24 February 2012

REVIEW: Unholy Magic by Stacia Kane

Author: Stacia Kane
Title: Unholy Magic
Series: Downside Ghosts #2
Pages: 346
Source: Owned

The second book in this edgy urban fantasy trilogy. Chess is a fiercely independent witch and talented Debunker - working for the Church of Real Truth to exorcise ghosts and expose human liars. But she has a dark little secret that is causing her a lot of problems! a drug addiction. Trying to catch a spectral serial killer with a fondness for his victims' eyes is distracting Chess from her day job, and her growing attraction to Terrible is making things worse. Life is getting too complicated and Chess must break the rules to keep her head above water.

Much of the reason I am rating this four stars is Terrible.

Okay. Here are my thoughts:

1.  I am fascinated by the world Ms. Kane has created. Oh I am still confused by a lot of it, but it's still rather unique in terms of UF worlds. It's dystopian (which is commonplace in UF), but the part of the world we see/spend time is not common: the underworld. It's dark, raw, gritty, and an unpleasant place to be. The books are about a high functioning druggie who lives smack in the inner city, who deals with drug lords who run prostitution rings, sell drugs, have their henchmen brutalize people, where street fights kill people, and where most people are victims of circumstances. It isn't a pretty world. The characters are not people you should be rooting for: a drug addict who realizes that her drugs are ruining her life but who still makes no move to try and stop, and an enforcer who, as Mimi puts it, "is a professional bully" for a drug baron. But that is the genius of Stacia Kane. Like Regina says, "[Ms Kane] is able to surprise us with our feelings about Terrible."

2. Terrible is awesome. And Ms. Kane did one of the best jobs in any UF anywhere when she came up with this guy. He's not someone we should root for. He's not your normal hero; or anti-hero. He brutalizes people for a living (never mind that he was a victim of circumstances, the truth is still the truth), he also oversees his drug lord's prostitution business. Seeing him in action as th thug was...harrowing. I hated it. But he still manages to be kid, sweet, considerate..... in some ways he is more than the usual heroes we have in UF: not many people can live the life he has, in the circumstances he has and still be an honorable person through and through. Yet Terrible manages to be believably so. A very big part of what keeps me coming back to this series is Terrible.

3. Chess: again, to quote Mimi, she is not so TSTL as she is TUTL (too unstable to live). She is supposedly a high-functioning drug addict. She is always high and can still solve mysteries while high. If she can do that, I don't see why she can't exercise some of that good sense and NOT hurt Terrible; and NOT make bad decision after bad decision; and NOT decide she needs to get her life together and wean herself off drugs. You see glimmers of growth here and there, but for the most part....oh Chess - get it together, girl!!

4. I still don't get a lot of the ghost mythology and stuff. For example, how the heck big is this so-called City of Ghosts? The spirit of every person who ever lived is kept there? Don't they run out of space? These ghosts are supposed to b incorporeal, but thy act like zombies half the time. Pyschopomps? Huh?!!

5. I am not amused with the way things ended.




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