Living With Ghosts

Living With Ghosts

3.6 8
by Kari Sperring

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Read Kari Sperring's posts on the Penguin Blog.

The dazzling debut from a brilliant new fantasy talent.

This highly original, darkly atmospheric fantasy novel immerses readers in a world where ghosts and other malevolent spirits seek entry into mortal realms—invisible to all but those who are not entirely human themselves. Drawn into…  See more details below


Read Kari Sperring's posts on the Penguin Blog.

The dazzling debut from a brilliant new fantasy talent.

This highly original, darkly atmospheric fantasy novel immerses readers in a world where ghosts and other malevolent spirits seek entry into mortal realms—invisible to all but those who are not entirely human themselves. Drawn into the ancient city of Merafi, yet barred from entering by an ancient pact sealed in blood, these hungry haunts await their opportunity to break through the magical border and wreak havoc on the city’s innocent denizens.

And as a priestess and prince weave a sorcerous plot to shatter the pact and bring ruin on Merafi, only a failed assassin-priest who is now a courtesan, a noble lord married into the ruling family of Merafi, an officer of the city guard, a woman warrior who was the former lover of a now-dead lord, and the ghost of that lord himself stand between Merafi and the tidal wave of magic that may soon bring ruin flooding down upon the city.

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Product Details

Publication date:
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Penguin Group
File size:
491 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

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Living with Ghosts 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book, it never took the easy way out! The language and settings are lush, the people are flawed and believable, and the plot has plenty of twists to keep the reader guessing. The first chapter thrusts the reader into the action and we find out details later, as the main character would. It's not easy and formula, which is why I plan to reread it at the first opportunity!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Patricia_Bray More than 1 year ago
LIVING WITH GHOSTS is a satisfying blend of well-developed characters and intriguing worldbuilding. The richly realized Renaissance style city is a perfect backdrop for the blend of ghostly magic and intrigue. The characters are wonderfully flawed, complex and multi-dimensional. One of the things I liked best was how the romantic relationships are handled--unlike many urban fantasies where the character interactions are set on permanent teenage angst, these are adults, with all that entails. Highly recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book-Love-Affair More than 1 year ago
I wasn't overly impressed with Sperring's novel, I confess. Rather, I should say that my initial reaction wasn't overly warm. I've since decided that the novel only suffers too many of the symptoms of "First Novel Syndrome". With so many irritating factors hiding the potential of this work and author, I nearly dismissed both when I think that Sperring could easily correct these things for her following novel. Therefore, I'm hoping to see that improvement in Sperring's next, because there is definitely a gleam of frustrating potential in Living With Ghosts. Sperring's Living With Ghosts follows three major characters in their journeys. Gracielis, the "most main character", around whom the rest of the novel revolves is a failed priest-of-death/assassin turned pawn, spy, and gigolo. Only reluctantly does Gracielis make ties with the secondary characters. After Gracielis, the other main characters are Thiercelin and Joyain. Thiercelin, a noble, who appeals to Gracielis to help him, because Thiercelin is seeing the ghost of his long-dead best friend, Valdarrien... Joyain is a humble military officer who winds up tangled up in the mess that comes from the oddities happening in their nation, Merafi. The plot of Living With Ghosts is both the novel's grace and impediment. Sperring has a richly detailed world she wants to share; however, in telling the story Sperring often seems to forget the reader. For much of the plot development the reader must hold on and trust the author that the seemingly irrelevant characters and scenes are actually relevant... Sadly, this results in the beginning and the ending of the book being much stronger than the in-between, which can drag on horribly. The characters of Living With Ghosts contribute to much of the weakness in the story. If the characters had perhaps been given more quality than quantity, the plot may have moved more smoothly--and character development might have seemed less haphazard. The protagonist standing almost equally amidst a cast of characters given the same importance is a technique that can work, but for Living With Ghosts it only slows what character development there was. As it is, one finds it very difficult to sympathize with most characters--nevermind the protagonist, Gracielis. Gracielis suffers from the barely explained painful indecision and self-loathing of a "Mary Sue"-esque character. Gracielis is an exile from his home nation, a place that worships death, where he was supposed to become an assassin-priest. Instead, Gracielis fails and retains only his "lesser" magics of seduction and ghost-vision. With these skills he can then serve as a spy and gigolo to his mentor-mistress, who he (of course) both loves and hates. Without pausing to work on development, Sperring throws the unlikable Gracielis into political intrigue with the weak ties of his new "friends" and strong mistress to bind him to the plot. By far, the more sympathetic characters in the novel are the secondary "main" characters. Thiercelin, called Thierry, ties most of the novel's plot together. Not only does Thiercelin hold more plot strings more tightly together than Gracielis, but Thierry is by far the more human and believable character. The major blow to Sperring's writing is the lack of cohesive foreshadowing. The little foreshadowing we get is thrown in nearly as a second--thought; many very important details are overlooked un
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is no beginning to the story you are just dropped into it and it is never explained. Very dry 3 chapters in there is no desernable plot Borring drama free.
harstan More than 1 year ago
The Kingdom of Merafi was founded on blood between the elementals and the first ruler. Magic fails to work here for the most part and ghosts are stars of stories to scare children. Yet an aristocrat sees the ghost of his late brother-in-law and a foreigner has the ghost of the man who killed the relative constantly with him. The queen is dying and her heir prince is only twelve years old. She hopes to have a more stable relationship with the Tarnaroqui who would love to conquer Merafi.

Gracielis, an exiled Tarnaroqui, is bound to the sorceress Quenfrida; he spies for her on items she feels is significant. He is the first to notice the things in the mists that should not be there as they enter the borders of Merafi. Lunedith is a vassal state of Merafi and its Prince Kendan is in the royal city paying homage to the queen; he plans to free his nation from Merafi rule when the time is right, which he believes is soon. He allies himself with Quenfrida to break the pact with the ancient powers. Creatures rise from the mists harming people; the river rises over it embankment adding more death and disease and enabling the creatures to break free of the mists killing incessantly while plague spreads across the capital. Gracielis, who failed as an assassin, is helped by allies, as they try to bring the river under control before the realm turns into Quenfrida¿s dark vision.

This is an enthralling fantasy that contains horror elements interwoven into the story line. Gracielis believes he is a weak loser, which is how Quenfrida sees him too; however, when the realm is in peril, he finds courage to make decisions that counter his master¿s wishes as he sounds the alarm of what is inside the mists. He is a complex individual with a failed past; a conflicting present as a spy for the sorceress and an advisor to one of the queen¿s spymasters. This reviewer predicts Kari Sperring will have quite a future as a renowned fantasist.

Harriet Klausner