Rain of the Ghosts Review
Greg Weisman co-creator of Gargoyles, Spectacular Spider-Man, Young Justice, and has worked on many other great animated series and comic books, has written a new novel, Rain of the Ghosts. Supernatural mystery, intrigue, tropical islands, and ghosts, all wrapped around a coming of age story. If you’ve liked his TV shows then you’ll love this series.
The series starts off with Rain and Charlie, thirteen year old best friends who are enjoying the last few days of their summer vacation before school starts again. They live in the Prospero Keys, known as the Ghost Keys to the locals, a chain of islands near the Bermuda Triangle. With it being a popular tourist spot they spend their free time dodging tourists as much as anything else. But one unusual family gift is the start of a trip down the rabbit hole for Rain’s life. Seeing ghosts is the tip of the weirdness as she has to figure out their mystery while deciding whether she’s crazy or if she’s now part of something a lot larger than her. There is also the man named Callahan, he’s after something and it might get Rain killed when she goes looking for answers.
While I’m making it sound a bit cliché that’s only because I’m trying to avoid any big details. This story should be experienced without any spoilers. I will say Rain adventure isn’t an easy one, and as fitting for a series about ghosts she will deal with lose and death. Rain is an extremely well written character, which isn’t a surprise given Weisman’s history with well done female characters. All of the characters are great because they all have little moments that give them a lot of depth even if some of them don’t appear much. There are things that will resonate with readers. Charlie’s friendship with Rain or Rain’s grandfather, ‘Bastian, will connect with those who have gone through similar things. There’s a lot in this to connect with the audience and intrigue them to read more into what’s really going on in the Ghost Keys.
There is some rather unusual things in this too, specifically the narrator. It appears to be a standard third person omniscient narrator, but in fact it’s first person. Who that person is and how they’re experiencing all of this is a mystery to be explained in due course. It is definitely something that might put some readers off since it’s a little odd. It is worth getting past that odd feeling and enjoying the story, it does make some sense as the book goes on.
This book also feels like a TV pilot, setting up the general premise, plot, and characters for the rest of the series. So it feels like some elements are undeveloped and characters unexplored that will be delved into in later stories. This isn’t much of a surprise given the author’s TV background and that this is meant to be a nine book series. Undoubtedly that’ll change with the rest of the series. It’s a complete story, but one that leaves off with more left to be told and a lot more to explore.
What I’m worried about is if the implications inherent in this sort of story are going to be addressed. Due to the pacing and the tight plot the characters don’t get a chance to delve into the implications of what it means to have confirmation of ghosts. There is no evidence of an afterlife as such, but a person’s spirit can get trapped on Earth and need help moving on. Whether or not they are moving onto an afterlife, reincarnation, or simply winking out of existence is never clarified, because the characters don’t know themselves. I’m not sure if the topic will get broached much because that can go into religious territory, since there are many different beliefs about the afterlife, which is a problematic subject. Still it would be nice if the main characters talked about the implications of ghosts existing, even if they can’t provide any answers it can lead to some character exploration and development. I’d rather get no real answers but have enough there for the readers to make their own judgements on this. We won’t know for certain if the theological implications will be addressed in the next book, but I hope they are.
There is definitely a lot of supernatural goings on that are hinted at. Ghosts aren’t the only thing at the Keys and I’m looking forward to finding out what else is out there. Weisman is known for his fantastic villains, some that more engaging than the heroes, and while we don’t get to see much here we do get to see Callahan isn’t the only one interested in this. Rain’s joined a new world and she doesn’t really know what she’s in for.
Overall this is a really good and fun series to start reading. If you like adventure/supernatural fiction with a coming of age tale, or even just a book with a well written female focus, this is something you should look into. If you’ve liked Greg Weisman’s other works then you’ll like this, I have no doubt about that. Also as a fan, I got a chuckle from seeing Brendan and Margot again, two recurring characters from Weisman’s other series, known as the ‘yuppie couple’ always arguing with Brendan being under Margot’s thumb. Seriously, go buy this book and spread the word about it. So far only two books have been commissioned and I’d love to see all nine hit the shelves.