Review: Wrong Ways Down by Stacia Kane

Stacia Kane's Downside Ghosts series is one that took me completely by surprise. It had been recommended to me by Goodreads, based on the books on my shelves, for months, when I finally got a break in my TBR list and picked up Unholy Ghosts, a book which changed everything for me. Since then I've certainly been suffering from Terrible Fever, and I've recommended these to anyone with a strong stomach, and the fortitude to find the beauty that lurks within this deeply dark and disturbing series. I still think this is one of the best series you aren't reading, as I explained in this post.

When I finished Chasing Magic, unable to find any mention of continuing the series, I was distraught, but Ms. Kane eventually put my fears to rest, saying that there would be more Downside coming. Although there were no concrete details (and still aren't, really), I was satisfied with that vague answer and ever so patiently waited for more. First up was to be a novella from Terrible's point-of-view, taking place during the events of Unholy Magic, the news of which made all of us Terrible fans simultaneously squee with joy and gnaw on our fingernails, knowing what happened in Chess's world during that book.

Terrible POV made us Squee!

Wrong Ways Down was finally released earlier this month, and I jumped back into Downside as quickly as I could. Was is worth the wait? Did I love Terrible's POV as much as I have Chess's tales? Has my love affair with Downside ended, or am I still eager for more? Click through to find out what I thought of the latest in this dark, gritty series. Oh, and I managed to leave out any spoilers!

Everything Chess & Terrible
is so beautiful to us.
I am always completely stunned by a Downside book, and as usual this novella left me speechless. This should not be a world, a premise, that interests me, but Stacia Kane writes the dichotomy between the harsh world of Downsisde and the noble reasons for her protagonists' choices such that I cannot NOT love these characters or these books. It's easy to see the beauty in a flower or a mountaintop sunset, but it is true talent that shines the light on the beauty within this harsh, unforgiving, and ugly world. And while Terrible's actions are hideous, his reasons are noble, and his feelings for Chess are stunningly beautiful.

Terrible makes our hearts hurt.
At face value, Terrible is, well, a terrible person. He beats people up daily and kills without compunction whenever he needs to. In WWD we see Terrible kill without remorse, and it's as shocking and awful as it should be. But, because we are inside his head, we know that the reasons for his actions are a combination of duty, honor, and his own low self-esteem. His past is every bit as tragic as Chess's, and I loved getting a glimpse of what makes Terrible who he is. He is truly an anti-hero, someone whose actions are not socially acceptable, who doesn't look like a traditional hero, who is deeply, tragically flawed. It would be so easy to go down the path of evil, but instead Terrible chooses to protect those he loves, to live by a code of honor that makes perfect sense in his world.

In the main Downside novels, Terrible is a bright, shining ray of sunshine in Chess's world, someone who sees only the beauty within her. He knows that she is an addict, a junkie, but that is not what he sees when he looks at her. For Terrible, Chess is different from the rest of the junkies, and he only wants to save her, to protect her from the hurt he's certain is the cause of her addiction. That ray of beauty, that compassion, is one of the amazing things about the main books in the series, even though we see it only through Chess's POV, who is skeptical about anything good in her life. In WWD we see Chess through Terrible's eyes, and it's even more beautiful than I thought. That kind of love is a gift, and I feel lucky for the chance to witness it.

As always, this installment of the Downside series is dark, gritty, and often difficult to read, but it's also inspiring to see these characters thriving and finding goodness in such a harsh world. I love this series, and Wrong Ways Down only adds to the amazing story.

Can't wait for more Terrible!

Are you enthralled with the Downside world, Saucy Readers? Is Terrible your perfect anti-hero, or just a villain? Share your Downside thoughts below!


  1. Oh yes!!! Completely enthralled. I'll repeat my conclusion: It hurts so good! SK succeeded in transferring Terrible feelings to me. I felt as if I was looking through his eyes and heart, Awesome!

  2. I can't wait until the next one!

    Seriously Stacia needs to write City of Ghosts from Terrible's POV!


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