It’s 1916, and the world is on fire.
The Great War has already consumed much of the globe, but a second, secret war between sorcerers threatens to crack it in two. The ruling families of Germany and Austria-Hungary, those with the chill of magic in their blood, will stop at nothing in their quest for power, and they’ve drawn the entire world into a bloody war because of it.
But Florence Cavell—codename Geist—means to stop them. She had to defy her family, cut her hair, and disguise herself as a man to join the legendary Ethereal Squadron: a joint US-UK division of the allied powers’ mightiest sorcerers. Armed with her powerful specter sorcery, which allows her to “ghost” through bullets and barbed wire alike, Geist fights a tireless battle to end the war once and for all.
Fans of Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, Airborn by Kenneth Oppel, Shadow Ops: Control Point by Myke Cole, and The Roar by Emma Clayton will love this book.
This book is for anyone who likes reading about:
Strong female protagonists
World War I
The clack of the train wheels over the steel rails rang out a consistent ka-kak rhythm. The incessant noise was muffled by the thick polished redwood walls and deep green carpeting. Geist relaxed in her reclining chair, amused by the heavy curtains tied at the side of the train car windows. The posh and gaudy design reminded her of home.
They had a car all to themselves. The car behind them was full of socialite women—debutantes, the lot of them. Although Geist could steal glances of them through the windows of the cars, sound didn’t penetrate. Instead, she focused on her team and Victory’s advice.
Get them talking.
Victory and Blick shared small talk over a local newspaper. Battery stayed close, absorbed in organizing and reorganizing his rucksack. Dreamer and Vergess sat on the opposite side of the car, dead silent.
Even though discussing strategy had been the original excuse for acquiring the first-class car, there wasn’t much to discuss. Even Victory’s future sight couldn’t help them until they got closer to the OHL—and until then, they were flying blind.
“We have eight hours until we reach Le Havre,” Geist said. “Let’s use our time wisely.”
The others turned to her.
Blick smiled. “I know exactly what you’re trying say.”
“We need to discuss our experience with the ladies.”
“Wait, what?” Geist asked. “We don’t need to discuss women.” Anything but that. “But I was going to suggest we get to know each other a little more by—”
“Nothing is more revealing than how you handle yourself with the fairer sex,” Blick interjected with a snap of his fingers. “As veteran soldiers, it’s our sworn duty to teach new recruits how.” Blick raised an eyebrow and swirled an imaginary wine glass, speaking with all the class and sophistication he could muster.
5 out of 5 (exceptional)
The Ethereal Squadron is part of The Sorcerers of Verdun series, and it starts off with a bang! To put it very simply - sorcerers exist, and they are fighting in WWI. Now, if you're a history buff, just be prepared for this story to be different to the books you may have read prior to this. This is, after all, a fiction book. Saying that though, the realism that is portrayed by this author is second to none. From situations to characters, they all have the ring of truth going on, which just kept on improving my satisfaction of this story.
I won't go into the story, you don't need me to do that. What I will tell you is this story is exceptional in EVERY way. From the research done into battles, guns, chains-of-command, to how characters react in situations. When these characters fall from a great height, they are worried about how much it's going to hurt! They don't just blithely jump, not fearing consequences. The character development is outstanding. All of the characters change during this book, in a way consistent with them. No one suddenly become Superman after being Clark Kent for 99% of the book!
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and definitely want to read more. One of the things I enjoyed most was the 'time'. All too often, stories are set in the second World War. This made the story individual, and coupled with the rest of the elements in here, I would even go so far as to say unique.
A long book without a single wasted word. Absolutely recommended by me, and I can't wait to read more - both about these Sorcerers, and also from this amazing author.
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
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Shami Stovall relies on her BA in History and Juris Doctorate to make her living as an author and history professor in the central valley of California. She writes in a wide range of fiction, from crime thrillers to fantasy to science-fiction. Stovall loves reading, playing video games, entertaining others with stories, and writing about herself in the third person.
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