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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Book Review: Rain of the Ghosts

I previously wrote about how Greg Weisman influenced my writing and ideas, and as a fan of his work, I was intrigued by his first novel Rain of the Ghosts.

A brief background before I get to the novel: Rain of the Ghosts was originally envisioned as a TV show but the project fell through. Weisman later rewrote the show as a novel but couldn't find anyone interested. After he had finished work on the series Young Justice, he went back to the novel, did a rewrite and found an interested publisher. (See, other writers can relate to Weisman with the tale of writing a novel, not finding interest and having to revisit and rewrite it later.)

As for the novel itself, it focuses on the adventures of Rain Cacique, who lives with her family in the Prospero Keys, a chain of islands on the edge of the Bermuda Triangle. Her grandfather Sebastian passes away while she is out with her best friend Charlie Dauphin and a girl the two met the day before, Miranda. Prior to his death, Sebastian gave Rain a gold band with two intertwined gold snakes. After his death, Rain realizes she can see ghosts and the band allows her to communicate with them, notably her own grandfather. From there, it leads to an adventure in which Rain must solve a mystery dating back to World War II.

The novel's biggest strength is Weisman understanding how teenagers think, particularly at a young age, and he does a good job bringing Rain and Charlie to life. I empathized with Rain and her relationship with her grandfather, and you understand Charlie enough to know he's conflicted between how long he's known Rain and what he thinks about Miranda upon first meeting her.

Another strength is how Weisman takes the concept of magical characters but keeps it grounded in the real world. He does a good job describing the Prospero Keys environment and I can tell he thoroughly researched what the area was like.

The novel is written from the omniscient viewpoint, which may not appeal to some readers. I've had discussions with others about the danger of "head hopping" before, but the counterpoint is many novels do a good job with that viewpoint. In Weisman's case, I think his portrayal of younger characters and his world building make up for the challenge with omniscient narration.

Rain of the Ghosts is the first in a series of nine planned novels. The second novel, Spirits of Ash and Foam, has also been released, and a third novel is on the way. After reading the first two (and yes, a review of the second novel is forthcoming), I am intrigued to see what twists and turns Weisman will take next.

You can order Rain of the Ghosts on Amazon or check your local bookstore.

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