Monday, February 11, 2008
Wings to the Kingdom, by Cherie Priest
Wings to the Kingdom
In Cherie Priest’s debut novel Four and Twenty Blackbirds Eden Moore encountered and confronted the ghosts of her past. Literally. Eden is one of a gifted few who can see ghosts. Eden wishes to keep a low profile, but word gets outs and things happen (as things generally do). Eden lives in Chattanooga and there are urban legends about a local Civil War battlefield, not about regular ghosts but about some sort of guardian known as Green Eyes.
Where there were once only rumors and legends of Green Eyes on the Chickamauga battlefield visitors are now seeing ghosts and they point off in the distance to something nobody can see. The city of Chattanooga has brought in two celebrity paranormal investigators to get to the bottom of the ghost sightings, but some people wish Eden to get involved.
There are ties to the family issues from Four and Twenty, but Wings to the Kingdom is a much less personal story for Eden but rather one where she just wants to know what is going on at Chickamauga and about Green Eyes.
There may be some carry-over from Four and Twenty Blackbirds, but Cherie Priest has done another excellent job in creating for her readers a sense of Chattanooga. Because the location is so vivid, and the battlefield so fog covered eerie, Wings to the Kingdom carries atmosphere into the actual narrative. Cherie Priest builds the mystery of why the ghosts are appearing at the Chickamauga battlefield, the threats to citizens visiting the park (or sneaking into the park), Eden’s reluctance to get involved in something and raise her public profile, Eden’s family relationships, the mystery and legend of Green Eyes, and other paranormal investigators. Priest wraps everything together, though not in a neat little package where everything is explained and resolved. The result is a novel improved over her debut. Wings to the Kingdom is better than the already excellent Four and Twenty Blackbirds and should pretty well cement Cherie Priest’s status as an author to watch.