Disclaimer: New readers: This book does not stand alone, at all.
That said, I'm not sure how useful it was to have read the first book. The politics didn't really come hugely into play in this book; most of it was centered around Chandra and her guilt and her two men.
Part of my problem is there's this assumption of love between the main characters. However, the first book wasn't about these characters, it was about another triad, with some hints at what was going on with Chandra, but nothing fully fledged.
So now we have three people who are ostensibly in love with each other who are all separately dealing with grief and guilt in their own ways and the resulting emotional quagmire.
Except -- there was quite a lot of nookie going on without the required amount of emotional and character development for what was happening. At least not for this reader.
It also didn't help that there was a lot of stuff going on. There was the politics angle with the dystopian ex-government, the politics of her new home, the politics of the relationship between her and her two men, the question of life after death, philosophical questions about medical science, and in the end yet more plot twists were thrown into the pool. It's not so much that the pool was muddy, but the entire thing felt more like quicksand than not.
For what it's worth, the world is interesting, the politics are intriguing, the concepts are fascinating, but Phantom Desire didn't really do it for me.
Mind traveler Chandra Lamar is on the run, not only from her post-catastrophic dystopian government but from a past she can’t remember. A psychic vision pushes her to recall her purpose for being, but it’s a ghost that awakens her desires for a life she fears she’ll never have. Both push her to remember the past because it threatens what she wants in the now; the Nodin men.
Andonis Nodin battles to accept his failures. The heavy burden nearly breaks him when he can’t save a loved one from the grim reaper’s grip and questions his desire for Chandra, the woman he blames for the death around him.
Nikias finds true love with Chandra in his arms, but is desperate to stop her from seeking revenge on a mission he knows is a one way trip.
Ortello knows for them to recapture the love they once felt for each other, he must be willing to let her go. But overcoming his obsession to make Chandra his and his alone isn’t easy.
Will Chandra go through with the vengeance in her heart or give it up for love? Who is the powerful woman in her haunting visions and will those revealing apparitions crumble her world with the Nodin clan? Does Chandra find true love in the arms of the Nodin men or does her Phantom Desire forever own her heart?