Unholy Magic (Downside Ghosts #2)
by Stacia Kane | Harper Voyager (July 2010)
Ebook, 360 pages | Urban Fantasy
Carolyn’s Original Review: June 2010
Original Rating: 5/5
Carolyn’s Take: City of Ghosts is full of witchy magic, action and romance, I literally couldn’t put this book down until I had read the very last word. I could go on and on about these books, they are just so brilliant! If you haven’t started this series, you MUST!
Book two in this great urban fantasy series and the writing has definitely got better in this instalment. This book focusses on the two faces of Chess as she bridges two worlds. The junkie with connections to the drug underworld of Downside, and the respectable church debunker who has been commended for her investigations.
For a lot of the book it feels as though Chess is life is becoming unravelled, life without drugs an impossibility, but at the same her addictions could very well lead her to lose the job that sits at the core of her existence. This does at times makes for painful reading, you begin to realise just how deep Chess is in with her drug addiction, and the messes it leads her into left me with a mixture of feeling the need to shake or weep for her.
In her addition her relationships in particular with Terrible and Lex become more complex. There are some truly lovely scenes with Terrible and some absolutely heart-breaking ones. What was just the hint of an unusual romance is Unholy Ghosts began to sweep me away in Unholy Magic. We learn more about Terrible, the good as well as the violently ugly. And as the reader just like Chess, I fell for him and began see the man beneath the dark and tough veneer.
Lex is a character I have failed to connect with as much as Terrible and Chess. But he is also exceedingly important to the story. But I am so far struggling to see the motive behind his actions, are they driven because he genuinely cares or is there a more sinister ulterior motive?
The ghosts in this book are as nasty as before. But I also find myself becoming more and more uncomfortable with the church’s role in society. There are so many stark comparisons in this book between the seemingly respectable life and rule of the church and the bloody and unpredictable life of the poor in Downside. I couldn’t help but notice that both are equally ruthless in their own way. The boundaries just different. Who needs hell when the church can torture your ghost in the afterlife? Which then makes me wonder which society is in fact worse?
As with book one, I take my hat off to Stacia Kane for her excellent characterisation. Her excellent written, dark and complex characters are what makes this story. Couple this with a vividly drawn urban fantasy world and you have a book you’ll struggle to put down.
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