Sonya Clark's Reviews > Unholy Ghosts

Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane
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's review
Aug 16, 10

bookshelves: urban-fantasy

This is the first in the new Downside series and it's a winner. There are some elements to this that make it atypical for urban fantasy and while some readers objected to those elements, I felt they really brought something new to the table. First off, this is a very dark book, darker than most UF I normally read. Scenes in the Downside feel like something akin to Blade Runner, post-apocalyptic and claustrophobic. That's only one aspect of the fantastic world-building going on here. The Church of Real Truth practices a sort of atheist fundamentalism that's just as unsettling as the kind we see in real life. I was especially impressed with the magic Chess works in her job.

Chess is a drug addict, something that was hard for me to get used to when I first started the book. She is mostly functioning and seems to have no desire to get clean. Of course I'm hoping that changes over the course of the series and I have to admit, even though it can be a bit difficult to read, if Chess does get clean at some point it's going to make for a hell of a journey. Another unusual element: although Chess winds up getting intimate with one guy, it's pretty clear who the real love interest is, and he is not at all the usual pretty boy hunk you normally find in UF/PNR. His name is Terrible and though I didn't think much of him at first, by the end of the book I had Terrible Fever. These are two fascinating characters, constantly surprising, and they've got me hooked on the Downside.

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