Monday, 31 October 2011

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

Publisher - Berkley UK
Publication Date - 13th October 2011
Paperback - 384 pages
Genre - Urban Fantasy

Source - Received from publisher for review

Rating - 3 out of 5: I liked it.

Book Info - "Using magic, meant it used you back. Forget the fairytale hocus pocus, sparkles and pixie dust crap. Magic, like booze, sex, and drugs, gave as good as it got"

Everything has a cost. And every act of magic exacts a price from its user, maybe a two-day migraine, or losing the memory of your first kiss. But some people want to use magic without paying and they Offload the cost onto innocents. When that happens, it falls to a Hound to identify the spell's caster - and Allie Beckstrom is the best there is.

Daughter of a prominent Portland businessman, Allie would rather moonlight as a Hound than accept the family fortune - and the strings that come with it. But when she discovers a little boy dying from a magic Offload that has her father's signature all over it, Allie is thrown into the high stakes world of corporate espionage and black magic...

My Thoughts - I must admit to finding Magic to the Bone a bit difficult to get into at first. I had difficulty really grasping the way magic works in Allie Beckstrom's world and this left me feeling slightly confused at times. And there are some areas where the author's style of writing confused me slightly too. For example, the book is written in first person style from the point of view of Allie (apart from a few short chapters written from another character's point of view) and her thoughts would often move directly from a very relaxed conversational style to almost poetic descriptions of her surroundings. These two styles placed so closely together just didn't work for me.

However, after the first couple of chapters the magical ways of Allie's world had finally managed to sink in and I was better able to concentrate on (and enjoy!) the storyline. The plot is fast moving and, for the most part, kept me on the edge of my seat. Plus there were some good twists in the story that I didn't see coming.

I really enjoyed finding out about all of the characters in this book. Allie is a strong and independent woman who has obviously lived a life of loneliness. Apart from her best friend Nola she doesn't have anybody else to depend on, and this loneliness jumps off the page at you and really makes you feel for Allie. This loneliness is reflected on in her relationships with men. According to Nola, Allie often jumps into bed with men she hardly knows, then regrets it soon after and starts making excuses for why the relationship won't work. And we see a perfect example of this behaviour in Magic to the Bone in her relationship with Zayvion. Allie longs for companionship but she is scared of the pain and rejection that may come with this intimacy. This vulnerability made her a much more realistic character in my eyes.

 Zayvion is certainly a very intriguing character and I would really like to get to know more about him in future books in this series. I didn't like him much at first, although not for any reason I could put my finger on, but he did grow on me and by the half-way point of the book I had a pretty big crush on him! He is very much a mystery man (which I love!) and he really looks out for Allie and does all he can to keep her safe. The plot twist at the end involving Allie and Zayvion really knocked me for six and I can't wait to read book two to find out what the future has in store for these two.

Summary - Despite having some difficulties with the first few chapters of this book, I found Magic to the Bone to be an action-packed, romance-filled read that kept me turning the pages until late in the night. I am very glad that I persevered with this book and I am looking forward to reading book two of the series.

Other books in the series:
1. Magic to the Bone
2. Magic in the Blood
3. Magic in the Shadows
4. Magic on the Storm
5. Magic at the Gate
6. Magic on the Hunt

Other reviews of this book:
Book Addicts / Book Chick City / Dear Author / SFF World
(If you would like your review of Magic to the Bone included here, please leave a link to your review in the comments and I will be sure to add it)


TheReadingPenguin said...

Great review! Magic seems to be one of the most difficult things for authors to include in their world building. All to often you either get a boring, long info-dump, or you're left confused. It's good that you were able to get through it!

Melliane said...

I'm sorry it was difficult to get into the story in the beginning. I don't remember how I felt about the first one but I know I ended with a lot of questions. I really love this series and I hope it would be the same for you with the other books.

Chrissie (Once Upon a Series) said...

The Reading Penguin -Yeah, it was a bit confusing at first but it didn't take too long for the ideas to sink into my brain ;)

Melliane - I definitely liked the first two-thirds of the book much more than the beginning, and by the end I was really enjoying it. I'm expecting good things from book two :)

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