So…sadly, Chess did not win Round 2 of the Suvudu Cage Match. Kelsier–and Brandon Sanderson’s readers–proved too powerful. Sigh.
BUT. You know what? That’s okay. It’s more than okay, actually. Because while she didn’t win, I didn’t honestly expect her to; the MISTBORN books are huge, it’s an enormously, enormously popular series, and Kelsier is one of those “practically a god” characters in terms of power. I pretty much assumed going in that Chess was outmatched.
More than that, though? Check out the numbers! Chess ended up with 28.78 of the vote; 724 votes!!
That may not seem impressive, but when you look at Kelsier’s first match against Gale Hawthorne from the HUNGER GAMES series…dude. Gale ended up with only 7.67% of the vote; 214 votes total.
This is huge to me, guys, seriously. I’m so flattered, and thrilled, and amazed, that so many of you turned out to support Chess. Really. She got more votes in the battle she lost than some of the winners got in battles they won, and that’s incredible. I can’t thank you all enough for the support.
Which means that even though Chessie lost, I’m posting an excerpt anyway. Because while I can’t say I think my writing is some superspecial prize, I want to at least give you something, and it’s not like I can visit each one of your houses and cook you dinner.
CHASING MAGIC won the “Which book” poll last week, but plenty of you did want an excerpt from SACRIFICIAL, so that’s what I’m going with:
The adrenaline started to fade, leaving her hands shaky and her chest and head aching. She could take care of that, but…damn it. She pressed her palm to her forehead for a second, took a deep breath, and headed back into the drama classroom. The odds of her finding anything useful in there were slim to none, but she’d look anyway. At least she could make a note that she’d looked, that she’d—
How had they known?
She hadn’t called before heading out, hadn’t told anyone at Mercy Lewis to expect her. Nor, to her knowledge, had anyone at the Church, although of course she’d have to double-check that.
She hadn’t spoken to anyone when she arrived except Beulah, Monica, and Laurie. Hadn’t seen anyone, and although technically anyone could have seen her when she arrived, nothing about her—her scuffed and dusty boots, her black jeans, the faded blue polo she wore over a black long-sleeved t-shirt or her black-dyed Bettie Page haircut—screamed “Church employee.” Quite the opposite, in fact; she’d deliberately worn street clothes.
So how had anyone known who she was, to sabotage the catwalk while she was on it? How had someone not only known who she was, but made it into the drama room in enough time to start fucking with the bolts? Not to mention the wires.
That suggested a planned attack. More than one person.
Had it even been aimed at her at all? And if not, what the hell was the point?
She grabbed her notebook to scribble all of that down while it was fresh in her mind. Especially because now that the rush had faded and the shakes and flashbacks were coming—she could feel them in the back of her mind, feel the way her hand gripped the pen too tightly—and she knew she’d be alone for, oh, four or five hours at least, she planned to head home, crack her pillbox, and try to forget it all as quickly as possible.
Someone had tried to kill her. Or at least, given the way the catwalk hit the stage fairly harmlessly, to scare the fuck out of her. Whether they knew she was Church or not—and given the timing it was hard to believe they had—someone had just fucked with her in a particularly unpleasant way. A particularly unpleasant way that didn’t involve a lot of things she took drugs to forget, anyway.
Unless, of course, someone had made some calls. Both Monica and Beulah had made bathroom or office stops before they headed to the theater, so either of them could have picked up the phone. Shit. Four hours on the case, two of them spent doing research at Church, and she’d already survived a murder attempt. That didn’t bode well.
But it boded better than what she saw on the wall, what she found on the wrench lying on the floor nearby. Just two little smears of it. Two little smears of what she hoped was Vaseline or some similar substance, but which the knowledge she’d gotten from her Church training and the knowledge she’d gotten from a lifetime of having everything go wrong every damn time told her was something much worse.
Aaaaand…we have some new reviews and stuff!
Whether [the reader’s heart] is pounding in fear, or breaking in sympathy, this book was satisfying on pretty much every level…. For anyone that hasn’t picked up this amazing series yet, or perhaps you’ve seen it floating around on peoples’ shelves but have been put off by the fact that the MC is an addict, I have to implore you to reconsider. This is such an addictive (ha), compelling series.
If I had not completely jumped on the Downside bandwagon initially, I am officially in love with this series now! … I highly recommend this series, especially the third and fourth books! You’ve outdone yourself again Stacia Kane.
From Owlcat Mountain:
I was very excited to see that the Downside Ghosts series is continuing, and I wasn’t disappointed upon reading the most recent offering. Sacrificial Magic is full of dangerous spells, murderous ghosts and dark rooms oozing dread. Featuring one of the most unusual heroines you’ll read about, Stacia Kane’s books are worth going out of your way to pick up.
And, because I find it hilarious, here’s Harriet Klausner’s take (I’m especially tickled by “Sloberg”) (warning: minor spoilers in the review itself):
Sacrificial Magic is a great entry in a special one of a kind saga as the ghost hunter becomes the haunted hunted.
“The haunted hunted” sounds like a great title for a parody, doesn’t it?
Last but certainly not least, Chelsea Mueller has written a lovely little analysis/overview thingy of Chess and Terrible’s relationship over at Heroes & Heartbreakers (again, it does contain some minor spoilers of SM, but it’s worth a read once you’ve read the book or if you don’t mind the little spoilers):
Sacrificial Magic is a journey for Chess and Terrible. She has to learn to trust and accept it from others. Terrible is helping her learn to accept love and affection without expecting strings.
If you’re one who has tracked their romantic subplot, Sacrificial Magic is your book. Chess is in a real relationship and Terrible continues to be a noble hero with an unsavory job.
Anyway. I have a bit of ranting to do that I hope I will get to next week, but with all the pre-release work for SM, AND the fact that we’re moving next week, I’m not sure how much I’ll be around (oh, but I will be starting the contest on Monday, so stay tuned for that, at least). I’ll try, though, because I have some stuff I really want to say about how relationships are portrayed in fiction and the importance of authorial intent and stuff like that.
So again…thank you all so much for supporting Chess in the Cage Match! I’m overwhelmed.