Review: Unholy Ghosts

As I try to put my thoughts together about this book, I find myself at a little bit of a loss. It’s… strange and disturbing at times. But it’s also kind of compelling.

The story takes place in an alternate universe where the existence of magic and ghosts are known fact. Society is run by the church. Not any church of God, but one that rejects faith altogether. Its members keep a tight leash on the ghost world. Chess works for the Church as a “debunker.” Essentially, she investigates claims of hauntings and gets rid of the ghosts if they are the real deal. She is also a drug addict with no family and no friends.

The world Chess lives in is a dark one. Her drug problem is substantial and ever-present. In fact, she owes her dealer some money. But he agrees to cancel her debt if she performs an exorcism for him. And he assigns his enforcer, Terrible, to help her on the job. The story gets more complicated as a scary entity begins stalking Chess, and she must figure out what it is, who sent it, and how to get rid of it.

There is alot going on in the story. Too much try to get into here. But it was hard to connect with Chess at first. After all, she is an addict. And she has no real loyalty to speak of –except maybe to the church. She’s good at her job, but largely cut off from her own humanity. Terrible, on the other hand, is very easy to sympathize with. He is introduced as he is seen through Chess’ eyes, but his true self shines through. He is the strong arm of a drug dealer, but he reads history books; he watches out for the kids on the streets; and he is clearly, completely crazy about Chess.

The language in the book takes some getting used to. Most of the characters speak in a street slang that is hard to characterize. And the world is gritty and dark and violent. But there is something intangible that draws me to in, nonetheless. I could say it’s because it’s unique and fresh. Or that it’s because it’s unpredictable. Or maybe it’s just Terrible. I don’t know. I do know that I plan to read the next book, like, right now. –And that Lex has got to go.

Very hard to rate. 4 stars?

Click to purchase: Amazon
Unholy Ghosts
by Stacia Kane
Release Date: May 25, 2010
Publisher: Del Rey


  1. When it was released in the US and there was a lot of hype about the drug use, I really didn’t think I’d like the book/story/protagonist. Boy was I wrong! The next book in the series is out at the end of this month and I will be doing a re-read of the series in preparation.

    Top-notch writing and a great story.

  2. I love these books – and Terrible! I also really like the slang which is oddly poetic.

  3. I had a tough time getting into the story as well but everyone kept telling me that it gets better. And they were right! I love this series. I remember a lot of people taking issue with Chess’s drug use and I didn’t see what the big deal was. Not all heroines are perfect. And her drug use isn’t glamorized.

    I love Terrible. And I even love Bump. He cracks me up.

    So excited for Sacrificial Magic!!!!

  4. It is disturbing! LOL. But you can’t look away either! 🙂

  5. I found the language was a little hard to get into. I think that is the reason I put it down. But I plan to give it another chance soon.

  6. Sounds like such an interesting book. I really can’t wait to try it out. I know it’s not like anything I’ve ever read before and that just makes me excited. The fact that it’s got it’s own language makes me feel like it will be slightly challenging, and I always enjoy a good challenge. 😀

    • The language is like some kind of weird slang with backwards grammar. It’s hard to describe. Here’s a sample from one of the books:

      “So aint you think just causen you in this car now means any damn thing. It aint. He pretending it do, he lying and saying it do, but it aint. Pretend that other dame just he friend, so he say, but aint like it true.

      Some churchbitch she is too. Leastaways that what Amy telling me. Amy say she met her once and she aint shit.”

  7. Strange and disturbing…. I must read it! lol I haven’t even heard of this book, but it’s definitely on my radar now.

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