Book 1 in the Downside series grabbed me; book 2 broke my heart (right alongside that of a major character). Book 1 established the world, book 2 dug deep into the characters, for better and for worse- digging into a viewpoint character like Chess can be a rough ride, and by the end of Unholy Magic I was exhausted. Exhausted, and waiting like a hawk for my next paycheck to hit the bank so I can get book 3 and find out how the situation Chess's self-destructive actions have, inevitably, gotten her into resolves.Chess is a difficult heroine. She's not interested in getting off drugs- they do good things for her, she can usually afford them, and she has good reasons for wanting to take the edge off her mind. Some reviewers had a hard time with this aspect of her character, but it was one of the reasons I was interested in this series to begin with. She knows just as well as the reader just how foolish some of her actions are, and how much they're driven by her addiction. But I'm pulling for her anyway- not necessarily to kick drugs, but to find peace however she can.I read stupidly fast, but I read this in one sitting because I couldn't do it any other way. And I actually gasped out loud once or twice. And kept my cat informed of the plot twists because there wasn't anybody else around to listen. Somebody had to be told, dammit.