I have had this on the top of my TBR for far too long. I've largely avoided it because I feared it would be another stagnant UF without a decent lead character, especially since Chess is a drug addict (not exactly my cup o' tea). But now I'm kicking myself for not beginning it sooner because it was really entertaining, and in a dark and twisted way. At least my procrastination has allowed me to enjoy upwards of five of these books this year thanks to publishing dates!
The worldbuilding of Downside is really well done and I really got a feel for the post-apocalyptic world. The Church is an interesting approach by the author, a church not of religious purposes (they are no longer necessary/used/believed in, cannot tell you how much THAT made happy to read about) but of the purpose to deal with the dead/ghosts. An overall fascinating world that is similar enough to our own to add to the creepy factor.
Chess is not a character I would expect myself to like. She is a drug addict who is unashamed of the fact, or at least you are led to believe this since the POV is third person. But Chess is a very down to earth character who has flaws (obviously) and fears that not only make her likeable but make her normal. Yes she does prescription drugs and speed throughout the book while those around her support this addiction, but you cannot help but root for her and hope by the end she will be clean.
Females are not commonplace in Unholy Ghosts, not because they are are limited in this world but simply because Chess is surrounded by men, oh and ghosts too. So there is a major masculine vibe to the book due to the male presence but it is not overwhelming and you always have a foundation with Chess. The two main guys in the book, Terrible and Lex, both have severe issues but seem to genuinely support Chess. I'm fascinated by the interactions of Terrible and Chess and where that may lead. Terrible is definitely not the run of the mill "hot" guy that the lead character inevitably falls for, but the way Kane wrote him he is strangely attractive despite how he is portrayed and Chess battles this very issue during the book.
One of the few flaws the book had in my opinion was that I did not enjoy the way people in the book spoke, although thankfully Chess seems to be the only one who speaks coherently.
This series has major potential and I look forward to more of Downside!