The Order of the Deacons are the protectors of the Empire and guardians of the people to prevent them from being possessed or haunted by Geists. The Deacons are divided into two different types Actives and Sensitive, the Actives have the powers to fight the Geist and the Sensitives that give the Actives the ability to see the Geists. Without this partnership, the Order would fail Sorcha is the most powerful Active within the order, but her control over her power is questionable. Merrick is a young active who has been forced into a partnership with Sorcha, which is one neither is too keen on. Sorcha seems to have a problem keeping her Sensitive partners in one piece. They have been dispatched to an isolated city where, there have been strange Geist happenings, ones that defy all the rules of the Order. And over the ocean seas appears Raed, the Pretender to the throne, the true ruler of the Empire, but the inability to take control because of the Geist living inside him. Their three lives are intertwined whether they want it or not and becomes apparent that someone does not want Sorcha, Merrick or Raed to reach their destination or destiny alive.
This book is a pretty good start to a new series. I would classify this as part of the fantasy genre, not the paranormal one, as the powers that the Deacons have and the description of the Geists makes me think more fantasy that paranormal. However, I do think that it will appeal to people who like both of these genres, as the aspects from each genre have been somewhat interconnected into the storyline, it just has a more fantasy feel.
Ballanitine has created a rich world, that is part historic part fantasy. She has expertly weaved these two different aspects into one, that would have the reader believing that this world actually did exist. She is fairly descriptive ion places, especially around the Feel of places, a sense that is often missed by writers, but one that is key to the Deacon's world.
I enjoyed the interaction between Sorcha and Merrick, as they do have some funny interactions, which are enhanced by the bond that they share. Sorcha is a strong female protagonist, who has that kick-ass attitude that is common within the paranormal genre, however, because of the bond that she shares with Merrick the reader is able to get more emotions from Sorcha as well as more depth to her personality. Raed and the ancient Geist (called the Rossin) living inside of him, just waiting to take control, is an interesting aspect within the book. I enjoyed the interaction between Raed and the Rossin, it is something similar to Faith Hunter's Beast in her skinwalker series, however, the Rossin is much much darker, and is more concerned with death and destruction.
I am not 100 percent sure what it is about this book that only made it only okay to me. I think at times I got a touch lost in what a Geist was and how they were created and destroyed. I think that there was lack of explanation about this in the beginning of the book, which lead me to be confused for the first bit. Just so everyone knows, I equated the Geist as an evil spirit that was able to possess or haunt people, but if they were powerful enough they were able to take their own form to attack people (hopefully this understanding will possible help you enjoy the book more). There were also a few slow parts but there were battles and fights, but they just seemed to be Wham Bam, done. I think this is the part where the story and writing lacked was within the fighting scenes, which are very key to this story (and to me when I am reading a book). They seemed to be somewhat disjointed at times, and even slow and battles should never feel slow. However, I did like that the ending of the book was not quite as cookie cutter as you would expect.
I think this is a pretty good start to a new series, not the best I have read this year, but still interesting. I know that there is going to be a second book in the series, and I am interested to see what happens next, but it is not a priority like some of the other debuts. If you are looking for a paranormal book that is more on the fantasy side, then this book is for you. Also if you are looking for something different from what has become the norm in the paranormal genre you should take a look at this book as well. There is also a little bit of romance and I think there is just enough romance within the book that it would appeal to those who like paranormal romance (however, you have to be aware that the romance is secondary within the book).