City of Ghosts by Stacia Kane
Narrator: Bahni Turpin
Series: Downside Ghosts #3
Published by Blackstone Audio
Published on: July 27, 2010
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Length: 13 hrs & 17 mins
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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.
I’m pleased to say, that after three installments, I FINALLY understand what all the fuss over this series is about! Chess and I got off to a rocky start in the beginning but my ratings of Kane’s books have been steadily climbing which brings me to this 5 star review of City of Ghosts. There’s no shortage of action in this novel with its super-charged plot, magical machinations and relationship drama; truthfully, by the end I felt dizzy. This installment packs one heck of a punch and left me grinning from ear-to-ear!
The main story arc, as usual, revolves around a Church investigation but this one is unlike any Chess has ever worked before. She has to team-up with Lauren, a coworker who also just so happens to be the Grand Elder’s daughter. So, not only is the pressure on but Putnam doesn’t exactly play well with others. The complications don’t end there; Chess must take a blood oath of secrecy which puts her in a precarious situation with Downside’s drug lords. Needless to say, the plot keeps you on your toes because you’re constantly decoding magical rules, unearthing layer upon layer of bad guys and crossing your fingers that Putnam gets “them” before “they” get her. You’ll spend most of this book feeling both horrified and hypnotized which proves to be a weird yet surprisingly satisfying combination.
I liked that Chess’ drug use is less prevalent in this novel than in previous installments. I actually thought of her as a heroine for the first time in this series. A few of her less desirable personality traits are strangely beginning to endear her to me thanks to Kane finally revealing more about her character. Chess will never be the perfect protagonist but that’s also part of her charm. Urban Fantasy is full of beautiful people with strong morals so it’s refreshing to encounter one that’s so… un-hero like. I find it ironic that her drug addiction has actually saved her life a couple of times now too. I’m starting to think that being a junkie might actually be a vital survival tool in Downside!
After their fallout in the previous book, Terrible can’t stand to be near Chess but he can’t seem to resist her either. It’s an impossible situation that’s bound to have an explosive outcome. Their love for one another takes a somewhat violent turn but the end result was better than I could ever have hoped for! Not only is City of Ghosts the best installment yet but it’s also the one that made me fall in love with Terrible. Bahni Turpin continues to shine as the narrator of this series; she consistently nails the Downside lingo and handles Chess’ ever-changing moods like a seasoned pro. This is another prime example of a book being better in audio.
Stacia Kane has transformed this critic into a fan. Her gift for combining the most unlikely of elements is oddly compelling and makes for a truly unique Urban Fantasy experience.