Publication Date: March 27, 2012
When Chess Putnam is ordered by an infamous crime boss—who also happens to be her drug dealer—to use her powers as a witch to solve a grisly murder involving dark magic, she knows she must rise to the challenge. Adding to the intensity: Chess’s boyfriend, Terrible, doesn’t trust her, and Lex, the son of a rival crime lord, is trying to reignite the sparks between him and Chess.
Plus there’s the little matter of Chess’s real job as a ghost hunter for the Church of Real Truth, investigating reports of a haunting at a school in the heart of Downside. Someone seems to be taking a crash course in summoning the dead—and if Chess doesn’t watch her back, she may soon be joining their ranks.
As Chess is drawn into a shadowy world of twisted secrets and dark violence, it soon becomes clear that she’s not going to emerge from its depths without making the ultimate sacrifice.
I think that Sacrificial Magic is, without a doubt, the best book of Stacia Kane's Downside Ghosts Series thus far. For the first three books we spent so much time in Chess's head, getting to know everyone through her eyes, that it was sometimes hard to see them as clearly as I would have liked. That is remedied in Sacrificial Magic.
I like how much more is revealed about Lex and his family. He starts to feel like his own person here, not just an extension of Chess's destructive behaviours. I also really appreciate the added depth to Elder Griffin's character. We are starting to see him as an individual rather than merely Chess's security blanket. Chess herself also does a lot of developing as a character in Sacrificial Magic. It is much slower than I want, not a drastic as I want, but also probably much more realistic than what I want as well. Self loathing, chronic mistrust, and serious addictions do not disappear overnight. Kane doesn't take the easy road but the true one, and I respect her for that. My only disapointment was that Terrible seemed a little absent from Sacrificial Magic as an individual.
Kane also does an excellent job with Terrible and Chess's relationship. She doesn't have the ending of City of Ghosts 'end' their problems; nor does she manufacture situational problems to add tension to their relationship. Kane simply shows two damaged people learning how to trust each other and themselves. There were times when I was so frustrated with both of them that it broke my heart to read what they said and did. Even so, every single thing that happened felt authentic for them. If they had behaved in any other way it would not have been them.
I also think this is Kane's best mystery yet. For the first time, she left me guessing about things right up to the end, and I loved it. This haunting felt a lot scarier, and like there was a lot more at stake. I argued with myself about which characters I should or should not trust. It was riveting, and I simply could not put the book down. If you are a fan of Urban Fantasy and are not yet reading Stacia Kane: you should be.
[H]e smelled like kesh smoke and one of those sleazy colognes that promised to make men instantly attrative but actually just made them smell like men who wore sleazy cologne.
Love was full of secrets. Love masked so many evils. Love controlled people, it lied to them, it made them believe things that weren't true and it hid the truth from them. People said love was blind, but what they meant was that love blinded them. It made them more vulnerable than anything else could.
Purchased From Barnes & Noble for Nook
Review also on Goodreads