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.
I’ve never heard of this series, but I like the fact that the main character is a user. I think that probably gives the story some grit. Nice review!
This series is definitely anything but ordinary!
OMG. Did your heart not speed up with you finally hear the sound of that Chevelle? I was wondering when Terrible would finally make appearance in this one. Love this series so hard. I plan on doing a re-listen of the whole series sometime after the 1st of the year.
YES!! I still have one more book to go then I’ll be all caught up.
This is one of my top ten favorite series on audio. I didn’t really like Bahni Turpin when I first started listening. The more I listened the more I thought she fit Chess. I was in love with her by the end of the first book. I loved reading this series and was so happy when I listened and found out how great they are on audio.
If you haven’t tried this series yet, I highly recommend either read or listen. Both are great.
The Downside series is definitely a MUST in audio!
Yay! I had hard time with the first book, I didn’t like Chess that much, but I found a way to tolerate her by book 2, and in this book I started to understand her. I always love Terrible 🙂
It took me 3 books to really get a feel for this series too.
I’m so glad you loved it! It’s one of my favorites (and I really want to try listening to it instead of reading) It’s easier to accept Chess once you understand why she does what she does. You’ll learn even more as you go on and #5 Chasing Magic is my favorite of all of them. *sigh* Terrible *sigh*
I’m moving onto Chasing Magic next; we shall see if it ends up being my fav as well!
My first experience with this series was listening to the audiobook of book one. I really didn’t like it so it made me not want to move forward with the series. However, I had a bunch of blogger friends tell me I needed to try to read the series and see what I thought. After reading the first book I did like it enough to read the second book. The second book will always be my favorite but I did like the third book as well. I still have yet to read books 4 and 5 but I hope to get to them soon. Glad you went from not liking this series to really enjoying it!
Thanks for the great review.
I was intrigued with this world after book 1, was in love with Terrible by book 2, and was swept away with the whole thing by book 3. I remember reading book 3 while on a road trip and I was starting to run out of daylight as Terrible and Chess were entering the tunnels. I was desperate to continue reading, even pulling out my phone for light! This is one of those rare series that just seems to get better and better as you go.