Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the complimentary e-ARC and the publisher for the complimentary hardcopy. All opinions provided are my own.
The Warm Hands of Ghosts by Katherine Arden is one of those engrossing—& not in a polite way—books that grabs you & doesn’t let go.
Set during World War I & featuring two siblings—a woman & a man—who have been separated by war, this book is largely concerned with the front, the combat hospitals & ruined villages & military fortifications where protagonist Laura & her brother Freddie find themselves.
This is a world that’s been in flux for a long time. Their parents worried & warned about the end of days in the 1910s & their once outlandish, paranoid predictions feel all too real in World War I.
Former combat nurse Laura is retired but—upon receiving mysterious items that belonged to her brother & potentially contradictory news about what happened to him—she resolves to return to Europe, serve as a nurse again, & use her downtime to investigate what actually happened.
Laura’s perspective is fascinating, as is her brother’s, who we shortly learn was imprisoned in a collapsed fortification with an enemy German soldier. Left to die, the lines between sides blur, & their journey together further complicates it as their relationship is tested by violence & death, potential & actual.
The war horrors in this book are real & imagined, & there’s a visceral violence to what happens to people ravaged by war & who are ravaging others. It’s often sad & disconcerting but there is hope too, in the relationship between Laura & Freddie & their burgeoning loves.
This is a fantasy that will hold your attention, entice you & leave you feeling both hopeful & unsettled.
4.5⭐️. Out 02/13.
[ID: Jess’s hand, partially covered in a tan sweatshirt, holds the book in front of a red, orange, & green set of trees.]
Give me that HEA, please.
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