Nov 5, 2010

Posted by in Reviews | 8 Comments

Review: Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk (Allie Beckstrom #1)

Urban Fantasy
November 4 2008
Mass Market Paperback
368 pages
New American Library

Kick Ass Chick – Allie Beckstrom

From Goodreads
“Using magic means it uses you back, and every spell exacts a price from its user. But some people get out of it by Offloading the cost of magic onto an innocent. Then it’s Allison Beckstrom’s job to identify the spell-caster. Allie would rather live a hand-to-mouth existence than accept the family fortune—and the strings that come with it. But when she finds a boy dying from a magical Offload that has her father’s signature all over it, Allie is thrown back into his world of black magic. And the forces she calls on in her quest for the truth will make her capable of things that some will do anything to control…”

This book has been sitting in my book closet for well over a year.  Yes, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that.  I’m a little embarrassed that I’ve had this great story set in a fascinating world told by a capable writer stored right next to where I sleep and never made a move to bring it out.  I don’t even remember buying it.  Was it online or in-store?  No idea.  But I know it was pre-blog hopping because not many of my bloggy friends have read this.  I must have read really good things about it.  I must have checked on the Romantic Times Magazine website and seen that it received 4 1/2 stars.  Those are usually the reasons I would have bought a new book back in the day.  But last week, I opened my book closet and this book shouted at me.  It said ‘What the hell, you!”  (because really, you can’t expect a book to know your name)  “I’ve been in here for a hell of a long time and you suck.  Pick me up, read me, show me some love!”  And that’s exactly what I did.

“Magic to the Bone” by Devon Monk is book one in her Allie Beckstrom series.  About 30 years ago, it was discovered that magic was real and that people could actually channel it and use it.  Of course, not all magic is used for good or used as it should.  Enter Allie, a Hound.  A Hound’s job is to use magic to discover the origin of a spell.  Every magic user has their own signature.  Hounds unravel a spell to find the signature in order to find out who is responsible for a spell.  The downside to magic is that it costs something to use.  It causes pain to the magic user.  Not right away, but soon after use. Allie prefers trying to steer the pain and have it turn to a multi-day migraine headache, but sometimes when she uses too much magic, she loses some of her memory.  She carries around a little note book with all the information she would need and any events she would want to know about documented in it.  Memory loss is not something Allie too happy about, but she loves her job too much and she is just too good at it to let it go.

Allie is called in to Hound a hit on a little boy.  This leads her to meet with her estranged father which leads to all sorts of happenings.  I really enjoy how you really don’t know what is going on or which direction the story is headed.  You have an inkling as to who might be involved, but not the why or not even if you are right until the last 50 pages or so.  Then you’re just like, whoa.

The story is told from Allie’s point of view, but there are parts of the story that are told from Cody’s point of view.  You’re not sure who Cody is.  Is he a boy or a man, sick or well?  All you know is that he is being held captive and used for his magical ability to forge magic signatures.  A really interesting twist to the story telling that I enjoyed.

Let’s talk characters.  Allie is a strong woman who wants to isolate herself from her successful father’s dealings.  She is magically very powerful.  She is kick ass but she is also vulnerable and human.  I am very happy I like her since this is the Allie Beckstrom series.  It would kind of suck if I didn’t like the main heroine!  😉 Zayvion is a mystery.  You never fully find out who he is, what he is, why he is there or how he is truly involved.  He is very secretive.  He is also very protective of Allie and saves her life on numerous occasions.  There is this mysterious air about him that makes you want to follow him anywhere to learn more about him.  I am also happy to see that he is a recurring character in this series, because I really want to know the who, what, why and how!  Allie’s best friend, Nola is a wonderful woman.  Almost more of a motherly figure.  She is a calming source for Allie, and boy does Allie need it.  I wanted to give you big hugs all the time, she’s that sweet.

Overall,   I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed this book.  I find that always sounds bad when you word it that w — it sounds as though you read a book with very low expectations but it turned out to be kick ass.  I just really don’t know why I waited so long to read this.  I won’t give any detail but I just love the way it ended.  It really closes off this particular installment yet leaves the perfect opening for the next book.  And Zayvion?!  I can’t wait to find out more about that guy!  This is a nice Urban Fantasy story told in a distinctive and interesting setting and I am for sure going to be continuing with this series.

4.5 stars

Giggle worthy quotes

“’What are you?’  I asked.  ‘Master level?’
He shook his head and took another frink of coffee.  ‘I didn’t go the college for magic.’
‘What did you go to college for?’
‘The women.’  He smiled.  ‘Oh, we aren’t being that honest?  Economics.’”
“I felt cold and numb, like I was buried in snow, which annoyed me.  I’d thought a little bit about how I wanted to die, and freezing to death in an avalanche wasn’t even on my top-ten-favorite-ways-to-bite-it list.
Ten involved chocolate and sex.”
“’I’m not complaining.  It’s just…don’t you ever let go, relax, and have fun?’
He wiped at his mouth with his napkin.  ‘Sure.  It’s in the schedule.  Monday, laundry, Tuesday, dishes, and every other Thursday afternoon between one and one fifteen, wild abandon.’”

Books in the Allie Beckstrom series –
Magic to the Bone
Magic in the Blood
Magic in the Shadows
Magic on the Storm
Magic at the Gate
Magic on the Hunt (April 2011)

  1. I haven’t read this series either..I actually had no idea there were this many books out already! Allie sounds cool…

  2. Glad you pulled this one out of the closet and dusted it off! Sounds like a good one!

  3. I have had this on my TBR pile for a while, and from your quotes I can tell I’m going to dig it…and the fact that you gave it 4 stars, all the more reasons to rush to the book store! Thanks, I didn’t know how I was going to spend my $5 borders bucks 😉

  4. So glad to see a review on this series! I’ve always been curious but never really saw much about it….definitely moving it up on my TBR pile!

  5. Mandi – It still amazes me that with all the UF titles out there, there are still some that manage to surprise and be unique!

    FV – It really is a good one. I liked the twist at the end. 🙂

    Jess – This book has you written all over it. I really think you’ll like it.

    Ashley – If you like a good UF read, you’ll like it. 🙂

  6. Oh sigh, book 2 has been waiting for me some time now, I need to get a move on. How evil my TBR pile is

  7. blodeuedd – The TBR pile can be quite mean…lol 🙂

  8. I’ve read the whole series and i must say it is quite good I might also suggest a madness of angels if you like this one. A warning though do not try to skip any books. so much happens in each of them that to miss one is to be lost during the next.


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