Ghost Star Night by Nicole Kimberling

Samhain Publishing

Gay Fantasy

ISBN: 978-1-60504-638-9

Reviewed by Cassie

   

 

As a courtier in the West Court, Lord Adam Wexley must do the bidding of his godmother, Lady Langdon, at all times.  When she calls him demanding he secure the services of Grand Magician Drake in any way possible, he can’t refuse.  He sets off at once to enlist the man’s aid.  He’s very surprised at the boon the magician asks in return—that he play his guitar for Drake, at Drake’s home. 

Grand Magician Zachary Drake doesn’t like to get involved in Court politics, so he’s unaligned with any Court.  Still, when Lord Adam Wexley arrives to beg a favor of him, Drake is intrigued and attracted.  He agrees to help more out of interest in Adam than any real desire to assist Lady Langdon.  Drake has no way of knowing that the minor assistance he provided is connected to something much bigger, and more horrifying, than even he could imagine.

A new princess is born, and someone is determined to ensure she causes the downfall of the world.  Lord Thomas Myrdin believes he is being called to prevent this.  Nothing, not the admiration of Adam Wexley or his former connection to the king, will stop him.   

In a world where magic can sever people from their souls and force them into slavery, and treachery may hide behind familiar faces, can three men discover what they must do before it’s to late?   

Ghost Star Night has to be one of the most unusual books I’ve read in a long time, if not ever.  It’s a very difficult story to describe.  Aspects of the setting are perfectly ordinary, such as police and cars, others seem medieval, and still others are out of a magical fantasy land.  In the end, though, the bizarre setting works beautifully, thanks to Nicole Kimberling’s strong storytelling and interesting characters.  Adam is a magician and a bit of a party boy.  At first he comes across as naïve and too agreeable, but he soon shows that he has a core of steel beneath the frivolous exterior.  Thomas, the man Adam originally has his heart set on, is a very conflicted man.  He lost his parents and his ability to work magic at a young age, and has chafed at his mundane role in the South Court ever since.  Being thrown over by the king for a woman—the new queen—is another slap in the face that leaves him vulnerable and ends up putting him in a bad situation.  Of all the characters, though, my favorite was Zachary Drake.  He seems cold and calculating at first, for the most part, but he has a caring side as well.  I sympathized with his unhappiness at Adam’s initial preference for Thomas, and I admired his willingness to do what he felt was right regardless of anyone else’s opinion.  There are a number of secondary characters, including various nobles and magicians, inhabited animals (animals containing the soul of a convicted criminal or other person who has lost the rights to his/her soul), and townspeople.  Trying to save the kingdom brings the three principal men closer together, and gives them unexpected choices to make.  I won’t spoil the storyline here, but there is plenty of magical intrigue, action, romance, and quite a few surprises.  Readers who like unusual fantasy settings and storylines, action, and magic, and don’t mind a bit of violence will be sure to enjoy Ghost Star Night, as I did.

     

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