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Unholy Magic - Stacia Kane

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Genre: Sci-Fi / Fantasy / Author: Stacia Kane / Paperback / 352 Pages / Book is published 2010-07-08 by Harper Voyager

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      16.08.2010 21:03
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      Book 3 is titled 'City Of Ghosts'

      ** While the main story-lines between Unholy Ghosts and UNHOLY MAGIC aren't interrelated, I'd still strongly advise starting with book one so readers can fully appreciate the characters relationships, as well as gaining an understanding to the background of 'The Church' **


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      Basic background info
      (No major spoilers)
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      In 1997 every ghost in the world raised up and killed two thirds of the population in just one week. World leaders were powerless, prayers went unanswered, resulting in every government and religion collapsing.

      In this wasteland a new group rose. The Church Of Real Truth were able to imprison most of the ghosts, and the few that remain uncaptured have lost their corporeal forms.

      The Church Of Real Truth is today the world's only power; there is no other government, no other faith, just The Church. They are in the process of hunting the ghosts that remain uncaptured and compensating the unlucky people being haunted. To find the ghosts the Church educates and trains witches [known as debunkers] to find and capture the ghosts, and find the fraudsters faking a haunting to try and defraud money out of the Church.


      Chess is one of these debunkers, but she has baggage. She has a drug problem [read addiction]. It's a combination of her job and her 'problem' that constantly lands her in trouble; Her drug dealer bump views her as his personal churchwitch, while she is also sleeping with a rival drug dealer's enforcer; Lex [which I'm sure has nothing to do with him supplying her with free drugs].


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      In a nutshell
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      The church gives Chess a new case which will earn her a nice bonus if she can prove that it's fake; A famous Hollywood actor has moved his family into his new 'dream house'. Trouble is that his house is built on the site of a mass murder and now he is reporting multiple spirit sightings. But is it real or is there something else going on?

      Just in her professional case wasn't enough; Someone is murdering prostitutes in Downside and Bump suspects the killer is a ghost so calls Chess in to find who and dispatch them. This means she has to work with Terrible [Bump's enforcer] again, which could lead Chess to even more trouble seeing as she finally admits to herself that she has developed feelings for him...


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      My opinion
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      I have to say that while Unholy Ghosts is extremely enjoyable, UNHOLY MAGIC is in a different league all together. As well as the main two plot threads being expertly drawn, there is also significant character development, which drew me in and made me care for the cast, as well as making me feel actively involved in the story.



      It was interesting to see the two drug gangs first-hand and witness the tensions which threaten to erupt between them, rather then having the characters simply talking about it. Also; I finished book 1 with the [wrong] impression that the whole world was in some sort of global recession and drug use and other vices were rampant - but now everything has been fleshed out fully, so I see that it's the area Chess lives in (It's not the author's fault; I read quickly and sometimes fail to absorb everything).

      Most importantly we learn what has caused Chess to grow up with a ton of self hatred and her finger poised over the self destruct button. We learnt in book 1 [Unholy Ghosts] that Chess is an orphan [though that's pretty common in this world] and information about her young life in various foster homes was hinted at then, but now we get the bigger picture in the form of brief flashbacks Chess suffers. It's this flashbacks and feelings she's tuning out with her growing drug use.

      Speaking of her drug use; Stacia Kane has taken care to show how her addiction has affected her negatively. Book 1 didn't dig too far below the surface in this respect, but now we fully see [in Stacia's own words] the trouble her habit gets her into, how easily she can be controlled and manipulated and in seeking to regain control of her life and feelings she's actually given it up.

      A well as a deeper understanding of Chess we also learn a secret about Terrible too, which is very welcome as the men in Chess' life were just mysterious secondary characters before, but now he's more likable then Chess in my eyes.


      All in all despite the story being a standalone story in terms of the major plot, UNHOLY MAGIC is still a important series entry in terms of character development.

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