This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane
Series: Downside Ghosts #1
Published by Del Rey (5.25.2012)
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Format: Paperback, 339 pages
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The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen, and the living are under attack. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully tattooed witch and freewheeling ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for banishing the wicked dead. But Chess is keeping a dark secret: She owes a lot of money to a murderous drug lord named Bump, who wants immediate payback in the form of a dangerous job that involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in lust for a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah.
After all the hype over this series and Stacia Kane’s work, I was expecting much, much more. I’m afraid I ended up being disappointed. To be honest, I almost DNFed this one in the first 100 pages. It didn’t get interesting for me until around 170 when Tyson entered the story, and it finally picked up. That’s a little too much boring for my taste.
My next problem was that I felt like I was dumped in the middle of a story. I feel like there should have been a prequel for this one. I had no clue what the hell was going on for most of the beginning. Nothing was really explained, and terms were thrown at you for you to figure out yourself. Debunkers, Goodys, and Elders, and the roles they play. I never did figure out what a psychopomp was. And as far as the Church, it was just bits and pieces. Something was mentioned about Before Truth, but again it wasn’t explained. Then there was the Lamaru, some faceless evil enemy, and….and nothing. That’s it. They weren’t explained either. They were bad, that’s about all I got. I would have liked the book to touch more on the Truth and the City of Eternity. The world building was just lacking for me.
I hated Chess. With the fire of a thousand suns. First of all, the drug addiction bothered me. Never once did the thought cross her mind that it was bad and she should probably quit. No, quite the contrary. She liked her addiction. And her popping pills and snorting powder was inserted so nonchalantly in the book that it made it seem normal and okay to do it. I was hoping that at the end, there would be some sort of moral learned on her part, but nope.
I don’t think taking a few pills would have really bothered me too much, but she did it every 20 pages. I found this to be a bit excessive. That and the fact that she would take speed and then complain about being too jumpy from it and say she needed to take something to come back down. Um, WTF? If it’s screwing you up like that, why the hell take it in the first place? Ugh. And she’d do it on the job. She mentioned not being able to tell the difference between ghosts and the drugs. Yeah, that’s a fantastic role model right there.
I didn’t care much for Terrible, either. I don’t really see the appeal there. He’s described as rather Neanderthal – in looks and personality. It even says that he has a jutting brow and crooked nose, an ugly profile. And he had a macho man attitude to the extent that I expected him to start beating on his chest spontaneously. He did end up being smarter than he looked, but the way he talked could certainly say otherwise.
And the way Bump talked…good Lord. It was like gangster Yoda speech. Most of the time I couldn’t even tell what the heck he was trying to say. I mean come on, who talks like that?
There were a couple times where I was interested, but for the most part I couldn’t connect with the story or the characters. The person behind everything was a mystery, though. I didn’t figure that one out, but it wasn’t really a surprise when the identity was revealed.
I do want to read the next book in hopes that it will improve, but it will not be anywhere in the near future.
Writing style: 2.5/5
Overall rating: 2 starfish
Lots of people loved it, but I was disappointed.
This is the second not so positive review for this book I’ve seen today. I was so adding this to my list, but I’m not so sure I’ll hurry to it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
I really love the entire series, but it’s definitely not for everyone. The first book is actually my least favorite book for far. I didn’t really get into it until the last half of the book.
For those of you who are on the fence about starting the series, I just want to say that there is a reason for Chess’s drug use, but it’s not really discussed until later books.
Also, I didn’t really fall in love with Terrible until book 2 or 3. He actually might be my top favorite book boyfriend (or at least in the top 3).
I also really love this series, but agree that it is not for everyone and that the first book is not my favorite. I enjoyed the first book and thought this world that Ms. Kane had created was fascinating, but was bothered by Chess’s drug use. I was still not sure if I was completely “hooked” on the series by book 2, but that was when I knew I had fallen in love with Terrible and I had to keep reading to find out more about him. By halfway through book 3, I was a goner. You may say that three books is a lot to read to get hooked on a series, and you would be right, but it is not that I did not enjoy the first two books. On the contrary, I think I was in denial for the first two books.
I just have one other thing to comment on, the language. Yes, it gets a little hard to understand sometimes, but I think the fact that Ms. Kane has created her own language for this series is genius. You commented particularly on Bump. He is supposed to be a crime boss, and not a high class crime boss, but one from the ghetto and he speaks like it. Yes, his is worse than most, but he has been in charge for so long he has never had a reason to improve it. Plus, it’s just Bump’s style :)