Chasing Magic (Downside #5) by Stacia Kane
Publisher: DelRey/June 26th, 2012
Kind thanks to DelRey and NetGalley for providing a review copy
Magic-wielding Churchwitch and secret addict Chess Putnam knows better than anyone just how high a price people are willing to pay for a chemical rush. But when someone with money to burn and a penchant for black magic starts tampering with Downside’s drug supply, Chess realizes that the unlucky customers are paying with their souls—and taking the innocent with them, as the magic-infused speed compels them to kill in the most gruesome ways possible.
As if the streets weren’t scary enough, the looming war between the two men in her life explodes, taking even more casualties and putting Chess squarely in the middle. Downside could become a literal ghost town if Chess doesn’t find a way to stop both the war and the dark wave of death-magic, and the only way to do that is to use both her addiction and her power to enter the spell and chase the magic all the way back to its malevolent source. Too bad that doing so will probably kill Chess—if the war doesn’t first destroy the man who’s become her reason for living.
REVIEW (This review assumes you’ve read books 1-4)
Someone is supplying bad drugs to the denizens of Downside. We’re talking, turns-you-into-homicidal-maniac kind of stuff. As you can imagine, this is really bad for business for Bump and Lex, Downside’s drug czars, and Terrible and Chess are caught smack in the middle. Chess and Terrible are trying to keep their relationship on the down low, which is hard to do when Lex’s crew is gunning for him, much to Chess’ dismay. Then there’s that pesky sigil that Chess was forced to carve into Terrible’s chest to save his life. Contact with strong magic isn’t good for Terrible, and Chess has no idea how to fix it.
So, you see, things are just piling up for our favorite self-destructive heroine. Speaking of self-destruction… Chess’ self-loathing is at an all-time high in Chasing Magic. Her relationship with Terrible has brought everything to the surface, and she constantly questions her value and worth, which we all know is a bunch of crap, right? Cause we love Chess, and Terrible loves Chess! He really, really does. Seriously, there are some scenes and dialog in this one that completely suck the air out of the room. Ms. Kane has done an amazing job of painting a portrait of a woman that questions nearly everything that she does, and has absolutely no faith in herself. It’s heartbreaking to read, and yet, her love for her job, and Terrible, are constantly at odds with these feelings. Chess is a fighter, and she continues to fight in Chasing Magic. The problem of the tainted drugs is one of Chess’ hardest (and most terrifying) cases yet, but it’s really Chess, and her relationship with Terrible, that carry the story. This is one of the darkest books in the series, and yet, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I promise. I loved this one, and can’t wait to see where the series goes from here.