I was a little late coming to the Downside series by Stacia Kane (please don’t beat me LOL!!). But, I had gotten the first one on sale a few months back and over the last bit, I devoured the entire series…and was super excited to be able to read Chasing Magic courtesy of NetGalley. I love me some Terrible!!
A DEADLY HIGH
Magic-wielding Churchwitch and secret addict Chess Putnam knows better than anyone just how high a price people are willing to pay for a chemical rush. But when someone with money to burn and a penchant for black magic starts tampering with Downside’s drug supply, Chess realizes that the unlucky customers are paying with their souls—and taking the innocent with them, as the magic-infused speed compels them to kill in the most gruesome ways possible.
As if the streets weren’t scary enough, the looming war between the two men in her life explodes, taking even more casualties and putting Chess squarely in the middle. Downside could become a literal ghost town if Chess doesn’t find a way to stop both the war and the dark wave of death-magic, and the only way to do that is to use both her addiction and her power to enter the spell and chase the magic all the way back to its malevolent source. Too bad that doing so will probably kill Chess—if the war doesn’t first destroy the man who’s become her reason for living.
If you’re new to the series, I highly recommend you start from the beginning of the series. While I think you’d be somewhat OK reading Chasing Magic as a standalone, you don’t get the world-building and character relationship and interactions that you’ll need to fully appreciate (IMHO) Chasing Magic.
I felt the pacing of Chasing Magic was much faster than in the previous Downside novels. I like fast-paced, action packed novels and Ms. Kane delivered in Chasing Magic. It seemed almost everytime Chess and Terrible turned around, there was another death…was it part of the looming war mentioned in the blurb or something….more? Chasing Magic is by far my favorite of the series to date. I really fell for Terrible even more…and I know you’re probably thinking, “is that even possible?!” Trust me, it is *G*.
My only complaint with Chasing Magic is in regards to Chess. She is still herself…but I’m kind of over her in a way. She is so much better and stronger than she gives herself credit for. She’s human and she’s flawed, yes. But her constant self-doubt…that filters way too much into how she views her relationship with Terrible and her very incorrect thinking of how he views her just really grated on my nerves. I like to see my characters grow and develop over the course of a series. I’m not saying Chess isn’t…she is. There’s a major event (for her…well maybe more than 1) that takes place between her and Terrible; and this whole relationship and admitting she loves Terrible. They are great and wonderful things. But…I don’t know, it’s just not quite enough at this point, at least for me. I like Chess and can sympathize with her and I just want her to really see herself for how strong she really is and rid the demons of her childhood so she can really move forward with her life and with Terrible. I’m hoping she’ll be ready to start that process soon.
One final thought on Chasing Magic…and well the whole series in general. I’m kind of stumped on what the entire story arc is….where this is all going, at least in regards to the Church. I think, and am hoping, that for Chess and Terrible we’re heading towards a UF HEA…but hey, this is UF and an HEA may not happen. That would suck, but one never knows. Any thoughts anyone about the overall arc of the series? I know I’m looking forward to the next installment of the Downside series :).