Shelby's Reviews > Unholy Ghosts

Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane
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Apr 08, 12

bookshelves: guy-candy, adult, pnr-humans-n-mages, rated-s-for-sex
Read from April 06 to 07, 2012

I needed to think a while about how to review this. I will say, Unholy Ghosts is not like the typical urban fantasy book. It's sort of post apocalyptic mixed with paranormal detective mixed with drugs...lots of drugs.

When you read the first few pages of this book, you'll first notice Chess and then you'll notice the dialect.

Let's start with Chess. She's pretty much like your average female heroine, filled with enough snark and badassery to satisfy the inner feminist in you. Her problems with drugs are what set her apart from the pack...supposedly. For her addiction being a defining feature, Chess really didn't seem too "drug obsessed" to me. Or was I just being dense? She popped pills like a certain opioid-obsessed MD we all used to love, but she wasn't constantly looking for the next fix either. I'm not sure if this was a good thing or a bad thing; I mean, we were spared from the constant melodrama of having to listen to the thoughts of someone with a true love affair with pills, but this really left Chess feeling like the only average character in the whole story. And if you didn't realize this before, that's sort of a bad thing if the protagonist is what's holding the story back.

I had two reactions to the dialect: absolute frustration and subsequent ambivalence. Reading Kane's post-apocalyptish English was like reading Shakespeare for the first time. It took twice as long to read the first few chapters, but after a while, I just got used to mentally translating everything to standard English. I'm just glad that Chess didn't speak with a dialect because that would've been the tipping point. Essentially, I think the dialect was necessary for Kane to paint the picture of Downside that she wanted. She portrayed this grimy, lawless neighborhood that would've felt out of kilter if all the characters spoke with correct grammar and diction.

The plot was all there. Unholy Ghosts probably stands on the more complicated side of the urban fantasy spectrum. I certainly didn't see the ending until it was presented. That either means that Kane did an excellent job with the plot twists (and I suppose, to some extent, she did) or that Kane really didn't present enough clues for the audience to find. I'm wavering between the two. But aside from the actual mystery, the plot was stuffed with action, lots of action. I'm glad this wasn't just a "find clue A" and "head to point X" kind of book. Granted, there was a lot of snooping and ruminating, but I never was bored while reading. There were fights, car chases, banishings, etc--I was totally satisfied with the amount of adventure.

In the end, I found this to be a surprisingly strong first installment to a series. I'll definitely get to reading the sequels in the near future.

Also, I just want to say that I really, really, really like Trouble. Seriously? How can a man be so ugly but so hot at the same time? Seriously?! Lex can just go away already. I don't need another stupid love triangle in my life, if you can really consider the romance in this book to be a "love triangle." Everyone seems pretty happy with having one night stands with people they barely know/distrust.
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