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Unholy Magic

(Downside Ghosts #2)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  9,871 ratings  ·  738 reviews
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Stacia Kane's City of Ghosts.

For Chess Putnam, finding herself near-fatally poisoned by a con psychic and then stopping a murderous ghost is just another day on the job. As an agent of the Church of Real Truth, Chess must expose those looking to profit from the world’s unpleasant litt
ebook, 290 pages
Published July 6th 2010 by Del Rey (first published June 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

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4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,871 ratings  ·  738 reviews

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Thoughts before reading:

I'm going to give this series one more chance, for this and this alone:
“Readers have the right to say whatever the fuck they want about a book. Period. They have that right. If they hate the book because the MC says the word “delicious” and the reader believes it’s the Devil’s word and only evil people use it, they can shout from the rooftops “This book is shit and don’t read it” if they want. If they want to write a review entirely about how much they hate the cover, the
Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I now have a seemingly unhealthy crush on a fictional character with protruding eyebrows, scars on his face, pomade in his hair and mutton chops that would make any Elvis impersonater weak with envy.

I originally started this series right after I finished reading the Fever series.I was in a bit of a Jericho Barrons detox phase that resulted in a lot of good books being tossed aside. Luckily, I picked these up again and can say it is one of may favorite series that I have read. Chess has grown on
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
Update 7/19/12: Stacia Kane is extremely cool:

This book hurts. Well, if that lovey dovey stuff matters to you it might. It's not romance at all, it's painful and raw and sick but I cried. I didn't even know I was crying until my lip felt wet.

I also couldn't put it down. I started trying to read around eleven but the kids kept interrupting until after twelve when I was already exhausted. By two I was having trouble keeping my ey
Nov 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of urban fantasy
Recommended to Penny by: Wicked Incognito Now
Kat, fellow Goodreader (and my favorite Australian) summed up this book best: gut-wrenching. This book ripped out my innards, tap danced all over them, unceremoniously shoved them back inside me, and sewed me up haphazardly. Sure, in the end, my guts were no longer all over the place but serious damage was done. And I liked it.

Sounds like I'm being over-dramatic, I know, but you should see my Unholy Magic status updates.

This book sent me on an emotional roller coaster ride from hell. Now, don't
Erica Ravenclaw
Dec 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Update: Feb 2015 reread was just as great as the first time. This book has remained firmly in my memory, so stepping back into this world is like turning on a favorite TV show. Enjoyable to the max!

No spoilers!

Unholy Ghosts Review

That's it. I can't articulate anything.

Various stages of feels as demonstrated in animal gifs:


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No no no.

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...did that just happen?

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Feb 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
I am appeased. Unholy Magic delivers the meat missing from predecessor Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts #1). While still imperfect, Magic offers intricate, clever plotting, powerful prose, and most importantly, a healthy serving of character development.

Ghosts irritated me because author Stacia Kane romanticizes drug addiction and drug peddlers. Witch-sleuth protagonist Chess Putnam -the significance of whose surname I will discover eventually!- unaccountably escapes addiction's lowest moments
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)

Oh Chess. What a piece of freaking work you are. ::Shakes head::

This series is dark, dark, dark, and more than a little depressing. I'm not usually a fan of downer reads. So why is it so good? How is this series so freaking good? And why can I not stop reading (or listening, in my case)?!?! Chess is a drugged out mess, and only sinking deeper into her own pit of suck. But Stacia Kane is kind of brilliant how she writes her character. Chess was worse than ever but I felt for her for the first ti
“Nothin show up we ain’t handle, aye? You an me.”

I am officially addicted to this series! This book killed me, but I love, love, loved it! It’s been over a month since I read Unholy Magic for the first time. Since then I have listened to it on audio 1 & more times and also re-read parts of it. It’s that freaking good!

What an AMAZING sequel to Unholy Ghosts! I don’t think there’s anything about this book that I didn’t like. The plot was really interesting and I enjoyed the parts of Chess
Carolyn  Storer
After reading and absolutely loving Unholy Ghosts, I was somewhat nervous about reading Unholy Magic. I've been caught out before with a new series, reading and liking the first book only to be disappointed with the second, but thankfully, this was not the case with Unholy Magic. This book is AMAZING and I am totally in love with this series!

Unholy Magic begins roughly where Unholy Ghosts ended. Chess is still working for the Church of Real Truth as a debunker and popping pills, Terrible is stil
Sh3lly (
This is the second book of Chess Putnam's messed up adventures. She's a witch who officially works for the Church (they're in charge of everything since ghosts tried to take over the world and kill everybody). Unofficially, she sometimes does magic for two rival druglords/pimps named Bump and Slobag. Separately; they aren't supposed to know she's working for the other. Life is tricky. It doesn't help when you're a raging drug addict. Chess needs her pills, her powder, her smoke, and whatever els ...more
Anzu The Great Destroyer

Things I hate about Downside Ghosts
- Chess’ attitude;
- Chess’ drug addiction;
- Chess’ way of handling her problems;
- Terrible’s vocabulary (it messes with my head a lot);
- No likeable characters;
- The love triangle.

Things I’m neutral about regarding Downside Ghosts
- The ghost theme.

Things I love about Downside Ghosts

So I guess that sums it up. I said that I’ll give the second book a try (since I hated the first) because Downside Ghosts is such a popular series. I really want to
Mimi Smith
Feb 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uf-r
4.25 stars

"The dead do not offer forgiveness. They do not feel. They do not advance or grow. They remain frozen as they were, save for the replacement of love with hate.
—The Book of Truth, Veraxis, Article 329"

Downside World 201 by Mimi

All right, in addition to the information I got and mentioned in my review of Unholy Ghosts, here are some other details/facts/questions

1)Remember the Church employees that go to the City and do something with ghosts? They're called Liaisers and apparently they
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
I’m going with 4.5 on this book of the series just like the first book but for different reasons. This book was so much smoother to read than the first book. With the world building already done in the previous book we are taken right into Chess’s world from the get go. Chess’s drug abuse is still rampant but maybe I’m just a little numb from it because it bothered me less in this book. The main story itself centered more on just two cases and it felt less chaotic that way. Of course that doesn’ ...more
If you are looking for a review that discusses this book, keep looking. This one is more of an internal dialog, you know, notes to self.

Self, you have reached the point where you need to examine your relationship with this series. Why? Because you are not a die-hard fan of urban fantasy and this one is pure UF.

Let’s see…you are married to Night Huntress, Dresden Files, and Tales from the Nightside. You are living with Rachael Morgan, Kate Daniels, and the Iron Druid Chronicles. You are dating B
I am here for one thing and one thing ONLY - and that is to see how the relationship between Chess and a certain someone plays out.

All that other ghost crap and mystery of the week plots I honestly just don't give two shits about. That stuff is actually super boring to me and I skim a lot of it.

If this author could have made the mysteries and the witch stuff more interesting to me, this would have been 5 stars for sure. As it is, the relationship drama is enough for me to 4 star this thing I L
Nobody writes dark urban fantasy like Stacia Kane. The author creates a world where ghosts wreak havoc and people turn to the Church to protect them. The Church provides people specially trained to get rid of ghosts. This is a world where summoning a ghost results in the death penalty. Ghosts kill and steal energy.

Part of the allure of this series is the way that the characters are written. Almost every character is flawed and yet, the reader feels invested in that character’s well-being. The m
Cat Russell  (Addicted2Heroines)
"Somewhere in the back of her mind she thought if she kept kissing him, she'd get more secrets, get answers to questions she didn't know she had, and it excited and scared her in equal measure, made her dizzy."

I loved this book! I love living in Chess's (and Terrible's) world!

It's a little surprising the direction that Kane is taking this character in. Instead of showing her improving and battling her addiction, her situation seems to be drastically declining. I was able to grasp a better unde
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Urban Fantasy lovers
I believe I have found myself a new series to add to my all time favourite shelf.

But at the same time I don't really think this series is for everyone. I have also mentioned this before that this is a very complex book with very complex characters. It requires understanding and patience from readers, it's dark and sick and contains too many slangs. But there isn't a single thing about this book that I would ever want to change.

There are a few other things as well that might not appeal to other
Annie (Under the Covers Book Blog)
Holy. Hell.


I’m warning you now. This is going to be a really crappy review. It’s going to be an I-love-Kane/will-you-marry-me-Terrible kind of review. But can you blame a girl?

This book was so awesome. I am flying through this series and have only Stacia Kane to thank for this Terrible Fever I am in.

There are so many great things about this series. First off, I find that I love Church’s job. It gets her into some really messy situations, but I’m always interested in what is going on. Typic
Wicked Lil Pixie (Natasha)
Unholy Magic is book two in the Downside Ghosts series & without a doubt my favorite new series of 2010. I have never in my life felt the need to email an author & wax poetic about how much I enjoyed their book until I read Unholy Magic!

I am a huge fan of Unholy Ghosts but I feel with Unholy Magicyou get to know Chess better, you already know what she’s about in the most basic of senses. We know Chess is a debunker as well as a drug addict, but we don’t really know why she is either. In
Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
Unholy Magic is the 2nd in the Downside Ghosts series and boy, is it emotionally gripping and extremely intense.

Chess is a debunker for the Church who exterminates ghosts and more frequently, busts those who are set up fake hauntings for financial gain. She's also an extremely drug dependent, which helps her deal with the scars that early life experiences have caused.

In this book, we see her making horrible decisions that lead her to drive a divide between her personal relationships and the on
Feb 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Buddy read with these lovely ladies :))))
Mrs.Vishous-Kattalakis-Belikov :::Para Itch Reviews:::
This series is one of the greatest!! Its like being sucked in to a whole new world thats dark and scary and full of the unknown. I didnt think I would like a book about the protaganist being an addict with no dreams of recovery....but it worked and I wouldnt have it any other way! One of the sweetest moments in literary history:

"I figure you really wanted me you'd say. Like now, maybe, if you dig. I'll fuckin carry you down your place on a run, you tell me aye, get you on your back afore the nex
Jen Davis
Jan 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I guess it says alot about this book that it has inspired such a tangled mess of emotions in me. I'm angry at Chess. I feel sorry for her. I feel like she deserves her misery, but I want it to all work out. Her self-destructive behavior doesn't just affect her, but the fallout is landing on those around her. --And I'm getting ahead of myself.

Three months have passed since the events of Unholy Ghosts. Chess is still a raging drug addict. She is still sleeping with Lex. And she is still forging a
2-2.5 stars

God, this book...actually, the first TWO books in this series, are so damn depressing.

This took me a long time to finish. I kept having to take breaks from it because the entire thing is just so...bleak. There were certain parts that were very hard for me to read (I.e Chess going through withdrawals), and there were times when I nearly gave up on the book. But, my love for Trouble, and the fact that I do find the whole Downside world...and be so fascinating most of the
Alana ~ The Book Pimp
I'd even go somewhere between 4-4♥'s on this.

Yes, it's a dark, underbelly of a world. Yes, Chess is one whacked junkie. Yes, I've finally seen just why Terrible has such a following. I was 'Team Lex' last book, but this one converted even me. It definitely leaves me wanting more of the series.

Ghosts are a nice change of pace, as well. No fangs, no sparkles, no full moons, or needs of a razor- it can be liberating at times, as long as you can handle the raw descriptions. There are top-of-the-wor
Dec 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Uh, yeah. There might be spoilers here. And I write this while listening to the Stooges. That seems appropriate.

So this was my favorite book out of the 3 out so far. The plot is crazy. There are dead prostitutes with missing eyeballs. This brings together both sides (and I'm not talking the Church) working with Chess to put a stop to it. The other storyline is her debunking a case for an actor and his family which leads to such an emotional and horrible scene with Chess going through withdrawal.
Francesca the Fierce (Under the Covers Book Blog)
This review was posted at Under The Covers

After reading book one, and being shocked by the storyline in this series, I find myself a lot more comfortable with Chess and her issues in this book. Don't ask me why. I get it. It didn't bother me as much.

Now that being said... Chess is a lot more vulnerable in this book. She is trying to do her job, which now consists in going to a celebrity's house to prove that he doesn't really have a ghost problem.

Well, that is her mission with the Church. But of
Smokinhotbooks K.C.
Jul 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-books, uf
(Combined review of Unholy Magic and Unholy Ghosts)

It’s not often that you will find me reading a book about a drug- addicted heroine who makes more terrible choices than Lindsey Lohan on a four day coke bender; but at the urging of my blogger friends I decided to stop being such a square and see what all the hoopla was about. As the rehab therapists would say, I had to “trust the process’.

Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghost series is dark, thrilling and gut wrenching. Chess Putnam works as the ‘Churc
Renee Nicole

Why was she so determined always to do the exact wrong thing?"

It's funny. Chess Putnam is not one of those annoying female characters that you end up hating because she has a flair for melodrama and does everything ass-backwards. That's exactly what she does, but you just can't hate her for it. You can't pity her, either. You just FEEL for her. Her horrible addiction to drugs, her barely contained self loathing, her complete fear of every aspect of her life. It digs under your skin and just ma
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SOS: Serious Over...: August Buddy Read: Unholy Magic by Stacia Kane 26 47 Aug 15, 2012 10:00PM  
Q&A with Stacia Kane: UNHOLY MAGIC 165 166 May 25, 2012 02:40PM  

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Stacia Kane is the author of the light-hearted romantic urban fantasy "Megan Chase" series starting with PERSONAL DEMONS.

She currently writes the gritty dystopian urban fantasy "Downside" series starring Chess Putnam and featuring ghosts, human sacrifice, drugs, witchcraft, punk rock, and a badass '69 Chevelle. She bleaches her hair and wears a lot of black.

Other books in the series

Downside Ghosts (6 books)
  • Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts, #1)
  • City of Ghosts (Downside Ghosts, #3)
  • Sacrificial Magic (Downside Ghosts, #4)
  • Chasing Magic (Downside Ghosts, #5)
  • Unholy Luck (Downside Ghosts, #6)
“I figure you really wanted me you'd say. Like now, maybe, if you dig. I'll fuckin carry you down your place on a run, you tell me aye, get you on your back afore the next word comes out your mouth. But you oughta have yourself certain, causen I ain't lookin for charity, an I ain't lettin you go after. Once...once ain't enough for me, dig?” 116 likes
“I sink you, that I will not be sunk by you.” 53 likes
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