Apr 6, 2012

Posted by in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Sacrificial Magic by Stacia Kane (Downside Ghosts #4)

Urban Fantasy
March 27 2012
Mass Market Paperback
416 pages
Del Rey
Received from publisher

Kick Ass Chick – Chess Putnam

From Goodreads –
When Chess Putnam is ordered by an infamous crime boss—who also happens to be her drug dealer—to use her powers as a witch to solve a grisly murder involving dark magic, she knows she must rise to the challenge. Adding to the intensity: Chess’s boyfriend, Terrible, doesn’t trust her, and Lex, the son of a rival crime lord, is trying to reignite the sparks between him and Chess.

Plus there’s the little matter of Chess’s real job as a ghost hunter for the Church of Real Truth, investigating reports of a haunting at a school in the heart of Downside. Someone seems to be taking a crash course in summoning the dead—and if Chess doesn’t watch her back, she may soon be joining their ranks.

As Chess is drawn into a shadowy world of twisted secrets and dark violence, it soon becomes clear that she’s not going to emerge from its depths without making the ultimate sacrifice.


Sacrificial Magic is the fourth book in Stacia Kane’s dark and gritty Downside Ghosts series.  I can’t say why but it took me quite a while to really get into this book but once I did, wow!

Right from the get go you are thrown into the action.  You tag along as Chess takes care of a job as a Debunker (basically she banishes crazy creepy and mostly violent ghosts) then you follow her to Church where she received a new assignment.  And this new assignment is a very interesting job indeed.  When she arrives at the school that is supposedly being haunted, the questions that pile up are unbelievable!  There is no way of knowing where the story is headed!  Then slowly things unravel and come to light and just then you think Chess has come to the end of it…you realize she hasn’t and the mystery builds and gets even more intense!  Yes I realize that that is a lot of exclamation marks but trust me, each one is deserved!  I found the ‘mystery-solving’ aspect of this installment to be stellar.  The twists were wonderful and when you finally find out the whole truth of what is going on…wow.

Chess is great in this book.  Okay, maybe not the whole book but she gets there eventually.  Truth be told, I wanted to smack her for about 85% of the book.  She is finally with Terrible and things are going great but she is so dead set on questioning why he’s with her and she’s continually counting down the moments until he ‘realizes he should be with someone else’ that she not only sabotages her relationship but she drives the reader freaking nuts!  Yes, the drugs and her upbringing and all that plays a role in her behavior and therefore it is character appropriate, but it is also, at times, just too much for me.  It goes back to one of my pet peeves where the heroine doesn’t realize that she is actually insulting the hero by thinking she’s not good enough for him.  If that were true, why would he be with her?  But when things get straightened out between Chess and Terrible the scene is actually really nice and finally near the end when Chess seems to get stronger and break through some sort of emotional barrier, well that scene is awesome.  I really hope we continue seeing this ‘new Chess’ in the next installment because I am so proud of her and I want to see her continue to ‘grow’.

Terrible is…Terrible.  He’s not changed much in this book but he really didn’t need to.  He just needs to show up on the page and it’s practically impossible to focus on anything else.  He is an enforcer but there is so much to him.  He’s considered ugly but he is beautiful at heart.  He’s just a really well written character that continues to impress.

I enjoyed reading Lex this time around and we get to meet his sister in this book and I found her to be well done.  Lex really is a good friend to Chess and it was nice to be able to see him at his best.  But man his role is about to change and I am super curious to see where it’s going.  Lex’s sister is all over the place in this book.  One second you hate her and the next you like her.  I think she has the potential to also become a friend for Chess and she’s another character I am looking forward to revisiting in the next installment.  I also really like Elder Griffin.  He’s almost like a father figure to Chess but his role too may be changing.  So many things to look forward to in book five, Chasing Magic,and thank goodness not too long to wait since it’s due to release June 26th2012.

As you can see there is a lot of interesting things that happen in this book with and to the characters. And the mystery is really gripping.  So I can’t even begin to tell you why it took me about half the book to really get into it.  But I can tell you that once I hit that mark where I got totally sucked in, it was hard to put this book down.  Stacia did a fantastic job continuing to develop the extremely unique world that she has created and makes it that we can never be sure where she is taking us.  The book is as hard and raw as the others in the series and continues to be a shining example of how dark urban fantasy should be written.  Fans of the genre can’t miss this series and fans of the series will be very pleased with this book.

 4 stars

Giggle worthy quotes

“If she hadn’t been blushing before, she definitely was now.  And if the two men Slobag brought with him hadn’t  thought or known she’s slept with Lex, they definitely did now.

And Lex…he remembered her ink that well – remembered her naked body that well?  She’s never thought he’d paid that much attention to those particular parts of her.  They were usually busy with far more fun ones.

But then, she supposed if she thought about this, she could remember in vivid detail, too.  Just like she could remember Terrible’s.  That thin line of hair down his stomach – she’s never thought she’s like that, but she did, a lot – the scars and ink on his arms and side and back; she could draw those from memory, couldn’t she?

Just like she could remember the way he’d looked at her the first time he saw her naked – the way he looked at her every time – the way his hands slid over her stomach, he ribcage, and farther up – ‘Huh?  What?’

‘What kinda power they tryna raise by killing people?’

Oh.  Right.  Dead body.”

Note worthy quote

“Love was full of secrets.  Love masked so many evils.  Love controlled people, it lied to them, it made them believe things that weren’t true and it hid the truth from them.  People said love was blind, but what they meant was that love blinded them.  It made them more vulnerable than anything else could.

And it felt so fucking good.”

Books in the Downside Ghosts series –
Unholy Ghosts
Unholy Magic
City of Ghosts
Sacrificial Magic
Chasing Magic (June 2012)

  1. Nice review, this series is on the wishlist. I am looking forward to reading it.

  2. I read a lot of good reviews on this serie but I don’t know why, I’m kind of afraid to read it. But now, I read your quotes and I’m becoming really interested!
    No!! I won’t buy this serie, I won’t buy this serie…Who believes me?

  3. I so wonder why this series did not work for me..was it too gritty? Was it Chess? Terrible? I sadly never got the fever

  4. aurian – You have to go into it knowing that it is very different than anything you would have ever read and that the first book is good but the next books are awesome!

    Zendastark – It does take some getting used to but once you are sucked in, you are in for good. 😉

    blodeuedd – Yeah…maybe too dark for you? It does take time to process it all. Maybe it’s just not meant to be for you…. But don’t worry. I still like you. 😉

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