Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Book Review: City of Ghosts

City of Ghosts

By:  Stacia Kane

Publisher:  Del Rey Books

Publish Date:  July 2010

Format:  Paperback 408pgs, pocketbook size

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Series:  3rd book in Downside series; Book 1 ~ Unholy Magic, Book 2 ~ Unholy Ghosts

Recommendation:  Yes!  I love my Dark Urban Fantasy with grit.  Great addition to the series.

Book Synopsis:
It's a thin line between alive and undead.

Chess Putnam has a lot on her plate.  Mangled human corpses have started to show up on the streets of Downside, and Chess's bosses at the Church of Real Truth have ordered her to team up with the ultra-powerful Black Squad agency to crack the grisly case.

Chess is under a binding spell that threatens death if she talks about the investigation, but the city's most notorious crime boss - and Chess's drug dealer - gets wind of her new assignment and insists on being kept informed.  If that isn't bad enough, a sinister street vendor appears to have information Chess needs.  Only he's not telling what he knows, or what it all has to do with the vast underground City of Eternity.

Now Chess will have to navigate killer wraiths, First Elders, and a lot of seriously nasty magic - all while coping with some not-so-small issues of her own.  And the only man Chess can trust to help her through it all has every reason to want her dead.

First Sentence:
The guillotine waited for them, its blackened wood dark and threatening against the naked cement walls of the Execution Room.

My Thoughts and Summary:
Chess has been off work for three weeks recouping from her leg wound with the help of meds and some extra pills she's picked up along the way.  She has returned to the Church for the execution of Madame Lupita for breaking the law and trying to kill a church employee, Chess.  But something is off.  By the time Chess realizes it, it's to late.  Ghosts are attacking and the psycopomp is acting way off as well.  Chess is ready to come back to work and Elder Griffin pairs her up with Lauren Abrams a high member of the Black Squad, along with a few other connections too.  Chess isn't thrilled about the binding oath she has to undergo and working with the Black Squad, but seeing as she is ending her physical relationship with Lex and Terrible's not wanting anything to do with her, she needs the major extra money offered and takes the job.

With an opening sentence like that what all would you expect?  I love reading this series as the writing is wonderful and it's world and characters are rough and gritty.  Down right mean, and I love it!  This world may not be for everyone, but with the drugs and the harsh streets it makes for a wonderful action, fast paced read.  Then we have the ghosts that are always around some where lingering wanted to get revenge on any living being around it.  This book even takes us to a new level of evil with the wraiths now.  Evil buggers they are.  The magic is stronger here with the Black Squad and the eviltries after Chess.

We get to see Chess in a new light as a character.  She is starting to break down emotionally as she realizes it's Terrible she really wants, and she will punish herself for the misdoings she's done in the past to him.  We even get some new characters, who might have some dark secrets of their own to keep and add to the twists of the plot.

The plot... now that is the story here.  We have a few things going on, the church case and Chess's life messes.  Both are fun to watch unravel.  The church case Chess is on takes us through some crazy and amazing turns in the story.  Things I never seen coming.  And I loved the way magic plays a big part in this story.  Then we have Chess's messed up life.  Yep, that girl is so messed up and can really mess it up more.  Even when Chess knows what she wants.  But Chess tries to get through when the man she wants and has helped her survive before, could care less if she makes it through.

This is one book I enjoyed reading.  Actually the three books thus far in the series have been wonderful for me.  I enjoy the characters and the deep story lines along with the harsh gritty world.  I love a great dark urban fantasy read and this is it!

I think I hear Stacia Kane is working on more books with Chess, so I will be watching for them.

I purchased this book for my own reading pleasure.

This book qualifies for Horror and Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge hosted by Book Chick City.


  1. That first line is utterly delicious - it sounds like the guillotine is so fearsome, it makes even the walls seem vulnerable.

  2. I am so sad I did not like these books :( *cries*

    Sure they were ok but only so

  3. Judging by your wonderful review and the book synopsis this one I have to read, thanks for your recommendation.

  4. Glad you have a series you love!

  5. Can you believe I have all 3 but have not gotten to them yet? ACK! I need to! You are forcing me to wish I had more time. Evil of you really. ;D

  6. I have the first one and I haven't started it yet!

    Melissa, you've made a believer out of me with your most excellent review!

    I'll put it on my Read-a-thon list!

  7. StephanieD - lol. I LOVE That first line. It is one of the most original firt lines I've ever read and just think it's so full of life! :) So glad you liked it too.

    Blodeuedd - Oh, I'm sorry you didn't like these. I just seem to be hooked on Chess. She is sooo screwed up and I love the harsh world here. lol. Thanks for stopping by!

    Petty Witter - You are very welcome! :) I hope you enjoy it and the series.

    Bookmagic - :) Thank you. It's nice to kick back with a book you enjoy.

    Melissa (Books&Things) - Really!?! You have all three and not started them yet. Geez. You do need to get to them. Muaahhhh ha ha. So glad the eviltry shows through. ;D

    Kristi The Book Faery - Oh, thank you! I do hope you enjoy this series. I really did love it. :) Have a great time on your Read-a-thon.

  8. Gritty is definitely the word to describe the world! There are indeed another 2 books (at least) in the works and I'm excited to see where things will go, considering the end of City of Ghosts ;)

    I didn't like Lauren as a character overall, maybe infusing a little bit of Chess into my own opinion, but I felt for her in that scene at the burning building, though.

    It was interesting how the story started with Madame Lupita when she was early in the previous book, too. I hadn't thought much about it while reading Unholy Magic, but it was cool to see that storyline come back and the fallout. There are seem very creepy characters throughout the series; Lupita was one of them (the worst, though, was Tyson in Unholy Ghosts *shudders*).

  9. Jackie - Oh, I'm looking forward to the next two books. :) I really love this dark gritty world here. And I didn't like Lauren to much either. I was very suspecious of her from the begining. And I LOVED the way this one started with Madame Lupita. I was very surprised but loved the twist here. Oh yes, Tyson was very bad. But this guy here with all his "children" really had me. And who he ended up being! Ha! Thank you!


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