Sacrificial Magic begins a few weeks after City of Ghosts ends. Things between Terrible and Chess are good but Chess always feels like she's walking on ice around him, and has a strange case of word vomit when ever they are alone. Chess can't keep secrets from him because she is afraid to lose him but it her brutal honesty and insecurities might be the things to push him away. On top of finally opening herself up to someone, she has to deal with Bump forcing her to investigate a murder that takes place on his territory in Downside. Then there is her real job, as a Debunker for the Church of Real Truth, which leads her to a school in Lex's dad's territory of Downside. Some how Chess has to balance her tenuous relationships and her job as well as maintain some kind of normality. Chess knows she is the only one that can solve this and make sure that whoever is behind it, is stopped.
It is hard to find a character like Chess likable, but it is possible. Chess is the definition of an anti-heroine. She is sarcastic, defensive, and has a pill popping problem. Everything about her should drive the reader away, but Stacia Kane's descriptions and molding of Chess makes you want to get to know her. She does not let anyone in so it is a privilege to be able to be inside of her mind and see who she really is. In Sacrificial Magic Chess has to do a lot of thinking about herself and how to be in a relationship with other people when all she has ever know of other people is the pain they can cause. From the beginning of the series until now Chess has grown, but she still holds on to her attitude and pills as protection from what could happen by being to close to people. Little pieces of Chess' past is revealed, and it becomes easier to realize why she does the things that she does.
Stacia Kane's writing style is insightful, and descriptive without going over board. Some of the metaphors and figurative language she uses flows so well that her prose is almost poetic. Kane's book is a joy to read just for the writing alone. The world that Kane has established is just as tangible as walking out the front door. It is somewhere you can get lost in, but it can also be an emotional drain. It is hard to become so attached to the main character and the world she is in because the entire book is an emotional roller-coaster. Any fans of Urban Fantasy, Dystopian, or PNR will love Sacrificial Magic.
READING, WRITING, AND RAISING THE DEAD
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.