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Finding Magic (Novella) (Downside Ghosts) by [Kane, Stacia]
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Finding Magic (Novella) (Downside Ghosts) Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Length: 120 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Product Details

  • File Size: 2290 KB
  • Print Length: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (June 4, 2012)
  • Publication Date: June 4, 2012
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0082XLZ3I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #467,451 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jen (Red Hot Books) TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I wasn't sure what to expect from this prequel novella in the Downside series. I knew it would feature a young Chess, just getting started in the Church. I knew she would be untried and I knew she would already be damaged by her horrible childhood. What I didn't expect was how much she would be colored by hope; or how sad it would be to know what her future would hold.

Basically, the story follows Chess on her first real training mission. She's been studying with the Church for two years, but this her first foray out into the field. She must work with members of the Black Squad to solve a string of seemingly unrelated ghost-murders. The plot is interesting enough, but where I was affected was in how Chess was portrayed. She's so... earnest.

I've never had an overabundance of patience with Chess or her self-destructive behavior. But here, she is somehow both naive and jaded. She carries both hope and despair. And we see these defining moments in her life. The groundwork for the ill-fated tryst with Agnew Doyle we hear about in Unholy Ghosts. The first tendrils of a relationship with Elder Griffen. The feelings of communion with Downside. That first Cept. Her first glimpse of Terrible. It's a lot to take in. It makes me hurt for her. It makes me more sympathetic to where she ends up. And for that Stacia Kane is brilliant.

All that being said, I don't think this is a story for new readers. It's for fans who already think they know Chess, to show us just how much we didn't know. It's an important part of the Downside world, but it doesn't have the single most compelling element of the novels, and that's Terrible. He is the heart of the series for me, and his absence was felt.

One day, maybe, he'll get a novella of his own. A girl can hope, right?
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Finding Magic is a great little slice of Kane's Downside Ghost series, a prequel showing Chess moving towards who she becomes during the series. Showing how she ends up being a Debunker, why she is drawn to Downside, what drives her to her addictions - and how she is already adept at living the lie that she is a normal person. It also shows her solving the puzzle, when she is getting her first taste of field work during her training with the Church of Truth, and as messed up as Chess is, her instincts are sharp and I love watching her put things together. And, since inquiring minds need to know, yes, there is an oh so brief glimpse of a bowling shirted someone who will become important to Chess in the future.

So Finding Magic is a decent short, one that fans of the series will appreciate, but also one that would serve as a fairly decent introduction to Kane's series.
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If you love supernatural fiction, then you'll have run across Stacia Kane by now. While she's an excellent writer, her novels will turn off the light-weight readers who like their fantasy light and fluffy (like Twilight). The largest complaint I hear about her works concern the main character's intense drug usage and incredibly low self-esteem. Most people want the main character to be a little flawed, but not as deeply flawed as Chess. However, it's Kane's world, not the reader's. If you want to see into the depths of a character who is full of self-doubt and more than addicted to drugs, then give this series a try.
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I read these books like they are drugs...but my biggest problem with the books has always been Chess's drug use. Only in the last installment was I ever able to muster any empathy to her whatsoever. I hate the place that she is in, she is whiny, she doesn't deserve Terrible. (Who really is loveable and endearing as a character despite the lifestyle he leads). But in learning more about her background, I did feel a sorry for her. With "Finding Magic" I found myself really feeling for Chess and empathizing with her. "Finding Magic" is very much worth the .99 cents its being sold for right now. It is a nice length, fully fleshout out story. It shows us Chess and her life when she was just finishing up her Church training and trying to find which career to pursue with the Church. She is invited to train with the Black Squad but is treated like a know-nothing kid. Her ideas are pushed aside and she is patronized by her trainer Jillian time and again. What readers know, but Jillian and the Black Squad don't, is that Chess is one smart girl. She makes connections and figures things out despite everyone not believing her capable. In these aspects we can see the Chess we have come to know.

What I found most compelling about this novella wasn't the (very interesting) story of the ghost murders. It was watching Chess start with a sip or two of vodka to make it through the bad parts of her day...it was seeing how the drugs hooked her at the start...it was seeing her relationship begin with Elder Griffin. Most of all it was being privy to all of her inner turmoil. She is so afraid of being dropped by the Church and of being unworthy and disguarded. This is what remains of the abused, neglected girl she was before the Church took her in. It is absolutely heartbreaking.
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The intricate details of how Ms. Kane's main character in her 'Downside' series came to be a Church Debunker thread through the plot perfectly. Eighteen year old Cesaria Putnam, in training with the Church of Real Truth, gets placed on a tryout basis with the Church Black Squad. They investigate murders. The grisly string of mutilated corpses in an ongoing case fascinates the young trainee, Chess. She rightly correlates the murders to ghosts, much to the surprise of her difficult handler Jillian and the rest of the Black Squad. Tying in Chess's beginning problems with alcohol and drug abuse, coupled with her background of being abused in foster homes, explains her difficulties in throwing off the addictions. This prequel has its share of murder and ghost mayhem, entwined with human avarice, in an enthralling, fast paced story. Chess connects with her mentor, Elder Griffin, and shows off the impressive detective skills she exhibits throughout the series as a Debunker who investigates real ghost hauntings from fraudulent claims which the Church would have to pay off. She also catches a glimpse at the end of her future lover, the `Downside' enforcer, Terrible.

If you're a fan of the series, or wanting an introduction to the `Downside', I highly recommend Finding Magic. This series is not for the faint of heart however. It revolves around people scratching out an existence in a very dark `Downside'. Their ways of coping with a depressing arena of life, where they are under constant threat by murderous ghosts and other human predators, may not sit well with many readers. For those who can suspend the real world, this series will jerk you into its dark hole of human and ghost interaction completely.
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