrived to suite the plot.

But what I loved the most was the economical view of building up the village basically from nothing - all the political and economical challenges this entails were rather fascinating.

It is a shame there's only one audiobook for the first book and no releases for the remaining two yet. And while the quality of t
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a good book and a good debut.
It's an epic fantasy, full of twists and turns, fast paced and well written.
The world building if good, the cast of characters interesting and the plot was engaging and fascinating.
I look forward to reading the next installment in this series.
Highly recommended
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC
Magentarain VI
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book 1 as any. But the only thing I didn't quite like was the mind control ...more
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reread, reddit-recs, dnf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shane Jardine
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have decided that when everyone you meet at a convention is telling you to meet this author and to read his book that you should definitely listen to them. I was worried that they had set the bar just a little too high with everything they had said about it, but I'm glad I was not disappointed in the least. I think Blake Hausladen is going to be an author to keep an eye on, his first book Ghosts in the Yew was everything people told me it would be and more. It has been weeks since I finished i ...more
Ron Monge
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was be disingenuous of me to give you a review of this book that talks about world building or pacing or characterization because I honestly don't know what is entailed in the successful implementation of those things. I'm not a reader. Well, that's not entirely accurate. I used to read a lot of sci-fi. Ender's Game is still my favorite book.

So if you're like me, you probably looked at Ghosts in the Yew and said, "Oh, hell no!" It's intimidating at first glance. And second glance. And the tim
Sep 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of book one of the Vesteal Series: Ghosts in the Yew for free through Goodreads First Reads.

The beginning of this book, about a quarter of it, moves slowly and may be difficult for some readers to make it past. It is that part of the book where the characters are introduced and we get to know them. After getting past that section of the book the story line picks up and it is hard to put down. The main characters are Yentif prince, Prince Barok, washer woman, Dia, a Hemari soldi
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was duly impressed by this author's fine craftsmanship, which surprised me because I generally do not read (or like) historical fiction or fantasy, or ghost stories, but this is not your typical ghost story, fantasy or historical fiction. His book is none of these - it defies genre, so I think it will reach a wider audience. I got into the characters and lost myself in this world, despite thinking otherwise when the book arrived at my house, and it was a 600-page behemoth. (I could not discern ...more
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author does a great job with world building in this novel. I was impressed with the attention to detail and the thought the author put into creating the religions, traditions and history of the place.

Each chapter is written from the perspective of a different protaganist, and he does a great job in individualizing each character so that it moves smoothly from one perspective to the next. I think the character Geart was the weakest of the bunch though, because his character goes through such
Dec 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
This is a fun book to read! It's well written and has a great plot.

Even though I felt it was a little difficult to get into at the beginning, overall, I absolutely loved it. It has a big beautiful world, that has so many places I would love to explore. The characters were all interesting, and I suspect the author might have multiple-personality-disorder by the way he managed to capture all their voices. The mythology behind the book was beautifully done. The plot was exciting. I liked the idea o
Natasha Peters
Dec 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The characters and world created in "Ghosts in the Yew" are complex and multifaceted. If you want to be drawn into a story where you care about the characters, where you cannot tell what is going to happen next, then you need to buy this book.

Being a fan of fantasy series, I was very impressed by this first offering from Mr. Hausladen. Each chapter draws you further and further into the world of Zoviya, a world being bled dry by the ruling elite. The soldier, the drunk, the spoiled prince, and t
Sam Wertime
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ghosts in the Yew, the initial effort from author Blake Hausladen, is a satisfying tale of the rebirth of a lost and forgotten nation. It clearly belongs in the fantasy genre, but has elements that appeal to all readers including romance, mystery, and redemption. The author has clearly done his research in writing this book, and I was very impressed with his description of the rebuilding of the nation of Enhedu. Mostly though, he has created characters who go through harrowing ordeals that you l ...more
Ruby Chase
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is an excellent read, with an intriguing plot and an interesting way of unfolding the story. Each chapter is written from the perspective one of the four main characters so the reader can view the events unfolding from different angles, which is very exciting.

It is quite obvious a lot of research went into this story, and the writer draws you into the events as the main characters deal with their banishment. Even the plot twists and turns that you don't want to like end up being a cle
Kate Justic
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lifelike new world written from the point of view of many of the major characters. At a time when the balance of power is shifting, corruption dominates major cities, a prince learns that earning his peoples trust is more important than being handed everything, a warrior learns that he can overcome the horrors and hardships of military life, a village comes together to make a new life of prosperity and fights to keep what they have created.

Blake has developed a diverse world full of well devel
David Beatty
Nov 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to be present throughout the creative process of this novel. I've read a great amount of fantasy fiction, some good, some not good, some great. Blakes work here verges on greatness. The character development is strong, and like most great fantasy worlds, their individual developments continue to drive your interest even as they mesh and carry on the entire story, which is nothing less than a story of nation building, told in a very personal and human touch.
Read this book, it
Feb 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won't give a long synopsis of the book, as other reviewers have covered it well.

This is a long book, and the set-up took a while for me to get into, but once I knew where the story was headed, I was hooked. I enjoyed the characters, and the changing perspective between four characters made for a richer and more detailed story. The plot was intricate, and I found myself smiling at how cleverly things were done several times. Now I'm looking forward to the second book.

I know the author, but I d
Jim Burnham
Nov 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great story told from the perspective of the main characters. At first I wasn't sure about the telling of a story from the perspective of the characters. I like to experience the world that an author creates and I thought the perspective would limit my enjoyment of the world, but the author delivered. A great amount of detail was revealed and it fit in perfectly with the story and the characters. I understand there is to be a sequel and I am looking forward to it. ...more
Kyle Clark
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ghosts in the Yew easily became one of my favorite books. I can't believe how attached to this book I was! I work 3rd shift at a hotel and have plenty of reading time, and i must say getting paid $9.00 an hour to read this book was the best time I ever had! Blake Hausladen takes you on a journey threw distant lands, romance, action, comedy, suspense,and mystery. The Vesteal series will easily be on of your favorites in your collection. ...more
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​Armed with an English degree from Ripon College and an MBA from Chicago’s Stuart School of Business, Blake has thrived for over two decades in the shadowed back-office realms of the financial industry.

After gradate school and a seven year run as Chief Compliance Officer for a Chicago-based hedge fund, Blake was a founding member of two high-tech startup firms that specialized in the surveillance

Other books in the series

Vesteal Series (3 books)
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