Del Rey/Mar. 27, 2012/$7.99
When Chess Putnam is ordered by an infamous crime boss—who also happens to be her drug dealer—to use her powers as a witch to solve a grisly murder involving dark magic, she knows she must rise to the challenge. Adding to the intensity: Chess’s boyfriend, Terrible, doesn’t trust her, and Lex, the son of a rival crime lord, is trying to reignite the sparks between him and Chess.
Plus there’s the little matter of Chess’s real job as a ghost hunter for the Church of Real Truth, investigating reports of a haunting at a school in the heart of Downside. Someone seems to be taking a crash course in summoning the dead—and if Chess doesn’t watch her back, she may soon be joining their ranks.
As Chess is drawn into a shadowy world of twisted secrets and dark violence, it soon becomes clear that she’s not going to emerge from its depths without making the ultimate sacrifice.
We spent three books watching Chess and Terrible dance the ’will they, won’t they’ waltz. There was that slap. Then they weren’t talking. Sex magic issues making her more pliant to Lex. But then he went ahead and gave Chess another chance—tunnels, bathrooms, and Chessiebomb prevailed in Stacia Kane’s City of Ghosts.
With Sacrificial Magic, we watch as Chess learns what it really means to be in a relationship. Up until this novel, she’s been more of a friend with Terrible than a girlfriend. And even that wasn’t exactly easy for her.
She doesn’t trust people on the whole. She doesn’t accept that someone would do something nice for her without wanting something in return. And the only two constants in her life have been the Church and her drugs.
Now Chess actually wants to be with Terrible. More than anything, she wants to be someone worth loving. To say she doesn’t know how to behave in a relationship is a gross understatement. Our favorite Churchwitch is sure the foundation for her relationship with Terrible needs to be built on honesty. However, this makes her incredibly paranoid. She’s so sure her actions will be misunderstood and she fears she’ll fail him somehow.
Her terror is only compounded when her latest job for the Church puts her in Slobag’s territory with Lex popping by. Just what she needs—Terrible thinking she’s back with Lex. Plus, word around Downside is Slobag has found his own Churchwitch, and Chess is certain Bump will now think it’s her.
This means she blurts out her FYI bad news to Terrible at inopportune moments. She takes more and more pills to cope with the stress. This puts our enforcer friend in an uncomfortable situation. He loves Chess, but being with her while she’s out of her mind isn’t the most appealing.
Sacrificial Magic is a journey for Chess and Terrible. She has to learn to trust and accept it from others. Terrible is helping her learn to accept love and affection without expecting strings.
If you’re one who has tracked their romantic subplot, Sacrificial Magic is your book. Chess is in a real relationship and Terrible continues to be a noble hero with an unsavory job.
At times it’s heartbreaking to watch Chess’s self-sabotage, but Terrible is her rock. If anyone can prove to her what love feels like, it’s him. It’s an epic emotional journey with all the darkness you’ve come to expect from Downside.
And it doesn’t hurt that they have sex in his car.
While Chelsea Mueller runs Vampire Book Club, she won’t turn down a sexy werewolf, demon or faerie. (Her husband often reminds her that she’s taken.)