5*!!! So much ♥♥♥♥♥!
I know this is cheesy and I'm really not one to assign "theme songs" to character OTPs I adore, but this song
was made for Chess and Terrible! I know, I know. I can't picture them singing or even listening to this song for that matter, but it is just so perfect for them! I am sure that hardcore urban fantasy readers are snootily turning their noses up at me now and saying, "this is not a romance"
in their haughty voices but whatevs.
So what if I'm reading this mainly for Chess and Terrible's relationship? The ghost-hunting certainly didn't lure me in.
But I don't want to give false hope to hardcore romance readers either, because you might be disappointed. This will never be shelved in the romance section of the bookstore. If you're looking for steam, well, the entire series probably has the steam equivalent of one-half of a BDB book. If you're looking for a fearless, likeable heroine, you probably wouldn't find that in Chess. If you want a handsome alpha hero then the ugly and often insecure and clueless Terrible is not your man. There is no sidekick that will provide the ocassional comic relief. There are more stumped moments than witty comebacks. There's no happily-ever-after AFTER the I-love-yous. There's nothing perfect, easy or assured about Downside and that is why I'm rooting for the happiness of the characters so much!
The ending of [b:City of Ghosts|7243411|City of Ghosts (Downside Ghosts, #3)|Stacia Kane|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1359346563s/7243411.jpg|6912417] was epic, yes, and I could've stopped there for a satisfying ending but I just couldn't get enough of Chess and Terrible! I went for a weekend camping trip and thought that the lighter read I brought with me would be more appropriate for some R&R but I ended up thinking about this book the entire time. Lesson learned: Do not force self to stop reading what the heart wants to read.
However, my reasons for delaying the inevitable relationship drama were grounded. I barely made it past 10% and I was already worrying about two things: Bump's charred pipe rooms and Chessie's new assignment which brought her right in the middle of enemy territory.
The assignment isn't supposed to be a tough one. It was just an investigation of a haunting in a high school. But the residents of the area aren't exactly Church fans and the students refuse to help by default. Fortunately for her, Lex shows up one afternoon and shows
the entire school that she's associated with him, which in turn earned the respect and co-operation of the students. While this worked in favor of her case, it was a detail she wasn't looking forward to explaining to Terrible. She believed that he still didn't trust her, and this thing would just cause him to be even more suspicious of her.
The fights were tough to read about, but Chessie's inner struggles were the most heartbreaking. It hurt to find out how her addiction started, and even when that was brought to light she still blamed herself for choosing to be dependent on drugs later on. I mean, I may not know much about addiction, but I know a thing or two about abuse and depression. The belief that she was worthless and undeserving made my heart ache. There was so much self-doubt, so much self-loathing. She was cautious, too cautious, around Terrible, because she believed that saying the wrong thing or making the wrong move would send him running in the opposite direction.
"Please tell me what I did. I didn't mean to, whatever it was I didn't mean to, okay? Tell me, please?"
But the words in her head were a reminder, one she didn't need. A reminder that she was failing, that she was fucking up, that it wasn't a question of when she would spoil everything but of how long he would put up with the way she was spoiling everything.
Normally I would be frustrated with this much drama, but like every other time with Chess it only made me want to hug her more.
Terrible wasn't the most reassuring boyfriend either. Neither one of them were experienced in the relationship department so they fumbled around and messed up communicating their actual feelings. There was even a point where so much hurtful words were exchanged that I thought that maybe getting together wasn't the best idea, but the nagging voice at the back of my head insisted, "no, they are meant for each other. They'll work it out."
And gawd, Terrible may be a man of a few words but when he does speak his mind he says the best things ever.
"Aw, naw, ain't sayin that. You do what you need an ain't try telling you no, but... takin you to bed, want you there, not just your body. An want you knowin it's me. Love you, Chess. Dig?"
"Love you, too, Chess... You got that, aye? Ain't you know it? Love you right, till it hurts. Ain't goin nowhere, don't need to cry, 'sall right up."
The last 10% of the book had me wired with so much emotions. I was sobbing for a moment there when I thought that Chessie's memory was lost. And Stacia, why do this to me now that I like Lex? And even Beulah! And even if I don't understand him half the time I do like Bump. What's going to happen to Terrible? And to Chess? And Chess and Lex? Is it too much to want them all to just be friends? My ideal ending would be one wherein a greater power would seek to destroy humanity and both sides would end up working together for the good of mankind. How about that, Stacia?