Phantasm (Zoe Martinique, Book 3)
by Phaedra Weldon
Cover Artist: Christian McGrath
Review by Gayle Surrette
Ace Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780441017164
Date: 02 June 2009 List Price $15.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
ZoŽ Martinique has been struggling to get used to her powers -- able to step out of her body to investigate people, events, and more. She'd even come to accept the fact that she'd lost her voice to a demon while out of body. But now her mother's body is alive and her soul is gone and ZoŽ is desperate to get the two back together again. But there are problems. Aren't there always problems? Sure but they usually don't mean you lose your powers and without her powers there's little or nothing she can do to get her mother back.
Weldon has managed to keep the action, the romance, the suspense, and the interest on full-bore for two, and now three books. Throughout the series, ZoŽ has been relying on others to tell her what she needs to know. But she's now on her own. Slowly she's shed the help of anyone she believed was betraying her, and that leaves very few people to rely on, or help her. Now, she has to pay attention and she still tunes out the information in order to wonder about her life, her loves, and her problems when a bit of concentration could make all the difference to her staying alive. While extremely annoying, this habit of ZoŽ's is congruent with her characters and as much as it drives this reader up the wall, the story line and the action keep me reading in spite of the fact that sometimes I just want to whack her with a clue stick. Luckily, several other characters want to do the same thing -- more power to them.
Ultimately, ZoŽ must grow up as we all do. But before she can take that step she must delve into her own past and remember some events that were buried long ago. To find her mother, she must learn more about her and their life. ZoŽ has power but where did it come from? How did it develop? Was it inherited and if so was it from her mother? Her father? What does it mean? She must look into the past in order to find the beginning and understand herself. To do this she must accept responsibility for herself and her actions. Not an easy thing for anyone and especially hard for ZoŽ who has managed to avoid thinking for herself since the attack which released her powers. She likes to think she's in control but she just hands it over to others -- first Rhonda who found her jobs and set everything up for her, her mother, Joe (the cop who can see the dead), Dags, who now has two familiars, and Daniel who can't cope with what he's seen.
In a very strange way this is a coming of age novel, ZoŽ learns to rely on herself and her instincts and that she is responsible for her actions and the results and she'd better pay attention in the future because as Spider-man said, "with great power comes great responsibility".
This series continues to improve with each book, so check it out.