Cherie Priest,
Wings to the Kingdom
(Tor, 2006)

We first met Eden Moore in Four & Twenty Blackbirds, Cherie Priest's first novel and the first of three featuring this young, mixed-race girl from Chattanooga, Tennessee, who sees ghosts. Now older, wiser and a little more adventurous, Eden returns in Wings to the Kingdom.

Eden's reputation for seeing ghosts has spread, and people seek out her assistance even though she can't control the ability the way they want. But when the honored dead of the Battle of Chickamauga, a major engagement in the Civil War, begin manifesting and silently pleading for help, she cannot resist getting involved.

Sure, her own investigation is complicated by the appearance of a ghost-hunting team from TV, and no one is sure what role the local legend Old Green Eyes, who has apparently prowled the region since long before the battle took place, is playing in all this. Oh, and an unexpected visit from Malachi -- Eden's semi-mad cousin who, in the previous book, tried several times to kill her -- just adds spice to the proceedings.

Eden grows a lot in this book. I ended Blackbirds not really sure how well I knew her, but I know her pretty well now. She also gains a stable of supporting characters that add a lot to the book, and the dialogue flows smoothly. She also creates a sense of place that will have readers believing they've been there before.

Overall, I'd call Kingdom the superior book. Priest certainly stepped up her game between the first and second book. Not only is character development improved, but the story is richer and, dare I say, creepier. There are some real hair-raising scenes in this one. Well done.

book review by
Tom Knapp

6 November 2010

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