Jun 21, 2012

Posted by in Reviews | 7 Comments

Review: Chasing Magic by Stacia Kane (Downside Ghosts #5)

Urban Fantasy
June 26 2012
Mass Market Paperback
416 pages
Del Rey
Received from NetGalley

Kick Ass Chick – Chess Putnam

From Goodreads –

Magic-wielding Churchwitch and secret addict Chess Putnam knows better than anyone just how high a price people are willing to pay for a chemical rush. But when someone with money to burn and a penchant for black magic starts tampering with Downside’s drug supply, Chess realizes that the unlucky customers are paying with their souls—and taking the innocent with them, as the magic-infused speed compels them to kill in the most gruesome ways possible.

As if the streets weren’t scary enough, the looming war between the two men in her life explodes, taking even more casualties and putting Chess squarely in the middle. Downside could become a literal ghost town if Chess doesn’t find a way to stop both the war and the dark wave of death-magic, and the only way to do that is to use both her addiction and her power to enter the spell and chase the magic all the way back to its malevolent source. Too bad that doing so will probably kill Chess—if the war doesn’t first destroy the man who’s become her reason for living.


Chasing Magic is the fifth book in Stacia Kane’s incredibly original Downside Ghosts series.  I think I say this every time but dark and gritty really do describe this series perfectly.  Chasing Magic brings us along on yet another case that Chess has to solve and brings us more heart stopping moments where we hold our breath wondering if everything will turn out okay.  And of course, Chasing Magic gives fans of the series what we all really want:  LOTS of time with Terrible.

This time around, the ‘case’ that Chess has to solve is one that affects Downside in its entirety.  Someone is lacing drugs with ectoplasm causing people to go a little insane.  And by a little of course I mean they go bat-sh*t crazy and dismember one another and beat each other up with the body parts they just removed.  Yeah…yum.  Chess takes on this ‘case’ pretty much of her own will because it’s affecting the place she lives and the people she considers friends.  It’s a nasty disgusting case and with Stacia’s way of writing things so vividly, you picture everything as Chess and company sees it.  So pretty much, it’s gross, disgusting and really cool.  It’s also a very interesting storyline that will keep you guessing until the end.

Downside is ‘handled’ by two men:  Bump and now Lex.  Bump is Bump, not much to add to that really.  But Lex…OMG!  He’s in charge of his side now and, understandably, he needs to do what he needs to do.  But why did he feel he needed to do what he’s planning on doing?!  I really liked him and now I’m not too sure.  That just shows how well Stacia can twist a story and a character until we don’t know how we truly feel about them anymore.  But as of right now, I am sort of hating Lex a little bit.

Elder Griffin…*sigh* This man is a father figure to Chess.  She has never really had anyone truly believe in her other than him so that relationship is very precious.  In this installment, that relationship is put through quite a challenge and I wonder if it will ever be able to be as it was before.  My heart broke for Chess.  I think she did the right thing in bringing Elder Griffin into the loop the way that she did but it still hurt to see Chess affected so much.  And it hurt just as much to see how much Elder Griffin was affected by what Chess shared too.

Let’s not forget to talk about Terrible.  Then again, how can anyone forget to talk about Terrible?  I am always amazed at how drawn to this character I am.  I mean, he’s described as ugly, scarred, rough and tough and everyone is afraid of him!  Yet when we read him, we see past all this to the ooey-gooey center where he is a tender and sweet man who has so much to give.  He isn’t the most intelligent person so his dialogue is pretty basic, but he is so street smart!  I love watching him try to figure out a case with Chess.  I am always impressed with their teamwork.  And Terrible ‘with’ Chess is just so sweet.  Again, because his dialogue isn’t eloquent at all, the words he uses to tell Chess how he feels are almost childlike but they are spoken with such heart, such truth that you melt at their honesty.  There are a lot of moments like that in this book because Terrible is in almost every scene – it’s awesome.  Stacia has perfected the anti-hero in Terrible.  He really is an incredible character, and with Chess, he’s perfect.

I only wish Chess would get off her ‘boo-hoo’ train.  It wasn’t nearly as bad this time around but it was still there.  Yes, I know she is high all the time and that her low self esteem causes her to doubt everything that is good in her life, but sometimes it’s just a bit much.  Don’t question too much – it becomes insulting to the person who loves you and who wants to be with you.  And she is often talking about how she is a liar and had a bunch of secrets and how she is convinced that if Terrible finds out, he’ll leave.  Often I wish she just told him everything, be completely honest with him, because I don’t think he would judge her as she fears he would.  I think he would get it since he has not had the easiest life either and he’s done some pretty stupid stuff too.  I just wish she trusted him a bit more with what makes her tick.  I still believe that Chess is a brilliantly written character; it’s just that sometimes her quirks rub me a bit.  But there is a moment near the end of the book and there’s promise there.  I’m anxious to see if things get a little happier for Chess in the next installment.

Stacia always starts off her Downside books with Chess on a case and it’s always a wild ride.  She does an amazing job gripping her readers right from the get-go.  This installment starts you off high and just keeps you going.  It’s not heart gripping the entire time but even when Chess and Terrible aren’t running for their lives, you are still fully involved in the story and the investigation behind it.  Stacia did a great job with the pacing in this book.  And the ending…I think fans of the series will be quite pleased.  All in all, Stacia does a superb job with this installment.

4.5 stars

*sigh* worthy quote –

“Shit.  You so fuckin pretty, Chessie.  True thing.  So…ain’t even can breathe sometimes.”

Books in the Downside Ghosts series –
Unholy Ghosts
Unholy Magic
City of Ghosts
Sacrificial Magic
Chasing Magic

  1. Allison says:

    I am so jealous!!!!!!!!! I wish I could take the 26th off & just read all day. CANNOT wait for this book!

  2. Sighs, that was a lovely quote 🙂

  3. Aw! Enjoyed that!

  4. Allison – You will love it! 🙂

    blodeuedd – *sigh* It is a pretty quote…

    Diane – 🙂

  5. Great quote selection, Julie!! And fantastic review. I love Terrible too. And Chess frustrates me. I really need to see some more growth from her. Her moment of weakness here almost did me in….

  6. Jen – We feel the same way about this book! 🙂

  7. Glad you enjoyed it so much! This is my 4th review of this book today, and everyone is over the moon with it!

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