BOOK: Sacrificial Magic
AUTHOR: Stacia Kane
PUBLISHER: Del Rey
RELEASE: March 27, 2012
RATING: 5 Stars
Kane ventures into more intimate territory…that of the inner workings and mechanisms of Chess, Lex, and Terrible. Those vices, the fragile world that Chess has managed to balance precariously between Churchwitch business and that of the rancid underbelly of Downside come converging in Sacrificial Magic. And the resulting detonation will either tear Chess’s world apart, or make her face down her personal demons once and for all.
When another Debunker suspiciously abandons his assignment and disappears without a trace and without Banishing the ghost he has uncovered, Elder Griffin sends Chess to clean up the mess. But what she faces is no mere fraud, or benign haunting. Someone is summoning a ghost and fueling it with ritual sacrifice creating a magical imbalance that threatens the City.
Further complicating the issue is that her assignment ends up taking her to the wrong side of the tracks…straight into Slobag’s territory. The turf war between Slobag and Bump plays an even bigger role as Chess who is firmly entrenched with Terrible will be forced to face serious trust issues, as well the plight of allegiance. Who can she trust? And can Terrible trust her?
Lex figures very largely in this latest installment, as does his sister Blue and as much as he wants to keep a close eye on Chess’ investigation in his ‘hood, he does so at the risk of inserting a wedge between Chess and Terrible…which could be a terrible thing for his health. Kane has dangled an irresistible lure in Lex…with the residual attraction between he and Chess, and the on-going animosity with Terrible, the conflict seethes as much as the attraction sparks. It’s a double-edged sword thrust expertly. (but hurts oh so good…)
Kane’s voice is stronger than ever in Sacrificial Magic, more assured and badass as ever. One of the things I love about Chess is that she appears so irreparably damaged but through it all a feral sense of survival, grim honesty, and wash of hope manage to seep through-brilliant facets of a complex character that keep me endlessly reading on and on.
When all things are changing in her world, and no pill, no puff of Dream will be able to rein it back in again comes acceptance for Chess, acceptance of who she is, who she wants to be, and who she wants to be with.
Sacrificial Magic is a turning point for Chess, and another reminder that things do not stay static and that the changes will force her to step up to the plate or hide. Those exorcised feelings of inadequacy, chased away by the plenitude of ‘cepts and Oozers come home to roost for Chess. And in all the tumultuousness, the internal churning that quakes throughout its pages, you get the real feel in Sacrificial Magic, that things are going to change so drastically for Chess that she might actually see her way clear.
As a highlight, the remarkable intensity that Kane crafts between Terrible and Chess pays off in so many ways that fans will be sighing for days later, basking in the bliss of heat and sweetness and hoping for a Chevelle and a rainstorm at the ready…
A Fiendishly Bookish Review