Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Audiobook Review - City of Ghosts (Downside Ghosts, Book 3) by Stacia Kane (4.5/5 stars)

Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Size: 416 pages
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: July 27, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0345515599
Stand Alone or Series: 3rd book in the Downside Ghosts series
Source: Audiobook from
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

This is the third book in the Downside Ghosts series by Kane. I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook was very well done. This was the strongest book in the series so far; I loved how we got to delve deeper into the workings of the Church of Truth.

When piles of body parts start showing up on street corners the Church wants Chess on the case. They pair Chess with a member of the Black Squad for the investigation and bind Chess to not talk about the investigation on penalty of death. The binding gets cumbersome when Chess’s drug dealer Bump wants to be kept informed of what’s going on. As secrets are revealed Chess doesn’t know who to trust; the one man she could trust wants her dead making things even more complex.

This was by far my favorite book in the series. The Church of Truth is finally facing off with the Lamaru in a more direct way. Chess is forced to deal with some truly nasty magic. The story focused more on Chess and her investigation with the Church than on her drug habits. Bump is present in the story, but played a very minor role. I enjoyed that there was less focus on Chess’s drug habits and dealer and more focus on her job with the Church.

Chess grows a lot as a character and is forced to finally face her feelings for Terrible. Chess is also working closely with a member of the Black Squad named Lauren. It was fascinating to watch Chess work in close proximity to another member of the Church. We usually see her working alone or with other Downsiders.

Lauren is an excellent new character. She definitely gives Chess a run for her money, she is strong, obnoxious, and really shakes things up. She was an excellent counterbalance to Chess and really added a lot of interest to the story.

Things come to a climax between Chess and Terrible (no pun intended....kind of). Both are forced to face their feelings towards each other. The scenes between these two are heartbreaking and tense, Kane really does a good job of jerking around the readers’ emotions. I was on the edge of my seat for these scenes and loved it.

There is quite a bit of action in this book as well. We get to see Chess doing magic under high stress and in combat situations. We also learn a lot more about how sending ghosts to the City works and how the Church works. We see a lot more magic then in previous books. This is a fascinating world and a unique and I still enjoy the settings.

I still have some problems with the characters. I just don’t like Chess and, while I understand why her live is so screwed up, I find her frustrating to read about. Terrible remains my favorite character of the bunch. I did enjoy that this book dealt more with Chess’s job than her addiction and hope future books keep that focus.

Overall the best book yet in this series. While I am not a fan of Chess as a character I have to admit that the scenes between her and Terrible are masterfully done. I do love this world and was excited to see that this book focused on the Church of Truth and Chess’s job there. We learn oodles more about the Church and also get to see some pretty sweet magic performed. I recommend this series to urban fantasy fans who like flawed characters and dark settings.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- Dystopia Reading Challenge
- Horror and Urban Fantasy Challenge
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge

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