IT’S A THIN LINE BETWEEN ALIVE AND UNDEAD.
Chess is under a binding spell that threatens death if she talks about the investigation, but the city’s most notorious crime boss—and Chess’s drug dealer—gets wind of her new assignment and insists on being kept informed. If that isn’t bad enough, a sinister street vendor appears to have information Chess needs. Only he’s not telling what he knows, or what it all has to do with the vast underground City of Eternity.
Now Chess will have to navigate killer wraiths, First Elders, and a lot of seriously nasty magic—all while coping with some not-so-small issues of her own. And the only man Chess can trust to help her through it all has every reason to want her dead.
The plot layout for CITY OF GHOSTS is different to the earlier books in that there is only one case Chess is working - before she always had one professional case and one secret one running parallel to each other. This means that the author was able to spend more time fleshing out all of the secondary characters and make the villains even more menacing.
The concept of a magical binding is also used to full advantage; It adds real tension to the story as Chess is unable to warn anyone about the
impending danger when no-one she's working with takes her suspicions seriously. This also provides a realistic reason for her to keep working the case when most other people would run - She's the only person who can see the threat and can literally save the world.
Chess herself isn't someone I should like and root for, but I do. Even as she gobbles her drugs like smarties, uses people for sex and hurts the only person who has looked out for her. It speaks volumes for Stacia Kane's writing ability that I still want to see Chess come out on top. I also love that chess isn't the best of the best at her job, she doesn't do Buffy-style roundhouse kicks and she doesn't have mystical powers developing here, there and everywhere. She has numerous flaws and makes mistakes, shes human.
but I think Chess comes second to Terrible this time around. He's also someone I shouldn't like; He's the enforcer for Chess' drug dealer, so terrorises and beats on people for the money they owe Bump, he admits that he has killed people and is drinking through the job with Chess, childishly ignoring and snubbing her in life-or-death situations. But through it all his hurt, insecurities and feelings of being betrayed are plain to see and I just want to give him a big hug.
I never took to the character Lex in the first two books; But this time I do feel a bit of sympathy for him. I suspect that he may have been using Chess, but she has been using him too; She uses sex to empty her mind and experience the highs - pretty much the same way she uses drugs. I'm left wondering if maybe he has developed feelings for her, whilst she has spent all of the time pining for another man?
I found the two earlier books perfect, but CITY OF GHOSTS has blown them out of the water. It's been a while since I've been this excited over an UF [urban fiction] book (the genre is overcrowded with samey books) and was counting down the days to release; That this series hasn't been more popular is a crime.