I first heard of Devon Monk when she guest blogged at The Book Smugglers. She wrote about magic in a fairly unique way, writing that she had learned about magic from fairy tales and that they had taught her three things: “Magic has a cost, and that cost is always a very high price; just like in fairy tales, people can do good things or horrible things with magic, and courage, hope, and love can be every bit as strong as the darkest spell.” Monk uses these ideas in her Allison Beckstrom series. I am not a huge fan of urban fantasy, but I love witchy chicks. Allison Beckstrom sounded right up my alley, a powerful woman who can control magic.
So, I picked up Magic to the Bone from the Sony eReader Bookstore. The product description from the author’s website reads, “Using magic meant it used you back. Forget the fairy tale hocus-pocus, wave a wand and bling-o 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 an innocent. When that happens, it falls to a Hound to identify the spell’s caster–and Allison Beckstrom’s the best there is.
Daughter of a prominent Portland businessman, Allie would rather moonlight as a Hound than accept the family fortune–and the many strings that come with it. But when she discovers a little boy dying from a magical offload that has her father’s signature all over it, Allie is thrown back into the high-stakes world of corporate espionage and black magic.
Now, Allie’s out for the truth–and the forces she finds herself calling on will overturn everything she knows, change her in ways she could never imagine…and make her capable of things that powerful people will do anything to control.
I was pleasantly surprised at how well I liked this book. It takes place in alternative reality where magic has been “discovered” and is used and exploited by both the rich and powerful and society’s fringe members. As I said, urban fantasy is not usually my thing in that the streets and the street rats are not what I like to read about. However, this story focuses more on Allie and her inner struggles than it does the streets of Portland, Oregon.
The story begins with Allie being hired to Hound a spell that has left a boy near death. Allie finds the magical signature of her father, a man she hasn’t spoken to in years, since she broke from his Influence (with a capital I, since it appears he and she have the power to persuade others without their consent). Almost immediately after Allie confronts her father, he ends up dead, and the Hounds are after Allie saying that her magical signature proves she killed him. The story unravels with Allie searching for who murdered her father, hounding some bad magic, exploring her relationship with the mysterious Zayvion, and suffering the consequences of using magic, anything from migraines to memory loss.
It was a complicated story, as many firsts are, but I wasn’t too lost, and I expect much in the next book. I am definitely adding the rest of this series to my TBR list, and look forward to each one.