A Feast of Phantoms (Lingua Magika #1)
by Kat Ross
Genre: Weird Western
Content Rating: PG for some violence, suggestions of abuse and abduction.
It was supposed to be simple.
Help Marshal Sebastian Hardin escort his prisoner one stop on the railway to Charter Oak.
Just one stop.
But when that prisoner is a savant who talks to ghosts, even the simplest plans have a way of falling apart.
Sheriff’s Deputy Ruth Cortez always does the right thing. Lucky Boy is a company town, dependent on the rich and powerful Carnarvon family. Besides which, the charismatic Sebastian Hardin isn’t an easy man to say no to. When his transport derails in the middle of the prairie, Ruth begins a relentless manhunt that leads straight into the dark heart of the Carnarvon empire.
Lee Merriweather favors sharp suits and fast trains – especially when he’s stealing them. At the ripe old age of 18, he’s managed to become the most wanted criminal in three territories. Lee can’t resist playing cat and mouse with a small-town deputy, but what starts as a game becomes deadly serious.
Sebastian Hardin is the Carnarvons’ right hand, loyal to the death and willing to keep any secret to protect the family. They want Lee alive, but with the young savant’s disturbing abilities it won’t be an easy proposition. Whoever catches Lee gets the keys to the kingdom and the Carnarvons aren’t the only ones hunting him down. Sebastian has enough problems without falling for Deputy Cortez – but you can’t always choose who you love.
They terrorized the settlers until Calindra Carnarvon learned to speak their language. Her empire relies on controlling their telekinetic powers, but Lee Merriweather could destroy it all. And not even Lee suspects the shocking truth of the phantoms’ real nature.
Wow. Just, wow.
This new world of Lingua Magika is an absolute masterpiece. I make no attempt to hide the fact that I love Kat Ross’ fantasy series and her Gaslamp Gothic series. However, the worldbuilding in A Feast of Phantoms left me begging for more. It lit up my brain in a way that I can hardly explain. I wanted more. I needed more.
The story centers around Deputy Ruth Cortez, her gun Doc and their run-in with Marshal Sebastian Hardin and Lee Merriweather four enigmatic and likeable characters. Cortez is a by-the-book character of high morals. Doc is a phantom cursed to live in a gun, and he has highly questionable motives and morals. Merriweather is a genius who broke loose of his leash, he’s just looking for the fun he’s been denied his whole life. Hardin is 100% a company man, He hardly sleeps because he’s so devoted to serving the Carnarvon’s.
Upon the canvas of her genius worldbuilding Ross paints the intersection of these four characters, their motives and their strong wills and it is *chef’s kiss* perfect.
Then there are the villains. Sometimes is difficult to know who exactly is a villain, but the main villains who are revealed in the later half of the book and just too creepy and terrible.
I haven’t even talked about the inventiveness of lingua magika yet. This magic system really ties the whole feeling of the book together. It’s fanatical yet defines the fantasy genre in so many ways.
It all just leaves you wanting more.
Get it. Read it. Love it. If my stars on most other books are Yelp stars, this book gets Michelin stars. It’s on a whole other level of good.
The third book is coming out later this year and it promises to be a humdinger.
“How to explain the way Lee made me feel? Like I was holding hands with my dad on his deathbed and he asked me to swear something infinitely precious and reasonable before he exhaled his last breath.”