Rating (out of 5): 5 stars
(If it wouldn’t ruin the scale, we’d go seven stars on this one.)
After we finished Unholy Magic, the second Downside Ghosts book, we said how it was even better than the series opener Unholy Ghosts (review). Stacia Kane has again taken her dark urban fantasy series to new depths with City of Ghosts.
Chess still has a crime to solve, this time working with the police wing of The Church of Truth, a team called The Black Squad. But City of Ghosts is more about our flawed heroine growing as a person, accepting that needing to connect and rely on another person isn’t inherently bad. She’s striving for that redemption. She wants to prove herself. She’s a talented witch and she sure as hell isn’t going to let some bitch from the Black Squad otherwise. More than that, though, she wants to prove herself trustworthy to Terrible.
Those who have caught Terrible Fever from the earlier Downside books know he feels betrayed by Chess. He isn’t going to make things easy for her. He’ll avoid her. Say hurtful things. She wallows in it. In fact, you don’t get much Chess-Terrible interaction for the first two-thirds of the novel. He’s there with her out of duty to Bump, but make no mistake he’s hurting. But when he becomes prominent in the book again, it’s worth the wait. (Really, really worth it.)
It’s Chess’ desire to fix things with him, to protect him, to keep Downside safe and the emotional growth she experiences through that process that truly elevates City of Ghosts.
We don’t want to give anything away, so, here are 3 reasons you must read this book as soon as you can get your hands on it:
The emotional heavy that is City of Ghosts is worth experiencing. Kane can craft such heady situations, you’ll feel like you’re with Chess pleading with Terrible, trying to escape a burning building, being attacked by ghosts, etc.
We wouldn’t dare call Downside Ghosts an escapist series, but these books will bring you into Downside. We promise, you’ll spend the next several days thinking about scenes from the books, thinking about why something happened the way it did or just blushing remembering things that happen in the tunnels.
Want more insight on the Downside Ghosts series? Read our Q&A with Stacia Kane.