Publisher: Del Rey
Publication Date: Jun 26, 2012
Genre: Urban Fantasy
A DEADLY HIGH
Magic-wielding Churchwitch and secret addict Chess Putnam knows better than anyone just how high a price people are willing to pay for a chemical rush. But when someone with money to burn and a penchant for black magic starts tampering with Downside’s drug supply, Chess realizes that the unlucky customers are paying with their souls—and taking the innocent with them, as the magic-infused speed compels them to kill in the most gruesome ways possible.
As if the streets weren’t scary enough, the looming war between the two men in her life explodes, taking even more casualties and putting Chess squarely in the middle. Downside could become a literal ghost town if Chess doesn’t find a way to stop both the war and the dark wave of death-magic, and the only way to do that is to use both her addiction and her power to enter the spell and chase the magic all the way back to its malevolent source. Too bad that doing so will probably kill Chess—if the war doesn’t first destroy the man who’s become her reason for living.
Chess’s carefully constructed life is about to explode. So far, she’s done a pretty admirable job of keeping all areas of her life separate and unaware. Her co-workers don’t know how connected to Downside she really is, and Downside only sees the witch part of her. She’s madly in love with Terrible, sort of friends with Lex (her drug source and past lover), and the two men barely tolerate each other because of Chess. And that’s only with the understanding that they don’t have to see or talk to the other. Then everything starts to get a little wonky. Chess gets invited to her boss’s wedding, and she convinces Terrible to come as her date. With one handshake, her boss knows Chess has performed some forbidden magic on Terrible and their once caring and respectful relationship is destroyed. An equal opportunity enemy is targeting Downside, killing citizens in both Bump and Lex’s territories, putting Chess squarely in the middle of the two men. Meanwhile, Lex has decided that if Terrible isn’t on his side, he shouldn’t be allowed to live at all. When Terrible refuses to be his second-in-command, Lex hires a deadly assassin to take him out. Life just got real interesting for Chess.
Chess continues to juggle her drug addiction, her worthiness issues and her inability to believe that she deserves to be happy with Terrible. Chess is The One for Terrible, and he wants her to go all in, kill all ties with Lex and just be with him. And maybe, maybe move in with him.
We hear all the time about tortured heroes and how swoon worthy they are. In this case, Chess is the tortured heroine and Terrible is the calm and steady one. Chess and her issues are so unique. She always refers to her horrible past that she’s had to overcome, and how far she’s gotten since those days. Someday I hope we get to learn what happened in Chess’s life that led her to be who she is today. Despite all the good things she’s done, and that we’ve seen her do, she still believes she has a dark soul and doesn’t deserve to be happy or loved. And then there’s drug addiction, which almost is like a character on it’s own. It seems like it’s such a pain in the butt to keep track of what you’ve taken and when. Even though she’s a fictional character, she’s given me a bit of insight into what it must be like to be a drug addict. For someone like me who has never struggled with that, it’s easy to say “just quit” but after five novels spent with Chess, I can imagine it’s way easier said than done.
Terrible is completely adorable and perfect, as always. He always manages to say and do the right thing, and he’s just so great that it doesn’t even bother me. If you could have told me ten years ago that I’d fall madly in love with a hero named Terrible that had mutton chops, I’d have laughed you out of the room. If you read the series for any reason, let Terrible be that reason. He’s utterly amazing.
In previous books, Chess’s work life and the “favors” she does for Bump have always coincided to be the same case. Or most of them have anyway. The Church and work part were relatively quiet in this book, and the mystery focused solely on the enemy targeting Downside through it’s drug addicts. Both Lex and Bump need Chess to solve this mystery, before there aren’t any citizens left to fight over in Downside. Her cases are always unnerving and interesting, and they add that extra bit of spice to the books that make them even more interesting.
My Summary: I loved Chasing Magic. Although, I think I was hoping for more progression from Chess. She’s her own worst enemy, and sometimes I wish she would stop battling herself and just live her life. I desperately want to know how she’s going to end up. Is she going to keep working for the Church despite her strained relationship with her boss, or is she going to quit and do a sort of witchy private detective thing? Is she going to stop sabotaging her relationship with Terrible (I wanted to KILL her at one point in this book), and actually settle down and be happy with him? And most of all, is she going to kick her drug habit, or will that be what kills her in the end? Because of my personal set of values, I want her to quit taking drugs. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll be happy for her if she gets her happily ever after with Terrible, but is never actually able to get rid of the pills. I guess that’s the magic of the series, and Chess’s character in particular. I can forget all that and love her anyway. All I know is that I’m a Chess and Terrible groupie, and Kane has a fan for life.
My Rating: A+