City of Ghosts by Stacia Kane | Audio Review

April 23, 2014 Reviews 6

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
City of Ghosts by Stacia Kane | Audio ReviewCity of Ghosts by Stacia Kane
Narrator: Bahni Turpin
Series: Downside Ghosts #3
Published by Blackstone Audio, Del Rey on July 27, 2010
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 337
Length: 13 hours 17 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased


Chess Putnam has a lot on her plate. Mangled human corpses have started to show up on the streets of Downside, and Chess’s bosses at the Church of Real Truth have ordered her to team up with the ultra-powerful Black Squad agency to crack the grisly case.

Chess is under a binding spell that threatens death if she talks about the investigation, but the city’s most notorious crime boss—and Chess’s drug dealer—gets wind of her new assignment and insists on being kept informed. If that isn’t bad enough, a sinister street vendor appears to have information Chess needs. Only he’s not telling what he knows, or what it all has to do with the vast underground City of Eternity.

Now Chess will have to navigate killer wraiths, First Elders, and a lot of seriously nasty magic—all while coping with some not-so-small issues of her own. And the only man Chess can trust to help her through it all has every reason to want her dead.From the Paperback edition.

My Initial Reaction…

Wow! That was incredible! Despite having one of the most frustrating heroines, this series is quickly becoming a favorite. And the heroine? I officially kind of love her too!  (there will be some series spoilers here… sorry, couldn’t avoid it and gush like I wanted to!)

The Narration…

Thank you for reading this series, Bahni Turpin, so I don’t have too. This is a brilliant series and one of the things that makes it brilliant is the way she’s created a slang language all her own. But I don’t think I could read it and get the meaning out the way Bahni does. Her ability to bring characters to life has landed her at the top of my go-to narrators list (though this is the only series I’ve read with her so far). If you’ve tried this series and had a hard time with the language, try again listening to Bahni.  Just sayin’

The Characters…

Chess started growing on me with Unholy Magic. I started to understand her a lot better and it got me past my dislike of her drug addiction. Sure, I still am not a fan of her addiction, but I’m way over it. And I’m starting to believe that she’ll get over it too. I see Chess thinking a lot better in this book – yes, she still makes dumb decisions and her addiction is still a handicap (which gets her into serious trouble at one point, again) – but she’s starting to make decisions that are make sense. She seems to want something from life and that’s a huge step for her. And I think it speaks volumes for the power of love.

And who does she love? Well, even if she’s having a hard time with these feelings, we recognize them for what they are. Chess loves Terrible. But, she effed that up bad in Unholy Magic… though I think loosing him was what she needed to realize exactly how much he meant to her. I was really pleased that Stacia Kane went head first into that with City of Ghosts – from the get-go, Chess is feeling horrible about the loss of Terrible as a friend. And she has lost him. Terrible feels betrayed and he’s letting her know. Talk about harsh! Every interaction with him broke my heart for the first… well, you don’t want me to spoil it for you, now do you? Let me just say, this is a couple that is seriously effed up and I want things to work for them more than most.

I have to give a quick shout out to Lex. I have always been okay with him. Sure, he’s really not right for Chess and her relationship with him never felt like more than prostituting herself for drugs. But she ends things with Lex early on in City of Ghosts and I was impressed, not only with the way he took it, but with the fact that he was still a friend to her. I hope at some point Chess will look back at some of the moments in this book and see that she is worth more than she thinks she is, because she has two guys who care for her deeply.

The Story…

As much as I love the characters, City of Ghosts has got one incredible story! The mystery kept me on my toes, guessing constantly. There is some incredible action and Chess is on it with her magic. I mean, this chick has always had the potential and we’ve seen glimpses, but in City of Ghosts she’s downright fierce. The last bit is particularly intense.

Oh wait – I forgot to tell you what’s going on, I got too excited about how awesome it was! What I love about this book is that it’s so connected to both Unholy Ghosts and Unholy Magic, in true Urban Fantasy style. As in, you won’t have a clue what’s going on if you haven’t read the first two. At the start of Unholy Magic Chess is working with the squad and they uncover illegal magic users – and it’s time for the head, Madame Lupita’s execution at the start of City of Ghosts. But things go terribly wrong and two members of the Church end up dead. It’s the start of all sorts of problems that has Chess doubting the one thing she’s always trusted in – her magic, which is Church Magic. She gets put on a case that puts her at the center of everything and it’s, once again, up to Chess to save the day. Only this time she has a partner – the Grand Elder’s daughter, Lauren – and that complicates the shit out of things. Not to mention she’s not exactly a lovely person. I loved every moment of their interactions though, and particularly seeing that Chess could hold her own with someone who’s supposed to be so much above her.

Concluding Sentiments…

I’m officially addicted to this series and can’t wait to read more. It’s action packed, sexy as hell, and bursting with magic. What more can you ask for?

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About Stacia Kane

Stacia Kane is the author of the light-hearted romantic urban fantasy “Megan Chase” series starting with PERSONAL DEMONS.

She currently writes the gritty dystopian urban fantasy “Downside” series starring Chess Putnam and featuring ghosts, human sacrifice, drugs, witchcraft, punk rock, and a badass ’69 Chevelle. She bleaches her hair and wears a lot of black.


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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

6 Responses to “City of Ghosts by Stacia Kane | Audio Review”

  1. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    I love this series too, but man . . . you are right, Chess is one of the MOST frustrating heroines I have ever come across. Sometimes I wish I could just shake her. And then shake her some more! And I LOVE Terrible. I haven’t read book 4 yet, so it looks like we’re in the same place, and now I’m HIGHLY motivated to go back to Downside Ghosts and see what happens next. Great review, Berls 😉
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    • Berls

      I recently finished book 4 – Sacrificial Magic – and you totally need to get on it. I mean, wow! Chess is really improving leaps and bounds in that one. And Terrible remains amazing!!
      Berls recently posted…Sunday Post | 39th EditionMy Profile

    • Berls

      I’m playing catch up on comments, but I still wanted you to know I appreciated your comment. So please forgive my tardy reply!

      It was definitely hard to get into – but I think it was more because I wasn’t a fan of Chess than anything. Plus the world building took time. But I’m really glad I gave it a shot – one of my favorite series now. I would recommend it 🙂
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    • Berls

      I’m playing catch up on comments, but I still wanted you to know I appreciated your comment. So please forgive my tardy reply!

      I had a rough time for quite a bit of the first one, but had heard so many good things about the series that I pushed through and ended up liking the book overall. Bahni Turpin is an amazing narrator too!
      Berls recently posted…#COYER-SV Update | Twitter Party Today!My Profile

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