ghost ocean by s m peters

Posted on May 17, 2010

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As far as many of my reader friends are concerned Neil Gaiman is god. But when I read Ghost Ocean I wondered why I would need him when I have S M Peters. On Amazon.com there are only eight reviews and Shelfari.com two. Sweet. I belong to a cult.

In St Ives, the stuff of myths and legends has been imprisoned for years. A magical field surrounds the town keeping all supernatural creatures bound. Hunters keep watch, ready to spring into action once a monster escapes. City folk live in uneasy ignorance of the monsters in their cellars .

Ghost Ocean , title, has nothing to do with the story. Who came up with it?

Te Evangeline works for one of these monster hunters, Babu, a sort of godfather that took her under his wing after her dad’s death five years ago. Her dad was a binder, the final offense against the creatures. First they must be tracked, then their power suppressed, and, finally, seduced by the binder’s power into submission.

In one scene, maybe my favorite, Te goes with the team looking for a bird creature who eats pieces of people. Through a park peopled by teenagers in ragged Victorian costumes she experiences for the first time her dad’s terrible responsibility. Face to face with the bird creature she discovers that to bind the creature she must love it and put it in a cage forever.

As the vision of a shaman chanting and stomping on a desert floor surrounds the ragtag team composed of a cowardly vampire, a genius mathematician with a toy raygun, and an albino tarot card-wielding witch, Te fails her first assignment.

One by one, the monsters are escaping, freed by the Kitsune, a shapechanger who grants wishes. His goal is to break open the seal around St Ives, even if it means freeing the Goat with a Thousand Young, a creature from the Void that can swallow the Earth whole if it grows big enough.

Te must find her role in all of this, use her loneliness as a key to unlocking the truth of her identity.

If creativity is scarce in the world then why is the author full of it? He created this cross between Lovecraft, the Seven Samurais, Hellboy, and American Gods yet the invention is like nothing else on earth. His invention makes much of the staleness in humanity’s imagination, as the stuff of dreams are imprisoned alongside that of our nightmares. Though I don’t buy into the idea that science negates imagination the premise makes for a compelling argument for letting these monsters go.

But if Te does what havoc will they cause on humanity?

Well-fleshed out characters, atmospheric writing,  and memorable monsters, I really like this book, dark and depressing though it is. Here’s hoping for the impossible, a sequel, for in Ghost Ocean the impossible lives side by side with us.

Posted in: fantastic