Psychologist Elizabeth Cole prepared for the worst when she accepted a job on a newly discovered world—a world where every colonist is tethered to an alien who manifests in the form of a dead loved one. But she never expected she’d struggle with the requirement to shun these “ghosts.” She never expected to be so attracted to the charming Irishman assigned as her supervisor. And she certainly never expected to discover she died in a transport crash en route to the planet.
As a ghost, Elizabeth is symbiotically linked to her supervisor, Murphy—creator of the Ghost Protocol, which forbids him to acknowledge or interact with her. Confused and alone—oppressed by her ghost status and tormented by forbidden love—Elizabeth works to unlock the secrets of her own existence.
But her quest for answers lands her in a tug-of-war between powerful interests, and she soon finds herself a pawn in the struggle for control of the planet…a struggle that could separate her forever from the man that she loves.
Sharon Fisher’s Ghost Planet starts out very strongly. While the synopsis does give away the premise of the novel, the initial approach and the manner in which Elizabeth finds out that she is dead are interesting and kept me reading. Elizabeth is initially a very engaging character and her struggle both with herself and with the world are expressed in a very intriguing manner. Elizabeth’s conflict about her identity is easy to relate to – if she is not human, than what is she and how can she be any different when she feels exactly the same as she did before she did? Which brings her to her second struggle – being accepted by the world in which she exists as a person despite not being one in the traditional sense of the word. I don’t think the identity issues are explored to my liking. It felt like there was so much more that could have gone, the depths remained unexplored and my questions about the nature of the aliens were unanswered.
Elizabeth’s struggle for acceptance is interesting because when she had human status, she actively followed in spurning the “ghosts” though having qualms about it. Her gradual realization of the unexpected humanity of the ghosts makes for an interesting read. The earlier parts where Elizabeth is actively working on combating the general idea about ghosts are the strongest in the novel. I felt that the shift towards romance detracted from the entire novel because the focus shift takes away from more important matters. The novel becomes a romance novel than an intriguing scifi novel. The emphasis on the romance was really not necessary and I would have liked it better had the romance been the kind that simmered slowly and not necessarily been an all-consuming passion.
The scientific side of the novel also goes haywire when things inexplicably start happening. That is, it never is explained why ecology and nature reacts so favorably to amiable interaction between ghosts and their partners. I would have liked more information and this issue becoming a larger focus of the narrative but alas, everything is subsumed by the grand passion of the main characters. I was disappointed because I had walked into the book thinking it was a sci-fi with smatterings of romance. Instead, I found a romance novel disguised as a sci-fi thriller. People who go in expecting a romance will not be disappointed at all. It was actually totally my fault for not reading the synopsis more closely. Anyway, in conclusion, romance fans will enjoy this one a lot. Non-romance fans may have trouble with it.