25 April 2020

Review and Giveaway || A Feast of Phantoms by Kat Ross




THE JOB


It was supposed to be simple.

Help Marshal Sebastian Hardin escort his prisoner one stop on the railway to Charter Oak.

Just one stop.

But when that prisoner is a savant who talks to ghosts, even the simplest plans have a way of falling apart.

THE LAW

Sheriff’s Deputy Ruth Cortez always does the right thing. Lucky Boy is a company town, dependent on the rich and powerful Carnarvon family. Besides which, the charismatic Sebastian Hardin isn’t an easy man to say no to. When his transport derails in the middle of the prairie, Ruth begins a relentless manhunt that leads straight into the dark heart of the Carnarvon empire.

THE FUGITIVE

Lee Merriweather favors sharp suits and fast trains – especially when he’s stealing them. At the ripe old age of 18, he’s managed to become the most wanted criminal in three territories. Lee can’t resist playing cat and mouse with a small-town deputy, but what starts as a game becomes deadly serious.

THE FIXER

Sebastian Hardin is the Carnarvons’ right hand, loyal to the death and willing to keep any secret to protect the family. They want Lee alive, but with the young savant’s disturbing abilities it won’t be an easy proposition. Whoever catches Lee gets the keys to the kingdom and the Carnarvons aren’t the only ones hunting him down. Sebastian has enough problems without falling for Deputy Cortez – but you can’t always choose who you love.

THE PHANTOMS

They terrorized the settlers until Calindra Carnarvon learned to speak their language. Her empire relies on controlling their telekinetic powers, but Lee Merriweather could destroy it all. And not even Lee suspects the shocking truth of the phantoms’ real nature.


   

Steampunk is not a genre that I find myself gravitating towards. I'm not sure what it is about it that just doesn't suit me. That being said, I'll read anything that Kat Ross writes. I don't know that I even read the blurb before I said yes. 

A Feast of Phantoms is a strange matchup of western, steampunk, and paranormal fiction. As always, Kat Ross's worldbuilding is immense and totally enveloping. From the dirt town that Ruth lives to the technology ladened city, the details encompass you and draw you in. There's an account of this alternate history that we get details of along the way, little by little. The Phantoms are an interesting twist to this American Old West retelling. They threatened everyone until the Carnavons managed to learn their language and wrangle them to do their bidding. Mixing spooks and spaghetti western is a bold move but I have no doubt in the author's ability to devise a compelling tale.

The characters are wonderfully animated. Ruth, while young, is a real humdinger. She's brash and brave and a firm believer in law and order, which makes her a perfect deputy for the small frontier town of Lucky Boy. Her relationship with Sebastian is complex since he keeps his motivations and thoughts quiet. He's cautious but isn't as much for the straight and narrow as Ruth. Lee, however, is chaos in both of their lives. He has a good heart but is very much a free spirit. He proclaims to be innocent of his crimes.  While there are typical elements of the white hat vs. black hat gunslinging western, Kat Ross's characters are always complex. What you see isn't always what you get in the end.

This one ends on a serious cliffhanger. This isn't a book that gives you a gratifying all-ends-tied up completion, proving that sometimes it's not about the destination in fiction, it's the journey. 


Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the Fourth Element and Fourth Talisman fantasy series, the Gaslamp Gothic paranormal mysteries, and the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Check out Kat’s Pinterest page for the people, places and things that inspire her books. 

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