Series: Downside Ghosts #5
Published by Voyager on June 26, 2012
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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A DEADLY HIGH
Magic-wielding Churchwitch and secret addict Chess Putnam knows better than anyone just how high a price people are willing to pay for a chemical rush. But when someone with money to burn and a penchant for black magic starts tampering with Downside’s drug supply, Chess realizes that the unlucky customers are paying with their souls—and taking the innocent with them, as the magic-infused speed compels them to kill in the most gruesome ways possible.
As if the streets weren’t scary enough, the looming war between the two men in her life explodes, taking even more casualties and putting Chess squarely in the middle. Downside could become a literal ghost town if Chess doesn’t find a way to stop both the war and the dark wave of death-magic, and the only way to do that is to use both her addiction and her power to enter the spell and chase the magic all the way back to its malevolent source. Too bad that doing so will probably kill Chess—if the war doesn’t first destroy the man who’s become her reason for living.
Chasing Magic signifies the end of my monthly buddy read on Downside Ghosts, which makes me sort of sad (at least until the next book comes out). While Chess’s world is definitely dark, gritty and an emotional investment, I’ll kind of miss revisiting the world of Downside every month. This series just keeps on getting better and better; while the world building, slang language and Chess’s drug dependency takes a while getting used to, once you’re there you realise how awesome it is.
Sadly, Chasing Magic did not live up to the last two books in the series for me. Usually we’ve been guided with a Church case and/or a murderous case in Downside. While this book started off with a murderous case, there seemed to be a lot of elements coming into play here. The case was not central to the plot, and a lot of other things were happening in Chess’s life and it just took me a while longer to get into it.
The drug addiction takes a turn for the worst. It’s really disturbing seeing Chess rely on it increasingly in her day to day life. She literally relies on the separate drugs to take her through her daily life, to numb her feelings and make her forget her traumatic past. I really hope that the author will move towards a better resolution for her, because I’m kind of getting tired of seeing her make bad decisions over and over again. Fair enough she’s damaged inside and scarred for life, but can this woman please get a happy resolution for once?
And that would be where Terrible comes in. They’ve finally managed to work out their relationship, and I think we’ve all established that he’s some sort of salvation for Chess. She’s finally coming to terms with having someone who actually loves her despite all her issues. Lex really disappointed us here and we see that perhaps all the power is getting to him. His behaviour really disgusts me and I’m really glad that she’s picked Terrible.
I just love how there’s a huge high at the end of the book (no pun intended) where Chess is empowered and you realise that she’s actually really good at her job at banishing spirits. Because she’s got such a low sense of self-worth, she has no fear in the heart of danger and she does everything she can to save people.
Overall, I did enjoy Chasing Magic and again delving into the world of Downside, it just wasn’t as brilliant as the previous books for me. I’m interested in seeing where Stacia Kane will be taking this series, and whether we’ll finally get a resolution for the poor, damaged girl that is Chess.
I read this for a buddy read, check out our spoilerific discussion here.
Rating: 4 out of 5
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