Title: Unholy Ghosts
Author: Stacia Kane
Series: Downside Ghosts #1
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: 5/25/10
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Won from Deep Inside Missy
THE DEPARTED HAVE ARRIVED.
The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen, and the living are under attack. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully tattooed witch and freewheeling ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for banishing the wicked dead. But Chess is keeping a dark secret: She owes a lot of money to a murderous drug lord named Bump, who wants immediate payback in the form of a dangerous job that involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in lust for a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah.
Wow. What can I say about this book that will do it justice? I admit that I was iffy, at first, but I dove in head first. It was so nice to read a fresh perspective on the genre and I feel that new life has been breathed into my beloved Urban Fantasy universe. Kudos, Stacia!
Chess lives in a dark, gritty future devoid of government and religion. The Church of Truth is the new power, and they work to keep humans safe from ghosts, who will attack at will! Chess is a Churchwitch, and works as a Debunker. She catches these ghostly suckers and hauls their translucent asses down to the City of Eternity, the place beneath the surface that contains these deadly apparitions. Downside reminds me of London Underground in Neverwhere, my favorite book ever. Of course, the worlds are completely different, but the characters, setting and overall feel are reminiscent of the other. <3
Chess is a very different heroine. She’s quite damaged and her flaws make her so much more human, to me. (The social worker in me can’t help but attach to her!) She’s been bounced around from foster home to foster home, beaten and raped, is addicted to drugs to numb the pain and therefore, lacks in judgment! Not your common heroine qualities but they provide you with one young witch who is over being trampled on. She may survive in maladaptive ways, but she survives nonetheless. She doubts herself at every corner and thinks of herself as weak, at times, but she doesn’t give up. She also has a conscience, which doesn’t mesh well with all the lies she told people that she cares about. With good reason, of course…
Terrible grew on me, hard. Not your typical hottie, but I know quite a many book bloggers with “Terrible Fever.” I must admit, I’m starting to feel a bit flushed. *fans self* He is a fantastic character. As bodyguard to Bump, he’s all brawn and terror, but hidden beneath the surface, he’s smart, protective and ruthlessly loyal. He and Chess work together to figure out the crazy mess Chess finds herself knee deep in, and they bond. Even the biggest of giants still falls. I definitely look forward to seeing that relationship blossom.
One of my favorite pieces of the world is the names and speech. You have Cessaria, aka Chess. Cool name, but makes me think of Cesarean, maybe I’m pronouncing it wrong? Next is Terrible, which some would say fits him to a T, and others, those that really know him, might say it’s all a cover. Bump is an ugly drug lord who I want to knock out next time he calls Chess ‘ladybird.’ I find Bump fitting though, as it reminds me of a bump of coke, and he does provide cocaine-like getaways. Edsel, Lex, Brain…yea. Interesting and strange.
Downside is full of all sorts of misfits, cretins, drug addicts, drug dealers and thugs. As you can guess, many of them are uneducated and/or illiterate, so their speech reflects this. However, Chess is educated and speaks normally. In the vide below, Stacia explains how she wanted to get that class stratification across but did not want to use any form of real life slang, so she made it up! It took a while to get used to, but I absolutely loved it and it became one of my favorite pieces of this fantastical world.
If you like Urban Fantasy, READ THIS BOOK!
My Favorite Quotes
Stupid ghosts always ruined everything, like loud babies in a nice restaurant.
Stylized paintings of fans and vaginas hung on the walls, turning the room from simply tacky to creepily Freudian in an instant.
If Mrs. Morton would stop verbally jacking off her husband and son, this would all be done so much more quickly, but Chess figured it was just about the only sex the woman got.
“There is much humanity cannot comprehend. The Church comprehends for you.” – The Book of Truth, Veraxis, Article 2
Damn, Chess, you really wanna go down there?
“Afraid you won’t be strong enough to keep me from falling?”
His teeth showed in a grin. “Shit. You must joke.”
“Now I don’t have to fight. Nobody wanna dance with me.”
“Now the lack of gods is fact, which is Truth and need not be believed or doubted. The Church offers protection, and so the Church makes law.” – The Book of Truth, Article 1641
It couldn’t possibly be later than five now, but blue light streaked the horizon and turned the chimneys into blackened teeth against it.
It was strange to see him without a shirt on, though. Chess tended to think of his bowling shirts as armor, and stripped of them he…well, he still looked like a tank.
“You see too much, dig? Keep them eyes away from her windows. I find out you peeping in her windows, I come back.”
”Shit. Stealing all a man’s fun.”
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