In Phantomarine by Claire Niebergall, a ghostly princess must face a cavalcade of challenges in order to return herself and her friends to life.
The story begins with Phaedra Philemon, the late Manta Princess, arriving at the Horizon Line and challenging Cheth, a shape-shifting deity. While she is armed with a sword, she soon determines that her best bet at victory is to challenge the God of Death to a battle of the wits. The prize? A return to world of the living for her and her friends!
While Phaedra may succeed in besting the deity in their wager, the story proves to be more complicated than that: it turns out that Cheth already has history with the Philemon family, including with Phaedra’s late father, Pharos (and this may have caused a grudge or two to accumulate).
Nevertheless, Phaedra manages to overcome Cheth in the battle of the wits, and so Cheth is forced to honor the agreement. However, because of limitations placed by Cheth’s sister, only one person’s soul can be returned – and because Phaedra wanted five people returned to life, her soul is split into five pieces. The result is that Phaedra and her friends are transformed into phantoms of their former living selves.
According to Cheth, there is a way that Phaedra can return herself and her friends to life: rumors tell of a hidden relic with the power to return life to seaghosts. The catch? The dead can’t retrieve the necessary artifact, so Phaedra will be forced to enlist some fresh blood to accomplish her goals.
You especially won’t want to miss Niebergall’s artwork in Phantomarine, as it is absolutely breathtaking, providing a colorful and distinctive version of the afterlife that’s filled with emphatic skeletons.
Be sure to follow Niebergall on Twitter to keep up with the latest Phantomarine updates, and consider checking out the products in her online store, including paper versions of Phantomarine, or supporting her work directly through her Ko-fi account.