Friday, September 23, 2011

Review: Phantom Lives: Collier by Elizabeth Loraine

Phantom Lives: Collier
by Elizabeth Loraine
Release Date: August 18, 2011
2011 Arrais, Inc.
E-book Edition; 336 Pages
ISBN: 978-1466248229 (Softcover, September 2, 2011)
ASIN: B005I57M6C
Genre: Fiction / Paranormal
Source: Review Copy from Mystical Book Blog Tours

4 / 5 Stars

Abigail Black, an heiress from Memphis is on the run from her abusive boyfriend, Dallas. In the process she finds out that there she is being pulled towards something, and someone, that she thought only existed in her dreams.

Another page turning adventure from Elizabeth Loraine. Phantom Lives intertwines the modern world with the post Civil War world of Collier, a plantation Abigail had dreamt about her entire life. Now she is about to find out why. Another fantasy world of spirits and immortals is built in a way which fans of Ms Loraine’s will again thoroughly enjoy. Find out who Abigail was in the past and how it changes everything.

My Thoughts
Phantom Lives: Collier was an interesting paranormal tale, one with a bit of a gothic feel to it as the main character Abigail dealt with recurring dreams, secrets, paranormal visitations, and a burgeoning ability that left her wondering what was really going on in her world.  I really enjoy novels that have their primary setting in old plantation homes as well as castles, manors, and anything along those lines, so this novel caught my attention pretty much due to its setting.   With ghosts, secrets to be uncovered, magical gateways, other worlds, and burgeoning magical abilities in the main characters, there was a lot in this novel that was intriguing and fun to read.

As a main character, Abigail defininitely had a lot to offer.  Being chased by an abusive boyfriend, Abbi heads south and to her surprise, discovers a dilapidated plantation right from her dreams, and decides to buy it on the spot.  Using money from an inheritance, Abbi sets about restoring the mansion, and along the way meets a slew of characters who help her along her restoration path.  But Abbi is in for an even greater surprise as she discovers the mansion has a mind of its own and sets about discovering its secrets and its past, realizing there is a connection to her own past.  I found these scenes of self-discovery really interesting as the jump from past to present were done seamlessly and I had no trouble figuring out what century I was reading about.  Time travel is something I enjoy, but this was something a little different as the house was showing Abbi what it looked like in the past in order to help her restore it to its glory.  I am wondering as I write this if the house will play a great role in events in future novels as there was so much emphasis on it.  I was actually quite impressed with the jumps back in time, as well as to other worlds, and enjoyed how they were done.  I actually would like to learn more about some of the other worlds that were visited as they sound quite fascinating.

While Abbi was a fun and engaging character, there were times when her constant optimism did wear on my nerves and I would have liked to see broader emotions from her.  I don't really feel like she developed as a main character, but basically stayed the throughout the novel, even as she developed her powers and grew more confident.  I prefer my characters to be less two-dimensional and somewhat more flawed in nature.  Bill had a bit more fight in him, as some of the arguments with the 'ghosts' attest to, but it makes the events seems more real in light of events.  While I can see general acceptance occurring, there must have been some skepticism and doubt in some of the characters and not always this blind obedience and trust.  Arguments are bound to happen to people who are dealing with new events and circumstances; it's just a normal thing.  While there was some discord, I don't think there was enough to really get across the big changes that were happening in these characters' lives.

I did enjoy the plot quite a bit, and thought the novel was well-written, with a lot of interesting dialogue, but I was a little disappointed in the ending as I felt it was rushed after all the build-up and didn't really live up to the expectations.  While I do understand this is only the first novel in a planned series, there were also a lot of unanswered questions, and while this can be a good thing as it makes the reader want to come back for home, there are some things that should have been resolved more succintly.  The final events surrounding Dallas and his minions was a bit of a let-down in my opinion, and I don't really feel like I got enough information about his role in everything.  Perhaps more will be explained in the second book.

Phantom Lives: Collier definitely had a lot to offer and I found many parts to be intriguing and fun to read.  There were a couple twists and turns that I wasn't expecting, and with secrets to be revealed, this is always an attention-getting writing device that intrigues me.  While I would have liked to have seen an ending that was more consice and with more of a climax, the creativity and imagination in this novel, as well as a host of interesting characters, make this one worth taking a look.


  1. I haven't heard of this one yet, though it's not really my genre.

    Good review!

  2. I haven't come across this book yet either, but I'm a fan of stories where inanimate objects have a consciousness (not like straight-up haunted houses, like like Stephen King's Rose Red). Bummer to hear about the rushed ending, but I still think I'm gonna check this one out. Thanks for the rec!