Mar 15, 2011

Posted by in Reviews | 10 Comments

Review: Magic at the Gate by Devon Monk (Allie Beckstrom #5)

Urban Fantasy
November 2 2010
Mass Market Paperback
368 pages
Roc Books

Kick Ass Chick – Allie Beckstrom

From Goodreads
“Allie Beckstrom’s lover, Zayvion Jones, is a Guardian of the Gate, imbued with both light and dark magic and responsible for ensuring that those energies don’t mix. But Zayvion lies in a coma, his soul trapped in death’s realm. And when Allie discovers that the only way to save Zayvion is to sacrifice her very own magical essence, she makes a decision that may have grave consequences for the entire world.”


Warning – Slight spoilers for the previous book in this series

Magic at the Gate is book five in Devon Monk’s awesome ‘Allie Beckstrom’ series.  It starts off exactly where book four left us.  Allie, her ‘dad’ and Stone (Love Stone!) are headed into death to retrieve Zayvion’s soul.  Allie has to trust her father since he is the one who knows death and he can tell her what she needs to do in order to survive and go back to the living with Zay.  Okay, that’s the setup.

Allie and her father have a past filled with distrust on her part and selfish motives on his part.  I get all that, I really do.  But I have to wonder if, even in death where it’s obvious that ‘father knows best’, was it absolutely necessary for Allie to fight him on everything?  Yes, dad is slime.  Yes, we really don’t know what the hell he is doing in Allie’s head and why he won’t just leave.  But these two need to learn to work together or dad needs to leave for good.  Often while reading this book, I wanted to smack Allie and tell her to ‘be the grown up here’ and just ‘give peace and chance.’  Then…Allie’s dad would take over and do or say something that would lead me to hate him all the more!  I still want him out of Allie’s head, but I side completely with Allie and wish dad were dead.  Well, dead-er.

That is just a taste of the ride my brain took while reading Magic at the Gate.  A LOT happens in this book, and all of it quite important.  In fact, just when you think you’re finished taking new info in, more comes up!  So you can’t be drunk or overly tired when reading this or you’ll miss too many details.

One thing that is impossible to miss in this book is Shame.  Shame!  I love this character – and he is abundant in this installment!  He’s changed, become more…just more.  But don’t worry, he’s still as sexy as ever!  And there’s Terric with his and Shame’s freaky bond thing.  I really hope we learn more about their bond and continue seeing lots of these two in future books because the two of them together, when they are not scowling and flipping each other off, are wonderful.  Actually, even when they are doing those things, they are wonderful.

One of the parts of this series that I find the most interesting is how Devon describes the member of the Authority as they cast magic.  It’s such a visual description!  You can truly visualize the glyphs and you can almost feel the magic being pulled.  It’s really artful and really cool.

And Allie’s sarcastic wit and humor still something I love about this series.  And every time she says “Go, me”…it always puts a smile on my face.

The entire time I was reading this book though, I was thinking that it seemed a little ‘different’.  By book 5 in a series, you should sort of know what to expect and cruise comfortably along with the story.  Well, that wasn’t really my experience this time around.  It was sort of bothering me actually, not being able to pinpoint what was ‘different’ about this book.  Then it hit me!  Even though this is book five, it reads like a book two!  Let me quickly explain…  In an Urban Fantasy series, book two is usually the book that sets up the rest of the series.  It’s the book that gives you an idea of where the story will ultimately go.  This series already had a book 2.  A good book 2.  And now it has a book 5-2.  All I can gather from that is that Magic at the Gate is setting us up for something cool.  And since it’s Devon writing, it’s bound to be something awesome.  We’ll soon find out if I’m correct.  Book six, Magic on the Hunt, is hitting stores April 5th 2011.

4 stars

Giggle worthy quotes

“’Half the injuries in a home happen in the bathroom.  What kind of friend would I be t let you face that kind of danger alone?  I mean, sure, you walked out of death, but this is a shower.’
‘Shame.  Get out of my bathroom.’”
“The crystal sort of melted until a thumb-sized disk was left and when Terric completed the spell, the crystal grafted itself into me.  I fucking sparkle.”
“’Mornin’.’  He pulled a spare chair away from a table that had just emptied and set it between Terric and me.
‘Get some sleep?’  Terric asked.
Shame’s eyes narrowed.  ‘You know I did, you arse.’
Terric smiled behind his coffee cup.
‘So you know when Shame is sleeping too?’  I asked.
‘I do when I cast a Sleep spell on him.’
‘May you toil in hell’s basement among the devil’s dirty socks,’ Shame said.”
“Wow.  This was quickly becoming one of my top five wish-someone-else-was-here-instead-of-me moments.”

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)
Magic on the Line (November 2011)

  1. I really, really need to read this series!

  2. Nice review!

  3. Every time you warn of slight spoilers when it comes to series that are on my TBR list I stop reading! I just hope that when I do get around to reading them I remember to come back and read your review and comment! 😀

  4. One thing that is impossible to miss in this book is Shame.

    Agreed! The book should be called Magic at the Gate with Shame

    Perfect review. Can’t wait for #6!!!! …not long now

  5. I love this series! Shame is a book boyfriend of mine, as you well know 😛 this really was HIS book to shine! I gotta have book 6!!!

  6. Patti – Yes, you do. 😉

    Mandi – Thanks!

    Deanna – When I use “slight spoilers”, it’s usually not anything you wouldn’t learn from reading the back of the books. But I still feel like I should give you guys a little warning. 🙂

    Jess – I know! Only three short weeks until book 6!

    Pamela – Shame deserves to be a book boyfriend. He really does. 🙂

  7. You sure like these books 😀

  8. Nice review, thanks! As a new-comer to the series, I enjoyed this book, but didn’t have a strong emotional connection to so many of the players. But I look forward to see where the series is going. Thanks!

  9. blodeuedd – I do! I do really like this series!

    twimom – If ever you have time, since you enjoyed this book without having read the previous installments, maybe you should try book one. I think it’s still my favorite of the series! 🙂

  10. Great review! I so love this series, though I have yet to read this one… Cant wait for the two books coming out this year!

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