The Downside Ghosts series is my favorite. Not just of books, my overall favorite thing in life. (that may be a tiny exaggeration) So you know I liked this novella.It is a little peek into Chess' life, during schooling and training. That poor girl can't catch a break. Her very first day of training, she gets to see 2 bodies strewn about a living room. That's enough to make anyone re-think their career choice. But she has something to prove, not just to herself but to the world. And she isn't about to let blood and guts and arms and legs stop her.It is a fascinating look into her downward spiral into drugs and self loathing. Following her into The City for the first time as she discovers it isn't what she thought it would be, was probably her biggest motivator to not give up when she thought she was going to die. That realization, that death was not an escape, is what makes her stronger, and gives her to will to fight through each day, not matter what happens. Not just in this book, but in all her stories. I was a bit surprised she was not as self destructive as I had imagined her at that age.Even though this is a prequel, I would not recommend reading this until after reading at least the first two, Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts) and Unholy Magic (Downside), as I don't think it would have as much meaning unless you already knew Chess.The only reason this doesn't get 5 stars is because we don't really get to see Terrible. I mean, we shouldn't, not at this point in her life, but since he is my book husband (yes, we are married, back off) I want any glimpse into that world to include him.