**Review copy provided through Netgalley for an honest review.**
Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal
Ginger Stuyvesant, an American heiress living in London during World War I, is engaged to Captain Benjamin Harford, an intelligence officer. Ginger is a medium for the Spirit Corps, a special Spiritualist force.
Each soldier heading for the front is conditioned to report to the mediums of the Spirit Corps when they die so the Corps can pass instant information about troop movements to military intelligence.
Ginger and her fellow mediums contribute a great deal to the war efforts, so long as they pass the information through appropriate channels. While Ben is away at the front, Ginger discovers the presence of a traitor. Without the presence of her fiance to validate her findings, the top brass thinks she's just imagining things. Even worse, it is clear that the Spirit Corps is now being directly targeted by the German war effort. Left to her own devices, Ginger has to find out how the Germans are targeting the Spirit Corps and stop them. This is a difficult and dangerous task for a woman of that era, but this time both the spirit and the flesh are willing…
Ghost Talkers captured my attention quite a while back and I was so happy when I was approved to read it! Instantly it was love. The writing was solid and I believed the setup that the author was creating. Ghost Talker is an alternate history on The Great War, AKA WWII. One of my biggest gripes with alternate histories is that they forget what the time may have been like. Or that it glorifies war instead of its realities.
Mary Robinette Kowal's writing immediately stole my heart. It's haunting and fits the story and time period well. It was just as haunting as the ghost story. Ghost Talker didn't just ride out the unique idea of using the ghosts of dead soldiers to report back in to help further the war efforts. (A totally awesome idea and I love the taste of the rules and logic behind the magic that is shown.) Kowal addresses the realities of war. From the waste of life, the horror, fear, and many realities. Not to mention that even such times and circumstances racism and sexism still held sway. Oh, don't forget the class system of the time. All of these subjects are not handled heavy handed. No it's practical and the situations support the ideas that the author is trying to get across fitting seamlessly into the story.
The structure of the Spirit Corps and how it functioned within the British military was brilliant! As someone who loves details and world building I was in heaven.
My biggest issue was that the plot was so OBVIOUS. It went and did exactly as I thought it would go. Normally this is a bad thing. Kowal's writing is so wonderful, the world and characters so rich that it was reduced to a minor annoyance. Though I have a feeling that some readers may not like the every day grind and work load to the book. Ginger does her job and while certain events do lead her on a journey it is not some wild ride.
Ginger is a fantastic lead and I like that she isn't some unrealistic idealistic lead. She admits when she's wrong and her own flaws. The cast of characters do feel quite obvious. Like queue male chauvinist boss/general, stereotypical friends and supporting characters. The traitor was so obvious from the get go—that minor annoyance part I was referring to. The dry British humor helped spice up some of the less original characters. Even if they really didn't have much life, at least they had witty humor. The characters that were fleshed out are amazing and I look forward to seeing them again.
Ghost Talkers reads like a standalone, but I have a feeling if things go well it will transition nicely into a series. Which I truly want. Ghost stories are the classics of the paranormal tale. When an author can take such a tired old concept and make it new and refreshing how can I not ask for more? Ghost Talkers captured my attention and kept me riveted to the story. While it was very predictable I think readers can easily enjoy it. Here's to a book 2 and a fantastic new adventure! Because while it all wrapped up nicely there's enough ideas left at the end to really go places.
Sexual Content: Pretty clean, it keeps to a very polite take on the sexual humor and such. Which suited the book well.
4/5- Great! Really enjoyed it.
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