Customer Reviews for

Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts Series #1)

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Well that was different

I've never read anything quite like this. The story was amazingly original even though the feel of the story was gritty. The main character is stumbling through life by working a job to barely live and to get her next fix. Her job, however, is one facet of what makes th...
I've never read anything quite like this. The story was amazingly original even though the feel of the story was gritty. The main character is stumbling through life by working a job to barely live and to get her next fix. Her job, however, is one facet of what makes this book so interesting. She is a debunker, a ghost banisher. And between the job she is assigned and others she knows from her drug involvement, her life is anything but boring. I am quite interested to see what will happen in the next book in this series. Different works well!

posted by Yvette4 on October 20, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

Highly Recommended

This book was OK. The main story was interesting and different. Basically the dead rise and start killing the living, so an organization called The Church (oh irony) or The Church Of Truth banishes them to an underground city made especially for them and proceeds to b...
This book was OK. The main story was interesting and different. Basically the dead rise and start killing the living, so an organization called The Church (oh irony) or The Church Of Truth banishes them to an underground city made especially for them and proceeds to become the new government as the world abolishes all it's old religions now that "Truth is Fact." Chess is a witch who works for them as a Debunker, mostly disproving when people claim to gave a ghost (the church compensates you for your troubles) or banishing them to The City if there is one.

Initially I found her drug addiction made it hard to relate to her/accept her as my heroin, but it's effect wore off and by the end it didn't bother me as much, perhaps because the author gives some insight into her background and the causes for her addiction. Also, there is a LOT of narrative. That's all well and good, but sometimes I just like to hear (read) people talk and the constant inner monologue gets to be a bit much and I find myself skimming to see how far ahead I have to read before Terrible reappears (my favorite character at this point and a potential man for Chess).

All that being said, I enjoyed this read and having continued with the next books can honestly say this is now one of my FAVORITE series despite my initial hesitance.

posted by Sandra027 on December 19, 2010

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  • Posted October 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Well that was different

    I've never read anything quite like this. The story was amazingly original even though the feel of the story was gritty. The main character is stumbling through life by working a job to barely live and to get her next fix. Her job, however, is one facet of what makes this book so interesting. She is a debunker, a ghost banisher. And between the job she is assigned and others she knows from her drug involvement, her life is anything but boring. I am quite interested to see what will happen in the next book in this series. Different works well!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 20, 2011

    Great read!

    This isn't an actual review, more of a one-sided discussion, if you will...

    I saw all the bloggy and twitter buzz about this series. Terrible, Terrible, Terrible...everyone's talking about Terrible.

    So, I decided to give it a go. I had some other obligations, so it literally took me over a month to read this book. Once I actually got into it, I enjoyed it. Chess is an interesting heroine and for whatever reason her drug addiction didn't bother me at all; I liked her. The plotline was pretty involved towards the middle/end, but once Chess figured it out I got it too.

    It also took me awhile to get the Terrible love. I can tell you exactly where it hit me (Two spots actually: When they were talking after she'd been chased through the tunnels alone, and she thinks to herself that he's 6'4" (the height does it for me every time), and then when he beat up Doyle for her. But, I like Lex too. I'm not sure how that's going to play out, but he beat up Doyle too and I guess that strikes me as chivalrous in some messed up way.

    I'm getting ready to start Unholy Magic and am looking forward to it; I like this Downside world and I'm curious to see where Ms. Kane is going to take Chess next.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The world-building and characterization present in Unholy Ghosts rises above your average urban fantasy tale.

    Congratulations, Stacia Kane. You've earned one of the very coveted spots (ok, not THAT coveted) on my favorite UF authors list. Yep. Unholy Ghosts was the first encounter I've had with Stacia Kane, but I'm definitely planning on reading more of her books in the future!

    What I liked the most about Unholy Ghosts was that it was different from any other urban fantasy novel I've read, and trust me, I've read quite a few. The world building was fantastic, and it even has a bit of a dystopian/speculative feel to it.

    To give you a bit of an idea of what the world in Unholy Ghosts is like, imagine this. In 1997, there was a terrible tragedy that occurred, known as "Haunted Week." Basically, a bunch of bloodthirsty ghosts crossed back over into the world of the living and went on a giant killing spree. Lots of people died, until the Church of Real Truth was able to banish the souls back to the City of the Dead. As a result, all of the religions of the old world (Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, etc.) have become obsolete, because the Church of Real Truth (which has come to power at this time) teaches the people that there are no gods, only energy and magic. Employees of the Church, like the main character, Chess, work on "debunking" (banishing) ghosts, and fighting against a few smaller rebel groups that want to steal power from the Church of Real Truth.

    I loved reading about this world that was so different, yet so similar to our own. Like I said, the world-building was fantastic. Unholy Ghosts was a lot darker than I thought it would be, but I like dark, when it's well done, so I had no trouble enjoying this book.

    Chess was also a really interesting character to read about. She's a drug addict (That wasn't a spoiler, by the way. It's on the back cover), and I didn't think I would like her at first. I was wrong. She wasn't an oh-my-gawd-this-is-the-best-heroine-EVER! kind of character, but I liked her, and she grew on me more and more as the book went on. Throughout the book, there are several hints at Chess' darker past, though we don't get to see all of it. She definitely has skeletons in her closet, and I'm hoping we'll get to see a little bit more of Chess' history in later books.

    My recommendation: if you like Urban Fantasy at all, then give this one a shot in the near future!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2015

    .

    .

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  • Posted March 20, 2014

    Unholy Ghosts is most definitely a book outside of my comfort zo

    Unholy Ghosts is most definitely a book outside of my comfort zone. Like, WAY outside. Urban fantasy, although definitely growing on my list of must-read genres, has always been hit or miss for me. In addition, the world includes a "church" that rules everyone's lives. And, our main character? She's a drug addict.

    Chess Putnam had an awful life before The Church of Real Truth rescued and educated her. She now works for the church as a debunker - a witch who has a penchant for banishing murderous ghosts. The damage her early life inflicted on her is dampened only by drugs, so Chess also has to answer to drug lord Bump and his enforcer Terrible. Soon, her loyalties are tested as she does a job for the Church as well as a job for Bump, and it seems that they might be related.

    No, Unholy Ghosts is definitely not something I would normally make time to read. My book bestie Jen suggested we start to listen to it on a drive to a book signing, though, and I had heard some stories about how awesome Terrible was, so I was a tiny bit curious. Although it took me a few chapters to get into it - world building always seems to take so much longer with urban fantasy - once I did, I was shocked to find myself hooked.

    Chess is the most damaged heroine I've ever encountered. She had such an awful childhood, the likes of which only scratched the surface in Unholy Ghosts. I'm honestly surprised she's as functional as she is. But, honestly, she's more than functional. Chess is incredibly smart and intuitive. Despite her need for her pills and the fact that she owes a drug lord a crap ton of money she doesn't have, she is really good at her job. She doesn't always make smart decisions - hell, she makes really, really bad choices quite often in fact. But, I think she's inherently a good person who is trying to deal with a lot of baggage and self-loathing.

    Terrible is an awesome hero because he's completely unexpected. He's not gorgeous. Or rich. Or well-spoken. He's a drug lord's muscle. He has poor fashion sense (but, a really cool car). And I fell completely in love with him. Terrible is a little bit damaged as well, and it's obvious he cares a lot for Chess. He's kind of adorable, really. Chess is oblivious to his attraction for most of the book even if the reader isn't. This was the cause of a ton of frustration on my part.

    The world in which these characters live is incredible. Ghosts stormed the world in 1997 and killed half the population before people with magic beat them back and imprisoned them in The City. The people with magic became The Church of Real Truth, and the set about effectively eliminating all of the world's organized religions and set themselves up as the law. Now, The Church runs everything everywhere. They employ the most powerful people to round up any straggling ghosts and return them to The City. Chess is one of those people, and she lives in Downside, which is like the slums of Triumph City. Drugs, prostitution, and crime of the worst kinds happens daily. Stacia Kane did an amazing job setting up this world and introducing it to the reader a bit at a time so as not to be too confusing.

    The mysteries that Chess was asked to solve were complex and interesting. I couldn't wait to find out who the mastermind was and how Chess would thwart him or her. The crimes and the methods of detection were really graphic and gruesome at times, but in the context of the story, they fit in perfectly. Chess' and Terrible's relationship is sweet and fun to read about. Well, listen to, in my case. I'm very glad I listened to the audio version of this book. The Downside lingo would be rather hard to understand if I had to read it, and I thought the narrator did a fantastic job with it. I was so taken with this series, I immediately moved on to the second book. I can't wait to see what's in store for Chess and Terrible next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    Ghostly

    It seems like a really good book maybe if i rea it i will get into it and it seems like a book that i would buy we will all find out soon

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  • Posted June 10, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    I think this was a pretty clever book. I thought the premise wa

    I think this was a pretty clever book. I thought the premise was new and different. I read a lot of paranormal genre and this was a breath of fresh air in the sense of something different. The characters become very real and you become very involve in the outcome. I recommend this to my friends. I've read the whole series now and I'm totally stoked for the new one to come out!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2012

    Entertaining

    It took a while to get used to the variuos dialects but once that happened I couldn't put it down. I will definitely read more from this author.

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  • Posted May 1, 2012

    Really liked it!

    This book was great! I just finished the fourth one in the series and they just keep getting better. I would highly recommend the series. Chess' relationship alone is worth reading about (I won't give anything away by mentioning any names!)

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  • Posted March 30, 2012

    Greart start to a new series!

    Greart start to a new series!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2012

    Loved it!

    I loved this book and when I first started it I wasn't sure that I would. By page 40 however I was hooked! Completely. Some of the dialect that she uses for the folks that live in the Downside really grated on my nerves at first but I got used to it. I can not wait to read the next one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2012

    Good suspense

    I like Chess. She is human. I have no problem with addiction. We all have them. I feel the worst addiction is denial and she certainly does not have that. The writing is good. Very urbanic. Nice and scary. Unpredictable. I am rooting for her and that makes this a successful novel in my terms.

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  • Posted August 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Surprising & Dark UF

    In the wake of the devastating "Haunted Week," when ghosts ran free and murdered at will, the Church of Real Truth was established as the only entity with enough power to effectively banish the rampaging souls. Now an employee of the Church, Chess Putnam is known as a Debunker. It's her job to track down the lingering ghosts that haunt the city and banish them for good. Basically she's a witch and she's got the tattoos to prove it. But Chess also has a serious drug problem, one that has her popping various pills just to make it through the day. Her addiction has also left her with a tidy little debt to the local supplier and scary Downside king Bump. When Bump offers to wipe her debt clear in exchange for banishing a ghost in an unused section of his territory, Chess has no option but to comply. It's either that or pay up (with money she doesn't have) or face the wrath of Bump's terrifying muscle, Terrible. So Chess agrees, knowing full well that extra-curricular use of her powers is an express no-no by the Church. Aided by the menacing Terrible, Chess begins an investigation that will unearth an evil ghost far more powerful than she ever imagined and a far-reaching conspiracy that could shake the tenuous foundation of a life she's built for herself.

    For the first 50 pages or so, I seriously considered tucking Unholy Ghosts right back on the shelf. Despite a promising beginning and glowing reviews, I just couldn't bring myself to connect with a protagonist who was a self-admitted drug-addict. Even if she did have a pretty intriguing job as someone who banishes ghosts under the sanction of the Church of Real Truth (which really is a misnomer since it's actually more like a government than a church). I also wasn't finding the appeal of the whole dark and dirty underworld, Downside, where Chess makes her home. Then suddenly, I don't know what changed, but something sure clicked. Without warning, I found myself 100% behind Chess in the Believable Character Department. Her feelings of confusion and stress were coming across loud and clear and just as quickly, my estimation of her strength of character skyrocketed too. It also didn't hurt that I was utterly intrigued by her work for the Church as a Debunker. In other words: I was hooked. From that point on, the pages flew faster and faster as I was right there with Chess as she stumbled along, trying her best to keep from going under.

    I honestly don't know how Stacia Kane managed to create such a flawed yet sympathetic character in Chess. On paper, she's a complete mess - someone you wouldn't want to go within a mile of. But in all honesty, once I was able to piece together her unpleasant history and get a better grip on the woman that is Chess, I was completely sold. I began to understand why she has turned to drugs in order to keep herself sane. I don't necessarily like that aspect of her personality, but I am very much sympathetic as to the why.

    There are so many reasons to explain my complete satisfaction with this novel. First off, the world building is superb. You've got the Church of Truth on one hand (remember - government not religion) keeping a clean face on the surface and then the seedy Downside with all its slums and shady characters on the other. As someone who straddles both these worlds, Chess walks a fine line in her associations. And that includes the mysterious yet terrifying Terrible. I just hope they can figure out their tangled relationship - and soo

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  • Posted August 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent first book in the Downside Series

    won from Library thing Arc's.

    This was an interesting debut book. I really thought the world and concept were original and interesting. I find I was intrigued by Chess aka Cesaria Putnam. This book had a lot going for it, but It really bugged me with all the drug use. It was extreme, and hard to read and hard for me to figure out how on earth Chess could function while she is snorting lines, popping uppers, downers, speed, and hitting the pipes. I understand that she is a flawed character, but it was too much.

    I could understand a casual usuage, in the world of the book, but her usage far surpassed addiction. I also feel like she didn't grow at all. It doesn't seem as if she feels there is a problem with her drug use. I wonder if this is going to be a steady theme in the books to follow, or will chess eventually deal with her emotional trauma and grow up and get clean?

    The men in her life, Aside from their weird names, Terrible, and Lex. I liked Terrible. I find I kinda liked Lex. But it felt like some sex thrown in for good reading measure. It didn't feel necessary to the story. I also felt bad for terrible and how she treated and acted to him while she was so far gone.

    Overall, I find myself intrigued with the world, but feeling rather unsettled by the amount of drug use.

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  • Posted August 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Unholy Ghosts

    I really enjoyed this dark urban fantasy. It was a significantely darker read than Stacia's Megan Chase series. However, I really hated the heroine's weakness for drugs. I mean how tough can she be if anyone can wiggle pills in front of her face to persuade her. Also the street language was iritating. To be honest, I don' t think all street thugs are incapable of completing coherent sentences. This was worse then ebonics plague. Aside from those issues, this story is original and exciting.

    I don't like reading about losers that never learn their lesson. Several times Chessie walked a fine like between brave and too-stupid-to-live. She never actually crossed it but she could've have made smarter choices were she not high out of her mind. I can't imagine how bleak life must look if I had to banish ghosts for a living but yoga would work better than drugs any day.

    This book was interesting and different and I did read it from cover to cover, but I had a hard time getting into the story. Once I got past the first chapter, despite my dislike of ghost stories, the story completely hooked my attention. I don't plan on reading the next book in this series Unholy Magic. This author didn't do anything wrong I just don't feel the necessary pull towards the main character and I don't really care what happens next to Chessie. It's not because Chessie is an unapologetic and pathetic drug addict, I am just not into ghost stories, no matter how pleasantly dark they are.

    To my fellow dark urban fantasy readers, I won't be reading the next book in this series but If you are into ghost stories, I recommend this book to you.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted August 3, 2010

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    Posted June 11, 2011

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    Posted December 29, 2011

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    Posted July 26, 2010

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    Posted September 16, 2013

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