Living With Ghosts - Kari Sperring

I'd previously read and enjoyed this author's other book (The Grass King's Concubine) so when this one was on offer I thought I'd pick it up - any excuse to buy stand-alone books, though this then sat on my bookshelf for a while before I got around to it...

 

Anyway, on with Living With Ghosts. First off, this is a book written from multiple points of view, so if that annoys you then this book probably won't work for you - one of our characters is a magician/assassin-turned-prostitute who's now living and working far from home having failed his final test. Sadly for Gracielis, the woman who trained him has turned up as part of the embassy from his home country and is now manipulating him while also plotting to overthrow the monarchy of his adopted home. 

 

The title of the book comes from the fact that, as part of his training, Gracielis is able to see ghosts and is haunted by the ghost of a soldier who was involved in a duel he witnessed 6 years earlier. The problem is, the other duellist is now showing up as a ghost and its his appearance that is used as a demonstration that things are going wrong in the city - eventually there's a zombie-creating plague but things resolve themselves in the end. 

 

I liked it but I also got 90% of the way in and didn't really feel much urgency to find out what happened in the end, which is rarely a good sign. It's also 480 pages of densely-written mass market paperback fantasy set in pseudo-Europe with characters who could have fixed half their issues (and reduced the size of the book by a good 100 pages, I reckon) if they'd just actually have a conversation. Seriously, 'I shouldn't bother her with this' and 'he doesn't love me, otherwise he'd talk to me' is endearing the first couple of times but wearing if repeated too often.