Saturday 20 April 2024

Book Review: The Warms Hands of Ghosts by Katherine Arden (Historical Fantasy)

The Warm Hands of Ghosts
Katherine Arden
13 February 2024
Historical Fantasy
Bought Copy

January 1918. Laura Iven has been discharged from her duties as a nurse and sent back to Halifax, Canada, leaving behind a brother still fighting in the trenches of the First World War. Now home, she receives word of Freddie's death in action along with his uniform - but something doesn't quite make sense. Determined to find out more, Laura returns to Belgium as a volunteer at a private hospital. Soon after arriving, she hears whispers about ghosts moving among those still living and a strange inn-keeper whose wine gives soldiers the gift of oblivion. Could this have happened to Freddie - but if so, where is he?

November 1917. Freddie Iven awakens after an explosion to find himself trapped under an overturned pillbox with an enemy soldier, a German, each of them badly wounded. Against all odds, the two men form a bond and succeed in clawing their way out. But once in No Man's Land, where can either of them turn where they won't be shot as enemy soldiers or deserters? As the killing continues, they meet a man - a fiddler - who seems to have the power to make the hellscape that surrounds them disappear. But at what price?


The Warm Hands of Ghosts was a captivating read. Arden's prose was a delight as always and I was instantly caught up in both the action and the atmosphere of the book. The story held my attention from start to finish and I was always keen to keep reading, wanting to learn what would happen next. The pacing of the tale was excellent and the conclusion satisfying. It was emotional at times, but not in a bad way. My only reservation is that, unlike Arden's Winternight trilogy, which I have read in full three times and would likely reread yet again in the future, I was happy with just a single read of this one. I enjoyed it immensely, but I wasn't as completely drawn to it as I was with the Winternight books. That is nothing to do with Arden's writing skill but rather a reflection of my personal tastes. I am still giving this book 4.5 stars and recommend it to fans of historical fiction with a fantasy twist.

No comments:

Post a Comment