Narrator: Bahni Turpin
Series: Downside Ghosts #4
Published by Blackstone Audio, Del Rey on March 27, 2012
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Length: 13 hours 51 minutes
READING, WRITING, AND RAISING THE DEAD
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.From the Paperback edition.
My Initial Reaction…
This series just keeps getting better and better! What can I say about Sacrificial Magic? Talk about emotional torture of the best kind! Not to mention the amazballs action you always get from Stacia Kane!
Note: Expect series spoilers!
Bahni Turpin is the perfect fit for this series. She’s made the Downside world so incredibly real for me and I can’t imagine reading these books without her. I have a few favorite narrators and I can’t imagine even one of them doing this series. She’s made each character have such an amazingly strong and unique voice, not to mention made the unique Downside language the Stacia created work for me. I definitely recommend listening to this series.
OMG, Chess has officially broken my heart with Sacrificial Magic. We’ve known for a while that she’s running from a horrible past by using her drugs and every bit that I see of that past breaks my heart. But in Sacrificial Magic we see her vulnerability like never before. She and Terrible are really trying this relationship thing and she just doesn’t know how to do it. How to feel for someone. But she wants to. So she’s trying so hard. She’s trying to be honest with Terrible, even when it scares her. And it scares her so much because she doesn’t believe she’s worth loving. You’ve always known she didn’t think much of herself, but she broke my heart over and over as how little she thinks of herself came through. But she grew hard core in Sacrificial Magic and I can’t wait to see what she’ll do next.
And then there’s Terrible. Gah this man is so beautiful despite being physically so ugly. I think it’s such a brilliant juxtaposition that Stacia created in him. He’s your noble gangster, with feelings and intelligence and heart, despite what it might seem. And he doesn’t really know how to do this relationship thing either, but he knows how to care about Chess, if she’ll let him and trust him. Every time he called her “Chessiebomb” I think I wanted to melt a little, because it’s such a horrible endearment and yet it works so well for them. I don’t think I’ve wanted happiness and good things for a couple like this in such a long time. They just have both had so many rough knocks and deserve better and yet fate seems really against them. Fingers crossed they beat fate.
I don’t know how everyone else feels about Lex, but I seriously like him. No, he’s not right for Chess, but I seriously believe he is a good guy – at least when you let go of the Downside Gangster part of him. I think he loves Chess and if could let their past fade a bit, I think he would realize that she’s someone he’s always loved as a friend. Sex just confused things a bit. Things are about to get really crazy where he’s concerned, though, and I just hope that he doesn’t change for the worse. And that somehow things work out for him, Chess, and Terrible – I think they could all be friends, if it weren’t for the world they live in.
Oh and can I just say how much I loved Elder Griffin in Sacrificial Magic? I mean we haven’t gotten to know him all that well – but I feel like he’s that father figure that Chess so desperately needs in her life. A decent man who only wants good things for her. I hope we keep seeing more of him as the series progresses.
In Sacrificial Magic, as always, Chess gets a job from the Church that just so happens to coincide with what’s going on in Downside (I have to say – I’m getting a bit tired of how these two elements always overlap – I still loved this book, but come on, let’s find a new way for the two parts of her life to meet, shall we?). The job she gets from the Church is about a haunting at a Downside School, on Lex’s side of town. That creates two problems – one, it’s Lex’s (aka not Terrible’s); two – Lex’s side of town has a problem with the Church. They tend to be people who believed in Ancestor Worship before the Church took over and they still cling to that a bit. Not to mention the actual ghost problem.
As always, the way that Stacia explains and describes the magic is fantastic. You can see what’s happening so vividly and it gets pretty intense. Things are also really heating up between the two crime lords of Downside – Bump and Slobag. I love this aspect of the series, especially since Chess is right smack dab in the middle and I find myself (like her) caring for people on both sides. Things get seriously complicated, confusing, and intense – poor Chess has an attempt on her life (Again!) and we end up watching a massive turf war, all while a magically battle is also going down. It kept me glued until the final page!
I don’t know what I liked more about this book – the sexual tension between Chess and Terrible or the explosive action. Either way, it was fantastic!