Author: Stacia Kane
Series: Downside Ghosts, book 4
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Random House
Source: Review copy from publisher
*Warning: This review contains spoilers from previous books*
“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.”
After waiting for a year and eight months (who was counting) finally I was able to read one of my most anticipated books of the year, Sacrificial Magic.
Sacrificial Magic starts couple of weeks after events in City of Ghosts (book three). Chess is still trying to assimilate and in someway believe than Terrible wants her and they are a couple. They are keeping their relationship secret, they don’t want people to use Chess as a weapon against Terrible. Terrible is Bump’s enforcer.
After a gruesome murder in which magic was used Chess’ drug dealer, Bump, “asks” her to investigate and find the culprit or else… At the same time Chess is giving a new debunker case by the Church, a case that takes her to a school deep into Sloban’s territory. Sloban is not only Bump’s number one enemy but Lex’s father. Before getting involved with Terrible, Chess and Lex had a fling, Lex is also one of Chess’ drugs providers.
The school case is not as easy as Chess originally thought and being in Sloban’s territory makes it even more complicated. Lex is always around trying to help her, but by helping her he’s putting her in a difficult situation with Terrible. And when Chess discovers that there is a connection between the school case and the murder in Bump’s territory things get even more complicated for Chess.
Sacrificial Magic as previous books of this series is not an easy read or one with butterflies and unicorns, completely the opposite, it’s a dark and gritty one, one that will crush your heart and will have you on the edge of your seat from the first word to the last.
It took me sometime to get into the story, maybe fifty pages or so, it wasn't that Sacrificial Magic wasn’t good or anything like that, I think my disconnection was related to the time between this book and City of Ghosts. Somehow I also forgot Downspeak and during the first chapters every time Downspeak was spoken I have to go back and read the paragraph couple of times to understand it, after a while I got used to it and it became easier to understand.
Chess is still the same broken, self-depreciated, drug addict heroine. In this installment we learn more about her past; her childhood memories give us and inside look at some of the reasons of her addiction, even though I don’t condone her addiction I kind of understand her need to get lost in the drugs stupor.
If I’m being honest I wanted to smack her more than once, her hopelessness and self-loathing got tiresome at times but at the same time I understood her and wanted to hug her and tell her everything will be better, she just needed to believe and trust herself more.
Mrs. Kane has masterfully created in Chess a heroine that shouldn't be love or accepted, but after getting to know her better we don’t have any other choice but care for her and wish for her a better and happier future. One future I hope will come someday soon.
It’s the same case with Terrible, he should be an anti-hero, he should be a man difficult to connect with or sympathize with, but after knowing him we forget his physical flaws and his job description, we start to see the real Terrible, the caring, smart and lovable man that is hidden under the rough facade, and after seeing the real Terrible we can’t help to love him.
Lex plays a bit role in this installment, page after page he is testing Chess commitment to Terrible just by being close to her. He shows us once more that in his way he really cares for Chess and wants her to be ok. There is a change of power at the end of the book, one that left me dying to get my hands in the next book, Chasing Magic (06/26/2012).
New characters are introduced in this book, characters I wish to see more of in future books, particularly Lex’s sister Blue. From previous characters I loved Elder Griffin, in this installment it is obvious he cares for Chess; he is almost like a father figure to her, I think he suspects something about Chess addiction and I really hope to see and learn more about him in Chasing Magic.
Sacrificial Magic is not only a great addition to a great series, it is Urban Fantasy at its best. I can’t recommend enough this book and this series in general. Sacrificial Magic could be read as a stand alone but there is so much background story that to get the whole effect I think preferably they should be read in order.
My Verdict: 4 Paws
Other books in the series
City of Ghosts
Sacrificial Magic (3/27/2012)
Chasing Magic (06/26/2012)
Other reviews Goodreads
* From March 20th-27th I’m participating in a Stacia Kane Blog Hop. Don't forget to stop by, there are lots of blogs participating and giving away great prices. *