Pros: Stunning & original world; wonderful characters; fascinating plot
Rating: 5 out of 5
“In a post-apocalyptic world where supernaturals have emerged from hiding, wealthy humans delight in decadence while the religious gain power through temptation.”
Aisling is a shamaness, abandoned on the doorstep of a rural farm and taken in by a sympathetic woman. Raised among other orphans, she’s forced to hide her gifts from the authorities, hiding in safe rooms whenever they come calling. Until a priest comes looking for her—one who knows exactly who she is, what she can do, and where to find her. She’s forced to go to the city, where she’s asked to enter the ghostlands and find a woman who’s been kidnapped for sacrifice by a vicious cult. To save the woman she’s forced to summon a Djinn prince, an act that comes with a terrible price.
The Djinn fear nothing other than being bound and enslaved by humans, and Zurael is determined to slay the woman who called him up with such casual power—until he realizes she never intended to enslave him, and finds himself falling for her innocent charms. He finds himself caught up in an ever-more-difficult task: to protect Aisling from those who would use her power to horrific ends, and to help her protect those she loves. But by helping her, he might well be condemning her to death at the hands of his own people.
The world that Aisling and Zurael inhabit is nothing short of breathtaking. In a genre so filled with vampires and shapeshifters that, frankly, one series often seems to run into the next, I don’t think you’ll mistake Ghostland for any other book! Even now, a handful of days after I finished reading it, all I have to do is casually call it up in my mind and I can feel and see it almost as clearly as though I’d been there on a visit. Jory Strong’s talent for worldbuilding is fantastic, and I very much look forward to reading more of her work!
The characters are wonderful, no matter how incidental; even those that appear only briefly have quite a bit of personality and uniqueness to them.
It’s funny—despite the fact that this is a highly erotically charged book, the plotting and worldbuilding are so strong that I have trouble primarily classifying it as a romance or erotica novel. Those just aren’t the aspects of it that come to mind first for me. Yet Zurael and Aisling make a powerful couple, and their scenes together sizzle. Jory succeeds in depicting a dom/sub relationship with grace and style, and without compromising Aisling’s strength as a character and a person. Unlike Feehan’s Burning Wild, Strong’s Ghostland depicts a healthy “alternative” relationship.
As long as you don’t mind a book with a fair amount of blood and (occasionally kinky) sex, this is a fantastic novel for fans of the paranormal genre. The world is gorgeous, the characters are fantastic, and the plots will draw you in!