Sacrificial Magic by Stacia Kane
Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Random House
Release date: March 27th 2012
Series: Downside Ghosts #4
Reviewed by: Christine
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.
When I started reading this book, I was really anxious. I´m a huge Terrible fan and in the last book, I really really hoped they would finally end up together. Well, I got my wish, but in this series, it doesn’t mean everything is all rainbows and butterflies.
Chess tries very hard to make her new relationship with Terrible work, because she obviously really loves him. But somehow she still manages to make mistakes and manipulate it all the time and reading that broke my heart a hundred times. It is really tragic to see how her incredibly low self esteem and the fact that she is permanently second guessing her own behavior are almost enough to destroy one of the good things that has happened to her.
But then there is Terrible. Even though I won´t give you any details to avoid spoilers, I can tell you this: the way he acts in this book makes you love him even more and forget what he actually is. The feared, scarred enforcer of the local drug lord and the man he is when he´s around Chess seem like two completely different persons to me. And as far as I know, I´m not the only girl in the Terrible fan club. Kudos to Stacia Kane for making me (and a while lot of others) fall in love with a man like that.
Even though, for me, Sacrificial Magic is mostly about Chess and Terrible´s relationship, there are of course several other story arcs, including Chess´s job as church witch. Her most recent assignment requires her to investigate the haunting of a school on Lex´s and Slobag´s side of town. A fact that guarantees for even more complications in her relationship. The case as well as the escalating war between the two fractions that control Downside had me glued to the pages just as much as the personal drama in Chess´s life. Her case is exciting and complex and I enjoyed trying to put the pieces together to figure out all the details. The end of the book came as a bit of a shock. Though there is not real cliffhanger, the results of the finale of this book are bound to cause huge changes in Chess´s life and will probably change Downside in the next book.
During her investigation, Chess also gets to know a new character, Beulah. Right from the start I was curious about her, since her intentions and motifs remained unclear until later in the book. But I have to admit that I ended up liking her a lot.
I started reading this book at the end of what felt like one of those very long days right before I planned on going to bed. The next thing I know, it was in the middle of the night (or rather very early in the morning). I´m afraid I just can´t put down a book by Stacia Kane once I have started reading. I admire her for her talent to make me care for characters I was convinced I would never care about before I read the first book.
You know, at this point, I always wish I would be able to praise Stacia Kane´s books in the way I think they deserve. Sadly, everything I come up with feels like it falls short. Sacrificial Magic is more than an amazing, exciting page-turner with fantastic characters set in a world that is unique, yet disturbing.
I thought it was brilliant. Sacrificial Magic is the best book I´ve read so far in 2012.
Here ends my rambling about Downside. But if anybody wants to join me in my swoon fest over Terrible, go ahead! Just keep it spoiler free! An for those who have finished the book as well: do you also wish you could get relationship advice from Elder Griffin?