Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Feb 2015 Reread with MacHalo Girls: ABSOLUTELY FUCKING LOVED IT. Everything I said below still stands. I think I loved it more the second time around because perspective.
No Spoilers! Definitely colorful language abound!
1. THIS IS NOT WHAT I WAS EXPECTING.
I didn't read the reviews on this until I finished, and truthfully it's really a difficult book to review. It's not what you think it's going to be. It's not what you want it to be. It's not familiar. It's not unfamiliar. So what is it then? It's fucking tragic. This world is a place with no meaning. Filled with a bunch of people with no hope. The class devision is extremely prevalent, specifically noted in the dialect of the lower class. It's a bit startling at first, but truthfully it's something you adjust to and eventually see the fineness the author applied to it. It speaks of an uneducated and hardened group of people who have long been forgotten by a system that no longer seems to exist. There is no god, no light, no better place, no peace. You simply die, and your ghost is ushered to the underground where once a year you might be let out, for all of eternity, consumed by a murderous rage, you aren't even yourself. Let that sink in for a moment, shall we? You get this brief time of being alive where the quality of your life is nothing more than a roll of the dice. You are born with magic? Great. You are born with wealthy parents? Good. You are born poor? Well, shit. You can't change anything, you just have to manage to make it through, then for what exactly? AN ETERNITY OF NOTHING BUT RAGE IN THE CITY UNDERGROUND!
2. WHO ARE THESE CHARACTERS? IS THAT A LOVE TRIANGLE? I DON'T EVEN CARE.
You see, anything to do with ghosts typically freaks me the feck out and so that means I'm in equal measure terrified and fascinated. Eventually my TBR list lacked the ability to hold my attention and I went out seeking something I couldn't articulate. Thankfully I've met some book soul sisters here on GR and was reminded yet again by Jenny of this series. Something sparked and I put all my other reads on hold to start this.
I made a note at 20% through to myself:
Even if I were to stop right now, even if that was possible to let these characters go, I would always remember Chess. She is a character that will stay with me forever.
She is mosaic of painful memories, self-medicating tendencies and a healthy dose of self loathing. She is powerful, deeply sensitive, and brimming with hope despite herself. She expects the worst in others but somehow finds herself disappointed when they let her down. She is acutely aware of herself yet slathered in denial. She is a junkie with morals. She is a powerful witch and debunker but afraid of ghosts. She is gritty, raw and articulate. She is a badass and a pussy. She is complex, she is herself, she is MY NEW FAVORITE CHARACTER.
Terrible is equally complex and manages to ooze a comfort in his own skin typically only seen in those who have been blessed with the pleasure of growing old. As all of the characters in this series his many layers are revealed in a deliciously slow manner, and almost in spite of himself. Terrible doesn't want you to get to know him but every now and again he slips and you see how clever, observant and protective he is. Not only does Terrible accept himself without hesitation despite being who he is and what he does, he also offers the same acceptance to all those around him. He truly see's people for who they are without any preconceived idea's of what they should do or be or say. This is especially visible in the way his friendship with Chess builds over the series.
Lex is the obvious charmer but carries it as his armor. You never once assume he will be anything other than what he is. I accept him, he's interesting and offers what I imagine will be a tough thing to accept in the plot. The relationship that develops with Chess is one she may have a very hard time seeing for what it really is.
Really, all of these characters are easy to judge and disconnect from. Some are junkies, some are pushers, some are enforcers and murderers, some abusive to themselves and to others. They will reflect all the ugly humanity has to offer and it's up to the reader to look deeper and see all aspects of their story.
3. THIS PLOT. WHAT IS HAPPENING. IS THIS HAPPENING?
N-O-T-H-I-N-G about this book is something you've read before. The drug use is intense and is a character of it's own. It's the force that drives everything Chess does, from sleeping, to working, to relaxing, to functioning on a basic level. It has a sort of love triangle but so far from the YA garbage you've read that you won't even care. These ghosts are murderous and dangerous. This world is bizarre and confusing. THIS FUCKING PLOT IS AMAZEBALLS AND CREEPS UP ON YOU.
4. EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS BOOK.
5. THE 2ND BOOK IS ON MY KINDLE. I HAVE TO FUCKING GO.
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