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Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts) Mass Market Paperback – May 25, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
In this dark futuristic urban fantasy series launch, Kane (Demon Possessed) blurs the boundaries between the living and the dead. Chess Putnam works for the world-ruling Church of Real Truth, debunking false claims of hauntings and banishing the occasional real ghost. When a powerful drug dealer calls on her services to erase her debt to him, Chess finds herself investigating an abandoned airfield, a horrible human sacrifice, an ominous apparition, and a conspiracy against the church itself. Making matters worse are her persistent drug habit, a cursed unhealing wound, and her fondness for extremely dangerous men. What starts out as a promising concept soon deteriorates into a murky mess of ambiguous characters and grim dangers. Chess is too broken to be sympathetic and too stoned to be coherent, and though it's atmospheric and well written, her story simply lacks heart. (June)
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"Fans of urban fantasy will find themselves sleep-deprived after they start this new series. It's that hard to put down...an exciting world you'll want to escape into again and again." --Romantic Times magazine (June 2010 Reviewer Top Pick)
Top customer reviews
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This is basically a story about a female witch who works for The Church. A Church that has taken over the world since ghosts and spirits were proven to be real. The world she create a is a depressive one. The main character teams up with a "bad guy" to save the day and then there was another bad guy she sort of likes in what seems destined to become a love triangle.
What is funny to me about this book is there is a lot I didn't like, but at the end of the book I find as a whole I enjoyed it and want to buy another book in the series.
The main character is an addict and she's unapologetic about it. She doesn't want to "get better" or be saved, she is what she is. For me that's refreshing. The author does show addiction well imho. What I mean is the thought process and how she acts seems believable. People think addicts are bums begging on the street, most addicts work and function in society. The book does a good job showing how drug addiction is just like a job. How her thoughts are consumed with making sure she has enough, needs to take more and planning when to take more. I didn't find it oft-putting but I can imagine others could.
The two characters that she might or might not have romantic feelings are also not clean cut nice guys. They both work for dealers and both partake of drugs with her. Again it doesn't bother me that they aren't "nice guys". I wish the writer would be more descriptive when she describes the characters appearance. I have no idea what any of them even remotely look like except in my mind. But before I got the hint that one of the guys might be a future love interest I had imagined him as an overweight Honkey Tonk Man (the old wrestler lol)
The story was a bit predictable. I knew who "did it" almost as soon as the character was introduced. Also some of the storylines were a bit convenient. I also don't like when the hero or heroine just seem to "win" by luck and not some supreme bad assery. She's a debunker who gets rid of ghosts. However I don't feel like she's exceptional. She sort of wings it and hopes it. works.
The world building was pretty good. I did seem to "get" what the world was like and how it ended up that way. I hope they expand on that in the next book. I also was confused at how crazy the world has gotten. It seems like hell on Earth. But then she mentions grabbing a paper towel or buying a new matress and comforter set. Do they still have department stores? I was a little leary on that.
I hope more is explained next book. All in all I enjoyed this book. I'm definitely reading the next one.
This product was a personal purchase for myself at the normal retail price. I am reviewing it because I want to share my experience with other potential customers.
Minor Spoilers Below
I love this series. Yes, it has an atypical heroine. But the fact that she's a drug addict is one of the most compelling aspects of it, because of the way it challenges you as a reader. She is likable, her background is tragic and disturbing (understandable how this led to drug use), yet she has the whole part of her character that you can't completely understand or relate to. It's fascinating. Chess is extremely good at her job, smart, and yet has extremely low self esteem and a pill addiction that both have various effects on her life and relationships in the book, romantic and otherwise. Chess is maybe the most unique protagonist I've ever encountered in urban fantasy. And it's not just the heroine that's unconventional, the developing romance is, too, and it's kind of refreshing. Again, unlike any other urban fantasy or paranormal series I've read. At first I was skeptical of the romance, like how am I going to buy this? But as time went on I was proven wrong
The mythology behind the story is fascinating, a lot of detailed world building is involved in this series and it's impressive. This is the first series I've read where ghosts are the paranormal focus, before this it's always been vampires, werewolves, fae, a combination of all of the above, you know the drill if you're a fan of this genre. There's witches, of course, but not your typical witches, since their primary role centers around the ghosts. It all sucked me in quickly.
ETA: Only major thing that I don't like about the series is the whole "church" organization. Their absolute power and the way everyone just accepts what they say kind of freaks me out. I can't give this series 5 stars because I found it too cult like. I really don't think a single institution should have as much power as they do, but as Chess has been raised to believe in its practices, I understand her loyalty. I just hope at some point part of the story opens Chess to the possibility that the Church may not be all she has thought it is. No organization that powerful escapes corruption. But I don't know if the author will delve into that at all, I'm not too optimistic. I also find the books a little depressing because Chess's work centers around death. But that's a personal thing, it may not bug other people.
Overall, I'm really liking it and plan to read every book in the series that comes out.