Originally posted at Paperback Wonderland.
Well, it's about half past 5 a.m. and I just finished reading this, that should tell you something...
Like all Downside Ghosts books - and do not be fooled by this being called a novella, it was practically the same length as a regular book (yay!) - this was incredibly addictive (ironic, really).
We always get to see things from Chess' pov, and while we are perfectly able to infer what Terrible feels and thinks most of the time, it's a delightful treat to really get something from his pov, even if it's in-between books 1 and 2, so to be honest, I spent a lot of time going, "No, wait, you got past that, you guys!! Don't put me through this again, please!!"
There were mentions of Terrible's issues in the other books, we get that he doesn't feel all that confident about his looks, about his intellect, but damn, Stacia Kane has no problem whatsoever with ripping you heart out in her books. The reader can't help but feel down with Chess' pov, she has so little in the way of self-esteem (and who could blame the poor girl?) - I thought we'd kind of get a break from that with Terrible, but no. He really, really does not feel worthy of Chess, and it's all so horribly heartbreaking, that these two love each other so much, and are so afraid they'll never be good enough for each other, are certain that the other one deserves better.
But about the plot!Someone offed one of Bump's guys - they're thinking Slobag and Lex, of course, and then the plot takes the usual Downside dark turn when Bump's girls start getting raped. I read all the books in one go, not even a month past, so I can safely say this book is darker than the others. Of course, it would be, what with it being Terrible's pov.
There's a lot more violence, for one thing.
And we get to learn more about Terrible's past, and his relationship with Bump - awesome surprise that! I always disliked Bump, after this, I'm not exactly about to start singing his praises, but I kind of like him now, it's sweet that he cares about Terrible, that he worries about him. That he took him in during a really fucked up situation. And I understand the loyalty Terrible owes him now.
Another awesome thing about this book! We get a lot of Chess/Terrible "chatter". They meet up, and they talk and spend time together and it's all so sweet! But of course, this being Stacia Kane, all of those meetings have the constant worry of the participants not to hurt the other one by dredging up the past. No lie, it's painful to read about Terrible worrying how he should phrase things around Chess so she won't slip away into sad memories.
Check out this roundhouse kick to the reader's heart, courtesy of Stacia Kane:
“Trouble was, every fucking time he saw that look in her eyes, every fucking time he saw her frown like that, it got harder not to tell her to write down a list of names for him. Every single name she had a recall on, causen he wanted to hunt em all down one by one and make sure they knew why as they died. He honestly couldn’t think of much he’d like more."