Review: Ghost Talkers

Ghost Talkers
Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I first heard about Ghost Talkers from Booklist Online in their feature article The Reading List: Best Adult Genre Fiction. It made their short list in the fantasy genre category. I’d never heard of Mary Robinette Kowal until this article. The synopsis sounded intriguing, so, I jumped onto Goodreads to look at some of the reviews. I was pleasantly surprised to see that not only did Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss both read this book, but they both gave it five stars.

This is a good kind of weird, which made this novel so intriguing for me. I like books that are a little different from the normal. I’ve never read a book like this before and I loved it!

The story takes place in Europe during WWI. Ginger Stuyvestant is a medium along with a group of mediums who make up the Spirit Corps. When a soldier dies in the war, they report to the mediums and give them any information that may be useful in the war efforts. The Germans discover the Spirit Corps and their mission, so they target them to keep them from discovering their plans. One soldier is murdered and his ghost helps Ginger find his murderer while trying to avoid the Germans.

Ghost Talkers is a combination of paranormal fantasy and historical fiction. There were several OMG moments as the story unfolded. I should have seen some of the twists coming, but they still managed to catch me off guard. I loved these little surprises since they kept me reading and wondering what would happen next.

The characters are very likable, especially Ginger, Ben, Helen, Mrs. Richardson, and Aunt Edie, AKA Lady Penfold. Ginger is a determined, passionate woman who refuses to rest or eat until they solve the murder. Ben is Ginger’s fiancé and defends her at all costs, although he has a jealousy streak. Helen is a medium and a good friend of Ginger’s. She’s a minority and it’s interesting to see racism play a part. It added both realism and depth to the story. Mrs. Richardson is so amusing. She sounds like this nice old lady, like somebody grandma who carries around her kitting. She is constantly offering soldiers mufflers and socks. She still surprised you with her willingness to spy for the greater good. Lady Penfold is Ginger’s aunt who’s also a medium and worries about Ginger. She didn’t always want to know the details of what was going on, but she’s always there for Ginger.

Although this takes place during WWI, the battle isn’t the focus of the story, so at times the war feels more like a setting than a part of the plot. The focus is more on solving the murder and communicating with the ghosts. However, there are some bombings with injuries and fatalities. It’s not gory or anything.

The characters use book ciphering, which I find both fascinating and complicated. I thought it effectively reinforced the spy aspect of the story.

Overall, it’s an engaging story that’s successfully executed. It has a nice tidy ending leaving me with a sense of satisfaction. It’s a pleasantly different, yet entertaining read.

Thanks for buddy reading this with me Carl!
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