Sacrificial Magic by Stacia Kane
Narrator: Bahni Turpin
Series: Downside Ghosts #4
Published by Blackstone Audio
Published on: May 15, 2012
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Length: 13hrs & 51 mins
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When Chess Putnam is ordered by an infamous crime boss—who also happens to be her drug dealer—to use her powers as a witch to solve a grisly murder involving dark magic, she knows she must rise to the challenge. Adding to the intensity, her boyfriend, Terrible, doesn’t trust her, and Lex, the son of a rival crime lord, is trying to reignite the old sparks between them.
Plus, there’s the little matter of Chess’ real job as a ghost hunter for the Church of Real Truth. She’s investigating reports of a haunting at a school in the heart of Downside, where someone seems to be taking a crash course in summoning the dead—and if Chess doesn’t watch her back, she may soon be joining their ranks.
As Chess is drawn into a shadowy world of twisted secrets and dark violence, it soon becomes clear that she’s not going to emerge from its depths without making the ultimate sacrifice.
Stacia Kane has been a phone psychic, a customer-service representative, a bartender, and a movie-theater usher, and she thinks that writing is more fun than all of them combined. She wears a lot of black, still makes great cocktails, likes to play music loud in the car, and thinks Die Hard is one of the greatest movies ever made. She believes in dragons and the divine right of kings and is a fervent Ricardian. She lives in Devon, England.
The fourth installment in Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghosts series felt like a major stepping stone for Chess. Putnam and I didn’t exactly hit it off in the earlier books; I struggled to find the “heroine” in this drug addicted protagonist which has made her journey up to this point all the more impressive. The last novel was my favourite so far but Sacrificial Magic surpassed it in one area; it changed my view of Putnam’s potential for happiness. Chess makes some incredibly difficult decisions in this installment and realizes that the trust issues that exist in her and Terrible’s relationship are hers, not his. I was awed by how much her character grows in this book; now I find myself rooting for her and actually optimistic about the possibility of a happily-ever-after (just not TOO soon as I’d like Kane to write a few more novels first!).
So far, my favourite plot lines in this series have revolved around the tension between the two sides of Downside and in Sacrificial Magic we get exactly that. Chess must investigate a haunting on Slobag’s side of town which in turn leads to an attempt on Putnam’s life and an all-out turf war. Can you believe that this is actually just an average day of the job for this church witch? The result is an emotionally charged, action-packed story that doesn’t quit until the very last page. Kane’s talent for writing intricate investigations with multiple plot threads is out in full force in this installment and I found myself enjoying the detective work almost as much as the scenes with Terrible. Almost.
Bahni Turpin’s performance as the narrator is once again without compare; she switches between characters with ease and her tone is always dead-on. She does a brilliant job of portraying each individual’s emotional state and, handles Chess’ frequent highs and lows with ease. Every time I listen to one of these audiobooks I can’t help but be amazed by Turpin’s proficiency with the unique lingo that this series is renowned for. Her voice has become an integral part of my Downside Ghosts reading experience and has forever replaced the one inside my head.
Tension runs high between Chess and Terrible in the first half of this novel which spawns a rather intense argument between these two lovebirds. I was glued to my earbuds during their showdown; it was just so heartbreaking that I felt like I died a little inside after listening to it. Luckily, their make-up session is equally as powerful which means that I cried not once, but twice during this 14 hour experience. I just hope that Terrible and Chess have reached a point in their relationship where they’re finally going to be more “on” than “off” because I’m beginning to get a little frustrated (and drained) by all of the drama. I NEED for them to be a united front for at least one full installment.
Sacrificial Magic provides readers with some closure while simultaneously adding new questions to the already large unanswered pile. I can’t help but worry about what the future might hold for Chess but one thing is for certain; I will be there to find out! Needless to say, Stacia Kane has earned a spot on my auto-buy list!