Ghost: Blood and Fire by Phoebe Reeves Murray

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Ghost: Blood and Fire by Phoebe Reeves Murray

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 1.5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: Illustrated novel where both the art and the prose fail to capture the imagination.
Buy? No Borrow? No
Pages: 160 Date: March 2010
Publisher: Tabella
ISBN: 978-0955808869

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Young Jennifer Rhys has been orphaned by the evil Dark Angels. They can possess people and bite off their hands, and there's something about living tattoos which you can take out of boxes and paste into your skin. After growing up in an adolescent psychiatric ward, she will grow up to go on and confront them and fulfil her destiny. Or something like that. Between the huge amount of poorly drawn characters, the leaden prose, and the disappointing pictures of computerized 3-D models, I got lost a few times and couldn't summon the interest to work out what was going on.

Rather than being a standard graphic novel, this is more of an illustrated novella, lasting 160 pages with large print and lots of full-page pictures. The fact it's relatively short was, if anything, a blessed relief, because it's hard to sustain any involvement in the book due to the way it keeps jumping around in time and the large cast of characters with few distinguishing features.

The central story of various angels at war with each other and the future of the world at stake is one that's been done several times recently, but I could happily have coped with the lack of originality in the basic premise if there'd been anything new and interesting in the Murrays' handling of it. Speaking as someone who's read what seems to be a few hundred teen supernatural romances over the past twelve months, I'm definitely of the opinion that you can read lots of books with similar plots and enjoy the later ones just as much as the earlier ones, if those plots are well thought out. As it is, there's nothing here which hasn't been done much better in many books and TV series.

I'm desperately trying to find some positives here – I don't actually particularly enjoy being critical without saying anything to balance it out – but I'm really struggling. There's one fairly good scene between a couple of characters who appear to be being built up for more of a role in the coming sequel, when a young boy suffers from a monstrously cruel act from his father. Sadly, since there's no way on Earth I'll be ploughing through the sequel to this one, I'm unlikely to find out what happens to the boy and his friend. There are also a few genuinely striking illustrations – but like the good scene mentioned above, they're outweighed by the sheer number of amateurish and lifeless renders.

With the huge amount of excellent fiction on similar subjects available at the moment, there's no way I could possibly recommend that you spend your money or time on this book. Unforgotten by Tohby Riddle is better.

Further reading suggestion: For a stunning treatment of angels on a collision course, I'd highly recommend Lauren Kate's Fallen. For a beautifully illustrated novel, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is also excellent.

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Buy Ghost: Blood and Fire by Phoebe Reeves Murray at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Ghost: Blood and Fire by Phoebe Reeves Murray at


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