Thursday, December 3, 2020

Powered by Ghosts by Kaje Harper (Spotlight, excerpt, and review)


 Powered by Ghosts

Necromancer series, Book 2

ADULT title


Kaje Harper


An untrained sorcerer and a reclusive necromancer face a ghost-infested town.

Darien is free of his dead invaders, and his eyes have opened to a new reality. In a world of sorcerers and necromancers, he's full of power and potential, but completely ignorant. Necromancer Silas, and Silas's cat familiar, Grim, are teaching him basic skills, but danger won't hold off, just because he's not ready.

Silas never planned to share his life with anyone, but after a week of shared battles and shared nights, Darien has become a fixture in his home. Silas has never met anyone with more raw magical ability, or less idea what to do with it. When Silas is offered a job hunting ghosts, he's tempted to refill his depleted bank account, but reluctant to bring untrained Darien along. Darien's eager to help, though, and eventually Silas gives in. It's just a few ghosts. Nothing he hasn't handled before. What could go wrong? 

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The nursing aide led them toward a flight of narrow stairs and on up. At the second landing she paused and gestured. “One more flight up, sirs. Then West is to your left.”

“Thank you.” Silas paused. “Can you tell me a bit about what’s going on? Doctor Cole was rather vague about it all.”

“I’m sure I couldn’t say.” She looked away.

Darien said in a warm tone, “Help a fellow out, would you? The doctor called my boss here to come in and take care of things, but all he would say was ‘some foolishness.’ That’s not much to go on.”

She turned to Darien. “Oh, well, if it would help.”

“It sure would.”

She wrung her hands, twisting her apron between her fingers. “It started with noises. People crying, from rooms we knew was empty. Thumps, like, in the hall behind us, and we’d turn and there was no one there.”

“Sounds scary.”

“I guess. I mean, this place has been here a long time. Stands to reason there might be a ghost or two. But this was more. It started… throwing things.”

“Really?” Darien sounded intrigued. “What things?”

“A nurse said it threw a bedpan at her head, when she’d just set it on the table a moment. And the man in that room was catatonic. Sure bet he didn’t do it. My friend that cleans the floors said it knocked over his bucket. Flooded the floor, and he was ten feet from it. Couldn’t be an accident.”

Silas said, “Has it hurt anyone?” Poltergeists were unusual, but not rare. Most were harmless. Some weren’t.

She eyed him, seeming more wary of him than Darien. “No, sir. Not to speak of. One of the aides said it tangled her feet with a blanket and she fell, but she barely bruised a knee.”

“Thank you.”

Nancy glanced up the stair. “Can you really get rid of it? You don’t need me no more, do you?”

“I hope I can,” Silas said. “And no, thank you. We can take it from here.”

She flashed another anxious look up the next flight, bobbed her head at each of them, and hurried off down the staircase.

Darien said quietly, “Do you believe her?”

“Oh yes. That’s not an unusual poltergeist pattern. Noises first, objects later.” He turned for the stairs. “Shields up, now. Come on.” He could see the gold glint of Darien’s powered shields out of the corner of his eye as they climbed.

At the top, the door opened into a dark hallway. He called a ball of light in his palm instead of flicking on the switch. “Ghosts don’t like bright light. It doesn’t hurt them, but it tends to drive them away. For some reason, poltergeists are less sensitive, but I want to see what we have here.”

He could hear Darien swallow. “You think it’s more than one?”

“There’s a good possibility.” He led the way to the middle of the hallway and turned in a circle, sending his search spell out. Ping, ping, here, here, here. “In fact, it’s a certainty.”

“What happens now.” Darien lowered his voice to a whisper. “Do you have to bring them to the River one by one?”

“Yes. But for a free ghost, it’s a quick process.” Usually. “If any of them have possessed a patient, that’s going to be a bit more work.”

He’d felt his cat-familiar Grim approaching through the strands of his seeking spell so only Darien jumped when Grim said out of the darkness, “This place stinks of death.”

“Don’t do that,” Darien muttered.

“Do what? Walk like a cat?” Grim head-butted Darien’s shins in a friendly way. “There’s a scullery window ajar on the ground floor, if we need a fast exit.”

“Good to know.” Silas dug in his pocket for his chalks. “Time to get to work


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My review:

4 out of 5 stars


Powered by Ghosts by Kaje Harper continues the adventures of newbie sorcerer Darien as he strives to be an equal partner to necromancer Silas. A job that requires dealing with the unexpected number of ghosts and poltergeists in a neighboring town may require talents that are beyond the fledgling sorcerer’s abilities, but finding new allies seem to be well within his capabilities.



This adult paranormal romance is the sequel to Marked by Death (my review is at this link) and continues immediately after the events in that story. Although it isn’t quite as intense as the first tale, there are fascinating elements, as well as an adorable familiar-in-training who almost steals the show. I like that Darien continues to experiment and fight to be an asset to the relationship while not being a pushover, and it is wonderful to watch the pair work to become secure in their relationship while respecting each other’s boundaries. It’s remarkable to think that they have known each other for such a short time, given how seamlessly they are learning to anticipate the other’s needs, and it’s heartwarming to see the genuine affection they display. This story would be best appreciated if the first in the series is read.



A copy was provided for review



The first in the series is FREE!

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