Book Review: Ghost Planet

Loved the first chapter, the whole time I was thinking ‘she’s alive, but the synopsis said she died on the way to the planet, but there she is talking to Murphy and doing everything the living should’ and then right as the chapter ends you find out yes she is dead and even Murphy didn’t realize it until they passed through the scanner. What a great start! Although I must admit at the same time that reading the synopsis did in a way ruin the first chapter for me, because you know ahead of time she is dead so while it was an interesting way to start the book you knew she wasn’t alive and it was only a matter of time before it was discovered.

I really found the idea of a ghost looking and acting like a living person to be quite interesting. Too often ghosts are portrayed as a translucent being that doesn’t always reflect the shape of it’s once living form. Yet in Ghost Planet the ghosts not only looked like the person when they had been alive but they also eat, sleep, dress, take showers and do about everything else a living being does. There was no floating through walls or rattling of chains with these ghost and it was a really nice change of pace from typical ghost stories. Only a scanner can tell a ghost and a living person apart. This really made the idea of a planet inhabited by ghosts so much more interesting.

Very interesting story all around. There was a good pace throughout and I don’t recall hitting any slow spots and if there were some I certainly didn’t notice them. Good amount of world building but not so much that it bogged the story down, instead it helped to explain how things happened on the planet beyond just the ghosts. I loved how as the story progressed you find out there is a direct relation between the planets weather/geological happenings to the interactions between the ghosts and humans. It certainly explained the change in the planets weather and the minor disasters they had seen since the ghost protocol had been initiated.

I wasn’t too fond of Murphy’s character to begin with, but I will admit he did grow on me as time went on. I also wasn’t entirely convinced that he was Irish, there was no Irish feel to his dialog, unless he was more of Irish descent but not necessarily directly Irish, which I don’t think was the case. While this wasn’t a major thing for me I did notice it though it didn’t make or break the story for me. I did like Elizabeth and her struggles with coming to grips with not only knowing she died on her way to the planet and having to adjust to being an alien but dealing with everything that happens after that shows she is a strong character. Also the fact that she fought to keep herself who she was and not become one of the broken and beaten ghosts on the planet was a nice addition. She could have easily given up once she realized that she was a ghost but instead she was more determined than ever to have her say in things and fight how things were done on the planet.

I liked Ian, since he was the first ghost that interacted positively with Elizabeth and they stayed friends throughout the story, helping one another and their hosts when and if needed. I hated Lex, everything she did irked me. I also didn’t care for Peter and wanted to hit him when he suddenly showed up on the planet looking for Elizabeth, whom he calls Rose, which is her middle name.

Murphy’s betrayal/how he saves Elizabeth from Mitchell’s experiments were both a good and bad thing. He obviously did it to save her, even if it did mean betraying her trust and nearly losing her at one point. I can totally understand why she was mad at him when she found out the truth and yet after seeing it from his perspective through their bond it make complete sense what he did even if it wasn’t perhaps the best solution.

When they go from one extreme, colonists having to ignore their ghosts to the other at the refugee camp where ghosts ignore their colonist partners was a bit predictable but somewhat ironic in a way. Either way life isn’t easy for a ghost and it’s host, especially when that ghost is in love with her host and vice versa. Seeing Elizabeth’s sudden and unexpected detachment from Murphy was a pleasant surprise.

One thing I didn’t quite understand is why did Elizabeth never call Murphy by his first name, Grayson. It made sense to begin with, after all he was her superior so referring to him by his last name is a sign of respect. But as their relationship grew she continued to call him Murphy and I could never figure out why that was. He called her Elizabeth, not Ms. Cole.

I did like the twist with John Ardagh, near the end of the book. It’s honestly not something I expected to see in the book but in that sense it was a really nice twist to the entire story. Though I would have liked to see a bit more back story about John Ardagh I can understand why it wasn’t given.

Overall this was an interesting story. The world was not so different from our own even with the ghosts. It is not your typical science fiction novel but that’s what makes it so interesting, is seeing the similarities and yet despite those the differences as well from our own world and existence. I would be interested in another book set in this same world or even a continuation of the series, perhaps a few years in the future after Murphy and Elizabeth’s baby has been born to see how that plays out and how events had happened and how things have changed since the books ending.

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