Monday, March 12, 2012

Sacrificial Magic Advanced Book Review *Stacia Kane*

Stacia Kane’s Sacrificial Magic, book #4 in her Downside Ghosts series is her best book to date. If you’re not reading this series about a drug addicted ghost busting witch investigator, you need to start reading ASAP. This series of books shouldn’t work for me since I’m not a big fan of ghosts, or the plight of a drug addicted protagonist, who not only has major self-esteems issues, but her destructive lifestyle is hard to swallow. But the way Stacia has written Chess Putnam, she allows the reader to walk in Chess’s shoes where we see what tough situations Chess must go through to make it through the day. You can't help but sympathize with such a character who’s close to pitiful as you can get. But through it all, Chess remains strong and is the ultimate survivor. She may be downtrodden and lives in despair, including losing herself to hers pills, poppers, dust and other mind destroying drugs, but there’s something about her we can all understand.

There’s a little of Chess inside all of us and the greatest thing with this series is watching Chess win in the end. And now that she’s found love in its purest and most tender of forms, you’d think Chess would get a break, but in Sacrificial Magic that’s not the case. You will experience a roller coaster of emotions while reading this one. I was actually sweating at one point because I thought Chess would lose everything dear to her. Stacia gives the reader a ride they won’t forget.

When we left Chess, she seemed to be in a good place. The reason for this is because of her new relationship with her drug pusher’s henchman and hitman, Terrible. Chess has fallen deeply in love with Terrible who returns her feelings also. These two have been through the wringer together. There was a lot of mistrust between them in the beginning, mainly because Chess would keep Terrible in the dark about things, and she was involved in a sexual relationship with her drug dealer/mob boss’s enemy’s son, Lex. Chess lost herself in Lex’s body and the great sex he could give her without being emotionally involved. Chess enjoyed Lex’s company and he treated her with respect and gave her free drugs. Since Chess thought she didn’t stand a chance with Terrible, she kept turning to Lex. But ten Terrible’s jealousy exploded. Now Chess and Terrible are together and it’s quite the thing of beauty to watch.

Terrible is terribly ugly to the entire world, but not to Chess. Terrible is this hulking, muscular, street enforcer who has bad hair and a face not even a mother could love. He scares the living daylights out of everyone, and his street dialogue is hard to understand. To most he comes across as uneducated and intelligent. But underneath this rouch and tumble package is a very smart and intelligent man who is very handsome to Chess.

This excerpt explains perfectly how important Terrible is to Chess, where without him she would shrivel up and die:

“Seeing him was like being hit in the chest. Like something exploding inside her, a quick ravenous fire that made her shiver. So bright and so hot it still amazed her that no one else seemed to notice it, that every eye in the place didn’t turn to her while she went incandescent.”

Chess is very careful around Terrible and puts on kid gloves with him. She’s afraid to lose him, and because of this, she constantly second guesses herself. If only she could be honest with Terrible and tell him how she really feels, than everything would be okay. But Chess is not big on communication and a man like Terrible can’t always read between the lines. Their relationship is very fragile and it starts to unwind because Chess is so afraid of messing it up. She also thinks she isn’t worthy of Terrible. It’s really heartbreaking to be privy to Chess’ thoughts and feelings because you want to shake the woman because you know she'll ruin everything.

Chess is very self assured when it comes to her job as a ghost hunter for the Church of Real Truth. Her latest investigation leads her to a school that may or may not be haunted. There Chess meets Lex’s sister Beaulah who rubs her the wrong way. Chess isn’t too happy about taking on this case because it brings Lex into close proximity to her, which would make Terrible very unhappy. But Lex, along with Beaulah, wants to help her solve the case, and from that Chess finds out some disturbing things at the school.

While this is going on, Terrible is there to lend a hand, but then Chess starts a downward spiral that ends up with destroying all her progress with Terrible. Once her drugs she relied on kept her going, now that she has Terrible she doesn’t need them as much, but they’re still her crutch. Also, The person using dark magic for revenge, which takes place at the school, is still on the loose and won’t stop until they succeed in their ultimate plan that could make Chess turn her back on everything and those she loves the most.

I love the type of partnership and relationship Chess and Terrible have. These two must be the most unconventional couple I’ve ever read. It’s all about reading in between the lines with these two. Both are in unfamiliar territory when it comes to their love, although Terrible fairs better than Chess.

Stacia does something very dangerous at one point. There’s a scene where Chess is so doped up and paranoid, which leads to a violent altercation with Terrible. She tells Terrible everything that has been eating away at her, even going as far to insult him cruelly and says some debasing things in order to hurt him. Terrible’s normal restraint is put to the test here and it’s the turning point for both of them in so many ways. This is a gut wrenching scene because it’s equally disturbing and powerful but works.

Many of the scenes and actions here have layers that must be unraveled. The scene toward the end where Chess must make a life changing decision will make your heart jump into your throat. The aftermath may have you in tears.

One of the best loves scenes I’ve read so far this year is in this book. If the car is a rockin’, don’t come a knockin’ comes to mind.

Sacrificial Magic is one of my most anticipated reads of 2012 and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s explosive, full of nail biting tension and has incredibly written passages I kept re-reading certain paragraphs because the words sound like poetry to me. Stacia has blown my mind away with Sacrificial Magic. She continues to improves with every book. This is a must read and will most likely be in my top 5 favorite books for this year. Chess and Terrible have become my latest addiction where I wait with bated breath for their next adventure. (Available on March 27th from Del Ray)

Final Grade: A-



Jennifer@The Book Nympho said...

Great review! I love this series. It keeps getting better and better with each book.

Julie said...

Can't wait. Great review Katie!