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“Downside book #3
“I’m pleased to say, that after three installments, I FINALLY understand what all the fuss over this series is about! Chess and I got off to a rocky start in the beginning but my ratings of Kane’s books have been steadily climbing which brings me to this 5 star review of City of Ghosts. There’s no shortage of action in this novel with its super-charged plot, magical machinations and relationship drama; truthfully, by the end I felt dizzy. This installment packs one heck of a punch and left me grinning from ear-to-ear!
The main story arc, as usual, revolves around a Church investigation but this one is unlike any Chess has ever worked before. She has to team-up with Lauren, a coworker who also just so happens to be the Grand Elder’s daughter. So, not only is the pressure on but Putnam doesn’t exactly play well with others. The complications don’t end there; Chess must take a blood oath of secrecy which puts her in a precarious situation with Downside’s drug lords. Needless to say, the plot keeps you on your toes because you’re constantly decoding magical rules, unearthing layer upon layer of bad guys and crossing your fingers that Putnam gets “them” before “they” get her. You’ll spend most of this book feeling both horrified and hypnotized which proves to be a weird yet surprisingly satisfying combination.
I liked that Chess’ drug use is less prevalent in this novel than in previous installments. I actually thought of her as a heroine for the first time in this series. A few of her less desirable personality traits are strangely beginning to endear her to me thanks to Kane finally revealing more about her character. Chess will never be the perfect protagonist but that’s also part of her charm. Urban Fantasy is full of beautiful people with strong morals so it’s refreshing to encounter one that’s so… un-hero like. I find it ironic that her drug addiction has actually saved her life a couple of times now too. I’m starting to think that being a junkie might actually be a vital survival tool in Downside!
After their fallout in the previous book, Terrible can’t stand to be near Chess but he can’t seem to resist her either. It’s an impossible situation that’s bound to have an explosive outcome. Their love for one another takes a somewhat violent turn but the end result was better than I could ever have hoped for! Not only is City of Ghosts the best installment yet but it’s also the one that made me fall in love with Terrible. Bahni Turpin continues to shine as the narrator of this series; she consistently nails the Downside lingo and handles Chess’ ever-changing moods like a seasoned pro. This is another prime example of a book being better in audio.
Stacia Kane has transformed this critic into a fan. Her gift for combining the most unlikely of elements is oddly compelling and makes for a truly unique Urban Fantasy experience.”
“Wow! Better than the last book, and in my opinion even better than the first (a feat which is rare in a continuing series!). Non-stop action from the get-go with some almost painfully intense and visceral moments and magic bigger and deadlier than before. There were many parts where I felt my eyes wider instinctively, or I gasped in shock, or I said "yes!" out loud. I am so addicted to this world and this story arc that even the love/sex scenes didn't put me off because they were true to life (the lives of those specific characters in that specific world anyway) and I was rooting for the characters (so to speak :P). I was so pumped at the end of this one that I immediately went online and bought the whole series. Lets hope the next installments continue to get better!”BookPolygamist wrote this review Thursday, June 13, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Again, Chess Putnam has a lot on her plate with her current debunking assignment but this time she’s having to go about it with a broken heart. Mangled human corpses are showing up on the streets in Downside and Chess is forced to team up with the Black Squad to resolve the case. She’s under a binding spell that prevents her from talking about the investigation but Bump, her drug dealer, insists on being kept informed. This means she’s got to work even more with Terrible who hasn’t forgiven her after discovering her in the cemetery with Lex in an extremely compromising situation.
The case was really exciting with lots of twists and surprises but the real draw for me this time was the mess between Terrible and Chess. He’s hurt obviously but it shows up as red hot anger. You know that Terrible has the ability to be cruel…he’s an enforcer for Bump so you expect that. But, I was unprepared for the lengths he was able to go to in his treatment of Chess. Chess’ internalizing of it brought me to tears and of course, her way of handling it was typical…at first. I saw some real growth in her as she navigated making the first, second and third attempts to repair a relationship that didn’t seem salvageable. I’m convinced now more than ever that we’re seeing the early stages of Chess fighting her way to an appropriate level of self esteem. She’s got a long way to go but she’s ultimately learning how to step outside of herself and fight for what’s important to her. She still makes just really bad decisions sometimes but Chess, for the first time, seems to be unwilling to walk away from this relationship. And when Terrible forgives, he does it in the only way he knows how…he puts all of himself into it.
This case was also a huge challenge. The Church was compromised and because Chess ended up in the middle of it, it also required Terrible and Lex to put aside their differences to support her. Again, I’m trying to dismiss Lex and he just won’t let me do it. Chess’ standing in the Church is strengthened and her relationship with Elder Griffin deepens. I keep wondering if there’s something behind his affection for Chess and his penchant for protecting her. Whatever it may or may not be, it’s a relationship that is important to both of them.
Still hooked on this series and, again, diving right back into it with the next book. I’m listening to the series and the narrator is fantastic.
“3.5”Amber R wrote this review Thursday, September 27, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“After reading, Finding Magic, Unholy Ghosts and Unholy Magic, I still wasn't crazy in love with the series like some of you. Don't get me wrong, the alternate world Stacia Kane created is both wonderful and foreboding; ghost haunting left and right, witches running around under the edict of The Church, it's Salem's nightmare come to life. Downside Ghosts is a modern ghost story with very addicting characters with layers of drama and the supernatural so interspersed one can't help but get invested in it. But it wasn't until CITY OF GHOSTS that I finally understood the WHY's (it's so addicting) and WHAT's (the worship about) of the series. The words were leaping off the pages for me and the visuals that SKane kept on throwing are so vivid, I was having a kick ass Halloween party in my head the entire time!
After reading CITY OF GHOSTS I decided that being a Debunker isn't as exciting as I made it up to be, these creatures that Chess and The Church deals with are like famished Dementors, these ghosts are too adamant for a proton pack to expel not to mention necromancers and black magic joining the mix, no wonder Chess is a junkie. If I were in her shoes, I don't think Bump or The Asians can medicate me enough to function let alone be a mediocre Debunker in the face of adversity. And it's not just enemy that creeps me out, even The First Elders of The Church are scary in their own right, they're like Nazguls with their imposing powers and appearances.
Ain't talking this shit with you, dig? Why the fuck you keep askin?
Because I want to help you. If ---
Don't need your fucking help.
Chess and Terrible: These two are angsty and passionate for each other in equal parts whether it's in a fight, in lust or in love. The love-hate, push-pull that I've witnessed the past two books is starting to make me antsy because it reached a pinnacle and it either goes down or explode like fireworks. CITY OF GHOSTS is where this aspect of the story finally had its crescendo, a bump in the tunnels and sealed in a dirty bar bathroom. Not exactly romantic but the emotions and events leading to that made it so in my book. Although I feel afraid for Chess, Terrible really said a lot of nasty things to her not only meant to hurt her feelings but burn a hole in her heart. I have a feeling Chess' heartached of Terrible and his mutton chops is far from over. His name isn't Terrible for nothing right? But in any case, I'll take it where I can so like Chess, I'm basking in Terrible's love for Chess right now.
Talk? Why? Got more lies to give me?... making me sick bein in the same room as you. Dig?
Cesaria Putnam: I really don't know how you stay lucid when you pop those pills like Tic-Tacs. The Binding Ceremony was both beautiful and painful and I don't know how Chess survived the whole thing much less stay coherent. But CITY OF GHOSTS story is my favorite amongst Chess' adventures so far, she was such a badass in this one especially the magic she pulled in the end! It was so breathtaking and I felt the rush of emotions SKane was projecting: fear, relief, courage, worry and power. For that much magic coming out of Chess' skinny frame was EPIC to witness!
So CITY OF GHOST was/is legendary! I still have a novella and two more books to go but reading the reviews it looks like SKane won't be giving me a break, I believe she plans to take me to further heights with Sacrificial Magic and Chasing Magic, the latter being released today. ”
“I was really getting frustrated with Chess and Terrible, but I got to the end and I am so pleased with them.”Christina M. wrote this review Tuesday, August 21, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“These stories of the Downside Ghosts are hopelessly addictive! There just isn't enough dark urban fantasy that rivals these. ANGELFALL had the same decrepit lurching speed as these tales do but was geared more for young adult readers. This series is fully adult and gets edgier with each subsequent installment.
COGs is no different. Delivering action sequence after action sequence of Chess in peril. But she's so tough, she never needs a man to rescue her. That is one of the things I don't like so much: Chess is almost too independent. There is no interdependence. In book three, she allows the facade of her self-preservation to crack just enough to let the one man in she is scared to trust but finds she must. In the end, Chess decides to take a leap of faith. But the big question remains: can she tow the mark?
Another five-star read!”
“I loved this book. It is URBAN FANTASY at it's best.”Funlovinlady wrote this review Thursday, April 19, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“BRAVO!!! Kane has done it again. LOVE this series.”Jennifer (a.k.a The Book Nympho) wrote this review Saturday, March 3, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Just what she needed. More filth in her soul. Someday, maybe, she would explode from it, someday maybe, every rotten thing that had every been done to her and every rotten thing she’d ever done would erupt from her in a fountain of sewage and sorrow, all those secrets she kept even from herself spilling out and adding to the muck she could never wash off no matter how hard she tried.
She’d never been bound by magic to keep those secrets. Just by her own shame.””