Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts, Book 1)

Unholy Ghosts - Stacia Kane This review was originally posted on my book review blog Blood Rose Books

In Stacia Kane's debut novel the world has been turned upside down, the churches that we know have all gotten it wrong and the Church of Truth now rules the world, and it is their job to protect the people from the ghosts who try to steal the souls of the living.

Chess does not remember what it was like before the Church of Truth was in power, all she knows is when the spirit uprising began, her parents were killed in the war. Chess was passed from foster home to foster home, but when it was discovered that she was a witch she was given over to the Church of Truth to begin her training. Chess has become on of the Debunkers, she goes into people's home who say they are being haunted by ghosts and either proves they are telling the truth or lying and it is a big fine to lie to the Church. However, Chess has a side of life that the Church knows nothing about, Chess is addicted to drugs and has some interactions with some very dangerous people and one of them has called her in to collect the debt that she owes him. But he is willing to forgive her debt if she will do one job from him, but this one job is just more than making it easier for him to get drug into the City, the whole city is about to be in Danger as the Ghosts are looking to be free once again.

This novel is one of the best debuts I have ever read. Kane knows how to draw the reader in and keep them their throughout the read. I had this one sitting on my TBR shelf for a very long time, and I regret not picking it up sooner (though I am kind of happy about it as now i do not have to wait for the next book to come out in order to read it). If you have this book on your TBR shelf move it to the top of your list.
This book had a good balance of paranormal and mystery. I think those looking to get into the paranormal genre will have a good start here as the paranormal aspects are not extreme or completely in your face throughout the book. The only paranormal aspects within this book are witches and ghosts (spirits), however, this does not mean that Kane did not create something unique. I think that the world that Kane built with the Church of Truth as the over riding power was really interesting (something medieval in a modern time).

One of my favourite things that an author can do is not being afraid of allowing their main characters to be flawed and in this case in more than one way. I personally enjoy flawed characters and Chess's addition to drugs is what drives her and shapes her personality as she is always looking for and working for getting her next fix in an attempt to forget her past. You get little tidbits about what happened to Chess when she was growing up, but it is enough to understand why she chooses drugs to block out the memories. It was interesting for all the power that Chess had in combating ghost that she did not have the power to resist the temptation of addiction and the power was not transferable in protecting herself outside of banishing ghosts.

I could have done without the romance/sex triangle in the book, however, that said the sex scene was not that long and drawn out and I was able to skim over it pretty quickly. I also really like Terrible, well minus his name, but I liked him as character. I like that Kane was not afraid to give Terrible layers and make him more than just the enforcer for a drug lord, there was more to him than that. for example he likes to read and enjoys history. I think Terrible is a very interesting character (though I did find his speech habits a little hard to read at times) and I look forward to learning more about him. I also wish that there was a bit more suspense in the book, I was never "sitting on the edge of my seat" as I was reading the book and I think that if you are going to have a book about ghosts there needs to be a horror or a "boo" aspect to it.

This is one of the best debuts that I have read and you need to take this book off your TBR shelf and give it a read, I do not think that you will be disappointed. Additionally, I think those who are looking to get into the paranormal genre but do not quite know if it is for them, will find this novel a good transition novel into the genre. I am looking forward to getting my hands on the next book I think that Kane has the start of a killer series.

Enjoy!!!