***There are spoilers for earlier books ahead!!***
With each and every novel Stacia Kane writes, my admiration and respect for her as an author increases. The Downside Ghosts
books just keep getting better and better. The overall story arc moves forward in steady and believable ways, while each book has a new and fresh mystery. Her characters grow and develop; they change, whether for better or worse. New elements of the character's lives and personalities, or the world in which they live, are unveiled; but the revelations always feel like natural progressions from what we already know and expect. She also keeps upping the stakes for Chess and Terrible. Given the nature of their occupations and recreational activities, as the reader you know everything is going to have to come crumbling down at some point.
That is why, to me, Chasing Magic
was written just perfectly. Chess has slowly made some really big, life changing choices, especially in City of Ghosts
and Sacrificial Magic
. However, she had yet to feel many of the effects of those changes in her daily life. She was struggling to maintain multiple different conflicting versions of herself, and it was completely unsustainable. Maintaining a friendship with Lex while working for Bump (and dating Terrible). Thrilling in her competency as a witch (and being present in her relationship with Terrible) while seeking ever deeper oblivion with drugs. Living in Downside while working for the Church. Wanting and needing Elder Griffin's high opinion and respect while perpetually violating his trust. Enforcing Church laws while breaking them herself. Something had to give.
What I love most about Chasing Magic
is that -- for the first time in her life -- gut-wrenchingly horrible things have happened to Chess, but this time she had a choice. She is able to have the pride and confidence that comes with knowing that, though you have lost something, you chose to give it up for something better, more worthwhile. Chess is really forced to look at herself in Chasing Magic
; she is forced to grow up and mature in ways I have been hoping for but dared not expect. I loved this book, and cannot imagine how I will get through the wait for the next one.Review also on Chronicles of a Book Evangelist; a review copy was provided by the publisher. (But I've already pre-ordered my own copy as well!)