Viking Ghosts, eh? – a review of Spirits Rising by Krista D. Ball

Spirits Rising by Krista D. BallSpirits Rising by Krista D. Ball

When a thundering horde of drunken Vikings rush a person, it’s only natural to flinch.

Why I chose this book

This was a perfect marriage of two desires. I wanted to include at least one female Canadian author on my reading list and I wanted to spend part of my hiatus reading works by my fellow SF Canada members. The answer: Canadian Speculative fiction author Krista D. Ball.

What it’s about

Spirits Rising is a novella, the first in the Spirit Caller Series. Set in Newfoundland, the story centers on Rachel Mills, a young woman who is sensitive to the presence of “others”. That is to say, the paranormal. A talent that comes in handy when hordes of Viking and native ghosts are accidentally unleashed in her small town.

The cover blurb

Rachel Mills has one wish in life: for the spirit world to shut up and leave her alone. She thought her move to a remote fishing village in Northern Newfoundland would help.

Population: Twenty. What could go wrong?

Instead of peace, however, she relocates to a land of superstition, the air alive with the presence of others.

When a local teenager accidentally summons the spirits of the area, including those from a thousand-year-old Viking settlement, all supernatural breaks loose. As the spirits stalk her and each other, Rachel finds herself in over her head. With the help of Mrs. Saunders, her 93-year-old neighbour, Rachel has to put aside her own prejudices long enough to send the spirits back to rest, or risk being caught in the midst of a spirit war.

My thoughts

I can’t think of a more perfect setting for a tale of the paranormal than the isolated and culturally distinct province of Newfoundland. This is a quirky, fun story, as much about the eccentricities of island life as its ghostly inhabitants.

Rachel is a hero I can relate to, not for her paranormal abilities but for her struggles trying to fit in as an outsider in a remote, close-knit community. (Something I’ve had to do several times in my own life). Ball does a splendid job of capturing the highs and lows of small town life, and Rachel’s unique challenge of possessing powers the very religious folks of this tiny fishing village consider witchcraft.

The humour was the best part of the story for me. The elderly Mrs. Saunders, who is fond of a “nip” of gin now and then, even in her latte, was my favourite character, followed closely by the hapless teen, Manny O’Toole, who accidentally summons armies of the undead. Yet I never felt as if the Newfoundland people and their culture (so often targets of jokes in Canada), were being mocked or exploited.

Overall, a light, fun, quick read, I found pleasantly non-cliché.

Will I read more by this author?

Yes by!

You should read this book if…

  • You would like to experience a little bit of Newfoundland…and Viking ghosts!
  • You enjoy your paranormal stories with a dash of humour…and Viking ghosts!
  • A 77 page novella fits right in with your busy schedule.

Where to find Spirits Rising on The Zon: Spirits Rising

Up Next: Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold

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