Phantom’s Mask is getting closer and closer! Book I introduced a large cast of characters, and while I highly recommend skimming at least the last few chapters of A Fallen Hero for a quick refresh before diving into the sequel, I know rereading isn’t necessarily for everyone. Book II picks up right where the debut left off, so here’s a quick guide to prepare you before you dive back in.
If you haven’t finished the first book, I strongly advise against reading any further!
The four major factions you need to know from Book I: Project Alpha, Phantom Heights, the AGC, and Avilésor, aka the Ghost Realm. Here are the most important characters in each group.
In order by age:
Jay (A3) is the leader and the oldest. His age is never confirmed, but Cato, who is seventeen, estimates Jay is only a few years older. Despite his youth, Jay has gray hair, and his eyes glow silver. Jay never asserted himself as the leader, but rather, he willingly took charge as the others looked to him for guidance. At the end of the book, his Divinity was revealed to be teleportation.
Cato (A7) is the protagonist of the series. He’s the only character told in first person POV. He doesn’t know his own age, but he’s fifteen in the prologue, and the accident occurs two years later. Although Cato was born human, he’s now half-ghost due to an accident he remembers only as a mysterious flash of green light. Cato used to go by the alias Phantom before his imprisonment at the AGC. He has black hair and pale skin; his left eye is green, his right blue. Cato revealed his ice power of cryokinesis at the end of Book I, but he has a second Divinity that’s been stirring below the surface when he’s angry. Cato is the only kálos in history with two divine powers.
Ash (A5) is a beautiful young woman with a soft voice but a mean swing when she’s wielding her metal staff. Her Divinity was not revealed in AFH. She has dark-red hair to match her red eyes.
RC (A4) is close to Ash and Cato in age. He’s a Level 4 Telekinetic, although his full power was partially neutralized for most of Book I. RC is blind in his right eye, which is marred a scar—one of many on his body. He’s the stern, silent type with a mysterious past. RC’s tan skin is the darkest of the group, and he has dark, wavy hair and violet eyes, although his blind eye doesn’t glow like his left. If he were human, RC’s roots would likely be somewhere in Latin America. His weapon of choice is a set of silver disks with retractable blades.
Axel (A6) is the rebel. Cato estimates his age to be thirteen or fourteen. Axel, like Cato, is a hybrid, but he’s half-ghost, half-nydæa—a failed experiment from Project Delta. Although the Agents believe he’s a bloodthirsty monster incapable of human speech, Axel can speak as well as anyone else and is especially fond of enunciating curse words, something Jay frequently reprimands him for. Axel has paper-white skin, jet-black hair, crimson eyes, and a total of eight short but sharp fangs. Despite his lack of a Divinity, Axel possesses superior strength and speed, enhanced senses, and an unlimited reservoir of basic power. Natural-born kálos range from Level 1 to Level 5, but Axel clocks in at an unprecedented Level 9. Axel and Cato are the only known hybrids to have kálos abilities.
Finn and Reese (A1 & A2) are ten-year-old twins who were born in Project Gamma and lived their whole lives in captivity, resulting in compromised immune systems that put them at great risk after escaping the sterilized facility. The twins are Level 2 Mind-Readers who exist to serve humankind. They follow a strict set of rules, one of which dictates ghosts are to be seen and not heard unless ordered to speak. Axel, to Jay’s vexation, nicknamed them Bot due to their robotic mannerisms and expressionless personalities. They have brown hair and blue eyes and are identical in every way; the only way to tell them apart is Finn’s hat.
Kit was six years old when she joined Project Alpha and is likely seven now. She’s a Level 1 Amínyte ghost with the ability to assume one of two forms—that of a black-and-white kitten, or that of a little girl with pale skin, long black hair, cat ears, fangs, and golden eyes. Kit’s prized possession is her Name, which is an ivory pendant she wears at all times. She’s able to communicate with cats in either form, and Cato affectionately nicknamed her Kit-Kat.
Holly Jennings served on the city council before the town fell. Although she comes across as heartless in her unwavering spite of ghostkind, she’s dedicated to the people of Phantom Heights and their safety. She likes to be in control and greatly struggles with the loss of her authority in the current society. Holly is a thin, middle-aged Caucasian woman with black hair often twisted into a tight bun.
Madison Tarrow is a professional ghost hunter and a scientist. She patented the very first ectogun design and invented the entoplasm dome surrounding City Hall. Madison has taken charge of Phantom Heights and leads the raid team into the conquered city for supply runs. She used to work as an independent researcher for the AGC but had a falling out with Agent Kovak, whom she believes is responsible for her son’s death. Madison is a middle-aged Caucasian woman who keeps her dark brown hair tied back in a ponytail.
Trey Selman is Cato’s former best friend and Madison’s current apprentice. He’s one of the few people who knew Cato’s secret about being Phantom and having supernatural abilities. Trey ventured to the AGC in Book I to steal a device that would deactivate neutralizers. Trey’s exact age is never mentioned, but he’s close to Cato in years. He has messy blond hair and a patchy beard, and survival conditions forced him to exchange his contacts with prescription goggles to cope with poor eyesight.
Wesly Cooper is a werewolf, also known as a weir or lunos. Except on the full moon and the new moon, he has control over his form-shifting between a wolf and a man and can even sustain a limbo form for a short period of time. Wes is extremely wealthy and has been accused of thievery, although illegal activity was never proven. In his wolf form, he’s a large as a draft horse. In his human form, Wes appears to be in his thirties, but his true age is unknown.
Dr. Alexandria Cooper, better known as Doc, is the primary physician in Phantom Heights. She nursed the twins back to health with the assistance of her nurses Lily and Shay. Doc is a thin, African-American woman who keeps her graying hair tied back in a bun.
Shannon Jennings is Holly’s daughter. Although she isn’t a raider and has no ghost hunting experience, she worked up the courage to sneak out of City Hall with the raid team. She has long, black hair that reaches her waist and is often braided. She’s a high-schooler, like Trey, although her age is not specified.
Vivian Tarrow is Madison’s daughter and an active raider. Although she isn’t in an apprenticeship like Trey, she’s a force to be reckoned with and has been well trained by her mom in the art of ghost hunting. Cato concocted the idea to kidnap her and blackmail Madison in AFH. Vivian has dark hair and green eyes, and although her age is not specified, she’s also a high-schooler, and it was revealed that she used to tutor Cato in algebra after school.
The AGC (Agency of Ghost Control)
Agent Kovak is the Head Agent of the AGC. He has the most to lose with the escape of his precious Alpha test subjects. He has a short temper, mocking personality, and cruel demeanor. He’s tall, clean-shaven, and as Shannon describes, “his dark eyes had a piercing quality amplified by his dangerous aura.”
Agent Byrn is Kovak’s business partner. They’re on relatively equal ground in terms of status, although he doesn’t claim the Head Agent title. Byrn, unlike Kovak, is not a ghost hunter by nature and usually handles the paperwork side of the AGC. Shannon describes him as “shorter and stockier, and he had a weird sort of strut-walk Shannon related to a fat rooster. His straw-colored hair was slicked back with too much hair gel, and his cheeks were always flushed as if he’d been jogging, which was an unlikely event.”
Dr. Anders is the primary physician of the AGC, which means he’s the doctor who conducted most of the painful experiments on the Alpha test subjects. Cato associates the smell of peppermint with Dr. Anders because he’s always chewing gum. The doctor is passionate about his work, but little else interests him. He’s tall but skinny and has a sandy beard trimmed close. He’s always wearing a white lab coat and wire-rimmed glasses.
Avilésor (the Ghost Realm)
Azar rules the Realm with absolute authority. His official title is Warden, but he’s also the lawmaker, judge, jury, and prosecutor. Azar is a Netherkinetic with control over darkness and shadows. His hopeless task is to try and unite his people against the threat building in the Human Realm, and he hopes the Alpha fugitives will give him answers about the AGC’s top-secret weapon being developed. His appearance is described as, “ebony skin as dark as a moonless Cröendorian night, the irises of his ruby eyes glowing. His black hair was sheared short with swirling patterns shaved away, a closely-trimmed beard tracing his jawline.”
Hassing is the Captain of the Guard. He is Azar’s second-in-command and controls both the Prison Guard and the Shadow Guard. Captain Hassing is an Ectokinetic, able to manipulate and supercharge ectoplasm in ways other ghosts can’t. His black hair is tied back into a short ponytail, and he wears a high-collared cloak as part of his uniform. He has glowing green eyes. Hassing’s mount, which hasn’t been seen yet, is named Titon.
Rayven is Azar’s slave. Like Kit, Rayven is an Amínyte kálos, although his animal form is a raven with a white-tipped wing. He’s able to communicate with birds in the corvid family—crows, magpies, ravens, jays, et cetera, effectively turning any of these birds into spies. In his ghost form, Rayven is always shirtless with baggy pants cut off at the knees. He has golden eyes; long, straight black hair with a griffin feather tied in his locks; and tan skin. If he were human, his bloodlines would resemble Native American roots.
Cisco makes only a brief appearance in AFH, but he does hold the noteworthy title of being the Lieutenant of the Shadow Guard. He reports directly to Captain Hassing. Cisco is a Sensor with the ability to detect a ghost’s Divinity and power level as well as any strengths and weaknesses. RC smashed a car through a building to allow Ash and Cato to escape from the lieutenant when he had them cornered.
Officer Jana, likewise, has only a brief cameo, but she makes the list of characters to know. Her Divinity is remote-viewing, which allows her to meditate and glean information from a distance. Usually, this is a useful ability when tracking fugitives, but because she didn’t know the identities of the Alpha ghosts, she struggled to locate them with her power. When she did manage to locate Axel after holding a crow that he’d killed, he sensed her watching, and Captain Hassing ordered her to cease reconnaissance immediately.
Hopefully that refresher helped pull your imagination back into the world of Avilésor and Phantom Heights! Phantom’s Mask hits the ground running… so brace yourself and hold on for the ride!