Carolyn Storer's Reviews > Unholy Magic

Unholy Magic by Stacia Kane
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's review
Jul 10, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: urban-fantasy, book-list-2010, favourites
Read from July 10 to 13, 2010

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 still Bumps enforcer and Lex is Chess' new drug of choice.

To me this book is very character driven, which is one of the reasons I love it so much - you may have noticed that my reviews are character driven too - if I don't like the characters then it doesn't matter whether the plot is good or not, I just won't be able to connect with the book. But I didn't have that problem with Unholy Magic. It has two of the best characters I've read in the urban fantasy genre; Chess and Terrible. However, although this book is very much about the characters there is also an engaging storyline.

I really enjoyed reading about the world Kane has created. Downside is very gritty and dark, where drug dealers and gangs rule, prostitutes and pimps sell you their business and ghosts kill. The ghosts in Downside are scary, evil entities and it's Chess' job as a debunker for the Church of Real Truth to make sure that any claims of ghost sightings or hauntings are legitimate. One such case is given to her by an Elder of the Church for a celebrity who claims there's two ghosts in his house. This part of the story, although secondary to the relationships between the characters, is really enjoyable and we get to see Chess fighting ghosts and banishing them, and using her witchy magic.

In Unholy Ghosts, Chess unwillingly helped Lex with a problem he had and because of this she is now getting most of her drugs for free, which enables her to pop as many pills as she likes, and we see her falling into her addiction even further. The thing with Chess is that she enjoys them. She likes blocking out the harsh side of her life, the memories of her past filled with physical and mental abuse, and losing herself in the freedom the pills give her. Chess understands what is happening but doesn't really want to face her addiction and although she is fairly strong and brave in her job as a debunker, in life not so much. If something doesn't go to plan or if she feels letdown by someone then she leans on her drugs - uses them as a replacement for people. However, even though Chess is a drug addict it doesn't prevent her from doing her job - most of the time.

I heart Chess so much - she is flawed and vulnerable and that's what I love about her, but I can also see strength and determination. She cares about people and desperately wants to help them, even if it's at the risk of her own life. I have a feeling we are going to see Chess grow enormously in future books, there's so much scope for her character and I can't wait to find out how she evolves.

We also learn more about Terrible, which shows him in a softer light and makes him even more loveable. Terrible is so endearing he melts my heart, even though I know he has no qualms about killing someone with his bare hands - I know this and Chess knows this, but somehow it just doesn't matter. Terrible reveals quite a bit about his feelings in this instalment. There's a scene between Chess and Terrible that had my heart pounding in my chest, I just couldn't read the pages fast enough to find out what happened next. I won't go any further but let me just say it's heart-wrenching romance at its best.

Lex is still very much in the picture, although he does take a bit of a back-seat to the growing dynamics between Chess and Terrible. But he's growing on me. I'm still not convinced he's trustworthy, but I like him.

I'm also impressed by the street-speak, or as Kane puts it, "Down-speech". I think it takes a very talented writer to pull-off accents, but Kane does just that. It's different to anything I've read before but it gives the gangs of Downside a very distinctive and original flare.


For me, Unholy Magic has the precise combination and balance of everything I love about the urban fantasy genre: action, romance, complex but likeable characters and world building. I adored this book so much from beginning to end - just perfect.
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Reading Progress

07/10/2010 page 85
07/13/2010 page 352
100.0% "Nooo, I don't want this book to end!! Best book I've read this year by far!"
06/14/2015 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Jesslyn I'm finding thw whole drug thing to be extremely boring and unrealistic at times. If she was as high as she's supposed to be she would have gotten caught by now. And junkies (true junkies--or at least ones with the desperate issues that Chess has) can't maintain employment.

Its irritating me, because except for that increasingly unrealistic theme, IMO, I'm loving the story and the writing/writing style.

Suza Kates Me, too!

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