Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Rain of the Ghosts
I wish I could say that I pre-ordered this book from amazon.com, but I didn't. And for that I'm sorry, I'm really, really sorry. But I'm flat broke these days. But I had every intention of buying it anyway, and when I saw it put out on the shelf a day early in my local Barnes & Noble, I snatched it up fast and ran to the register. I read the first half of it last night, stopping at about 4am, and then just finished it about an hour ago.
"Rain of the Ghosts" is a fun romp through the Prospero Keys, a fictional chain of islands located near the Bermuda Triangle. The book serves as a two-hundred page introduction to what becomes a well thought-out world populated with a large cast of characters (each with their own distinctive voices). I also counted at least six heavy references to Shakespeare's works, particularly "The Tempest". In other words, it feels very much like a pilot to a Greg Weisman-helmed animated series; and I mean that as a positive. But while Gargoyles' "Awakening" could function as a nice stand-alone movie, "Rain of the Ghosts" operates more like Spectacular Spider-Man's "Survival of the Fittest" or Young Justice's "Independence Day": the immediate situation has been dealt with, but more questions are presented which will lead us into the second book, "Spirits of Ash and Foam" and hopefully beyond.
Rain Cacique serves as a strong protagonist. She's smart, tough, sarcastic, but still vulnerable and still a thirteen-year-old girl. Her best friend, Charlie, is someone I think every one will easily be able to relate to... yep, I felt that way at thirteen. Rain's grandfather, 'Bastian, is the grandfather you wish you had... very wonderfully human. Other characters pop up, many of whom while not important to this first novel will doubtless be developed later, as this is the first in a nine book series... already some are intriguing mysteries. I especially look forward to learning more about the villains in this series we've only gotten the barest glimpses of; Weisman's villains are always delicious.
The third person narration took a little bit of time for me to get used to, mostly because I kept on wondering just who was chronicling this for us; and at the same time,the point of views often change between paragraphs so we can get into the heads of other characters where appropriate. As with his TV shows, Weisman doesn't talk down to his reader and trusts them enough to trust him, leading to a neat reveal.
I had fun reading it, and it left me with a need to begin the second novel. Can't ask for more than that.