Sacrificial Magic
by Stacia Kane
(Del Rey Books, $7.99, R) ISBN 978-0-345-52750-9
Sacrificial Magic is a bit of a crazy ride, and it's confusing the whole way through.

Chess Putnam is a witch, she's also a ghost hunter for the Church of Real Truth, and she's helping train another young ghost hunter when we meet her at the opening of Sacrificial Magic.

On top of all of this, Chess is also a drug addict, and when her drug dealer, who is a scary guy criminal type, tells her to use her powers to look into a murder that he thinks involves magic, she does. Chess is pulled in many directions while she tries to balance her addiction, ghost hunting, and murder investigation.

Chess has a boyfriend named Terrible, they're on the rocks and Chess isn't sure where they're headed. Terrible is a laid back kind of guy, but he's pretty fed up by Chess's double life and her fear of commitment.

To complicate the already complex situation, there's Lex, an old flame and criminal type guy, who's re-insinuated himself back into Chess's life.

While the storyline also has a massive backstory and large cast to go along with it, this is the skeleton explanation of Chess's story.

As I mentioned, Sacrificial Magic is complex and confusing, which is the major reason that I didn't like it. I felt like I'd been dropped into the middle of a dark, weird dream and had no idea what was going on from the beginning to the end.

Chess is not an easy character to like. She's insecure, erratic, mean spirited, cynical and selfish. She's always teetering on the edge of a bad decision, or many bad decisions. She's self destructive to the extreme and after about learning her a little, it's almost painful to watch.

Terrible would technically qualify as the leading man to this tale, although I don't really know anything much about him. He's a bad guy, he's pretty non communicative and seems almost bi polar when he does communicate, he swings wildly in his moods.

There is a huge backstory of murder and haunting, all very dark and grisly. There's also a bunch of communication between Chess and others that's liberally peppered with curse words and tons of exclamations. I was not impressed by any part of the story and I wouldn't recommend it.

--Amy Wroblewsky

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