It’s not often that you will find me reading a book about a drug- addicted heroine who makes more terrible choices than Lindsey Lohan on a four day coke bender; but at the urging of my blogger friends I decided to stop being such a square and see what all the hoopla was about. As the rehab therapists would say, I had to “trust the process’.
Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghost series is dark, thrilling and gut wrenching. Chess Putnam works as the ‘Churchwich’ for a new order Church that indoctrinates the motto “Facts Are Truth”. They employ debunkers who use magic to rid the world of murderous ghosts. The world is in a post-genocide era, where the dead have risen and attack the living. The government has fallen, and the Church of Truth is now in power …
At first, I was worried that I would have a hard time connecting with Chess. Writing your main heroine as a drug addict whose life is spiraling dangerously out of control is an intricate balance. To create a sort of alternative, anti-hero who still has some redeeming qualities that allow her to appear vulnerable without playing the “Im a victim card” is the make of a truly talented writer. And that is the genius of Kane’s writing. She really makes the reader understand the depth of Chess ability to survive a life that most would turned in the keys and signed off. Abandoned and placed in foster care, her life is filled with one violation of trust after another. You truly understand that to forget the pain of the past, to live a somewhat ‘normal’ life you need something to numb the past. You don’t battle the demons without a few toxic coping mechanisms.
I was so taken with how vibrant and alive Kane has made her characters. Her dark, urban setting was fascinating rather than graphic and I have fallen head over heels with Terrible. (The body-guard/bouncer for Chess drug-dealer of choice, Bump). The intensity of Chess and Terrible’s budding friendship shows that even the most hardened shell can be cracked with just a little kindness, a little compassion. Although, their relationship is tenuous at best, you can’t help but be captivated and root for them.
Unholy Ghosts and Unholy Magic are two of the best books I’ve read of 2010 and 2009. I’m not going to lie, the second book will tear your heart out, you may even find yourself emotionally ‘stress eating’ but so worth it. I promise! This series has grit, angst, violence, and pulls you in with each page – if you haven’t read this series, get thee to a bookstore post haste!
PS. “Facts are Truths”, my friends
PPS City of Ghosts #3 is coming out next Tuesday (July 27th) I’m white knuckling until next week…
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