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There is something about team books that draw me in. More than just the fact you can often have two entirely different personalities being forced to work together because they truly are stronger together then apart. I think that it can lead to some very telling social problems. Sorcha, for instance, is extremely powerful as an 'Active' (or the 'brute strength'). She'll kick anyone's butt and do it with a smile, or rather smirk, on her face. She cannot however react normally in a social setting. She has Nynnia convinced that if she goes near her, Sorcha will flay her alive, is in a failing marriage with her original partner Kolya and tends to crush Merrick's (her current partner) spirit more often than not. Her lack of perfect is kind of why I like her however. She doesn't try to change or convince others she is anything she's not.

Merrick on the other hand is like an over-eager puppy at times. He's younger, inexperienced and doesn't always censor his mouth (or thoughts) well enough. He's a 'Sight', the directing force to Sorcha's blunt force. Basically without him Sorcha can't direct all her power and without Sorcha, Merrick doesn't have any physical power of his own. Ballantine doesn't set them up as romantic interests. For one, Sorcha is married (unhappily or otherwise). For two, Ballantine is at pains to emphasis that not all Pairings have to be romantic. They can happen, but if there's a souring on one end, there'll be a souring at the other as well.

Instead Sorcha has a sort of love interest in Raed, aka the Pretender, a quasi-Pirate who helps Sorcha and Merrick out. A lot of what Raed says is subterfuge and misdirection; he isn't the most truthful of people, but he has his reasons. I didn't feel like there was a lot of substance to him though, didn't feel like there was a concrete reason why Sorcha would risk a whole ton load of trouble to start something with him.

The world of Geist is an intriguing blend of fantasy, paranormal and history. It's not really any more of one genre than another, nor is any of it emphasized above each other. Fans of history may be able to spot all the historical references that were slightly skewed to fit in with the world, while fans of fantasy will be able to spot the magic's used and fans of the paranormal will marvel over the 'undead' that Sorcha and co. fight. It has a little something of everything in other words.

I look forward to the next book in the series and finding out more about Nynnia (who is more than she appears, try understanding what though, cause I sure didn't) and seeing where Sorcha's marriage goes, her partnership with Merrick (which is highly irregular) and the burgeoning feelings for Raed.

Book Blurb for Geist

Sorcha, powerful protector of the Empire against malevolent hauntings, is called to a small settlement. But more is occurring there than "geist" activity. It's a conspiracy of evil that reaches back to herown Abbey. Even if she survives, what hell would she be returning to?

Night Owl Reviews Nov, 2010 4.00