Tag Archives: Allie Beckstrom

Devon Monk’s Magic at the Gate

Magic at the Gate  is the fifth in Devon Monk’s Allie Beckstrom urban fantasy series.  I bought each book in the series for my Sony eReader from the eReader Store.

Description: 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.

Like the others in this series, this book focuses on Allie Beckstrom and her magical land. It begins shortly after the end of the book 4 (described below) with Allie plunging into Death to bring back Zay’s soul. She makes a huge sacrifice, but she returns to find that several weeks have passed, and the Magical Authority is still at war. The reasons are less clear to her now, though, having witnesses interactions between her father and the Authority’s traitor. Thus, Allie’s choices are less clear with greater consequences.

While I realize my description is vague, I don’t want to ruin the book for other readers, so I am going to leave it at that.  I like Allie’s stories. This one focuses much more on the team effort of the Authority rather than Allie hounding alone or Allie’s interactions with either her father or Zayvion as others in this series have. That means there is a greater and more interesting cast of characters, some of which are developed in very unique and definitely intriguing ways. There is no getting bored with a series that varies the story line and supporting cast as this one does. In addition, I like the way magic is used in this series in that it is unique; the is no “wiccan” Charmed ones or characters even remotely similar (which happens way too often in magical series). Here, everyone has access to magic, though whether they should or not is hotly debated. The originality alone makes this series worth reading. 

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I first read Monk’s work in May; I reviewed book one of this series, Magic to the Bone, on May 28: https://professorstacy.wordpress.com/2010/05/28/magic-to-the-bone-by-devon-monk/. I read the others in the series during June and July when I wasn’t blogging (dissertation crisis–emotionally, anyway). They have not been reviewed here, so I am including their descriptions below.

Book 2 is Magic in the Blood. Description (all descriptions from author’s website at http://www.devonmonk.com/): Working as a Hound-tracing illegal spells back to their casters-has taken its toll on Allison Beckstrom. But even though magic has given her migraines and stolen her recent memory, Allie isn’t about to quit. Then the police’s magic enforcement division asks her to consult on a missing persons case. But what seems to be a straightforward job turns out to be anything but, as Allie finds herself drawn into the underworld of criminals, ghosts, and blood magic.

Book 3 is Magic in the Shadows, and its description is: Allison Beckstrom’s magic has taken its toll on her, physically marking her and erasing her memories-including those of the man she supposedly loves. But lost memories aren’t the only things preying on Allie’s thoughts.

Her late father, the prominent businessman-and sorcerer-Daniel Beckstrom, has somehow channeled himself into her very mind. With the help of The Authority, a secret organization of magic users, she hopes to gain better control over her own abilities-and find a way to deal with her father…

Book 4 is Magic on the Storm and is described with: Allison Beckstrom is committed to her work tracing illegal spells. Now, there’s an apocalyptic storm bearing down on Portland, and when it hits, all the magic in the area will turn unstable and destructive. To stop it from taking out the entire city, Allie and her lover, the mysterious Zayvion Jones, must work with the Authority-the enigmatic arbiters of all things magic-and take a stand against a magical wildstorm that will obliterate all in its path…

Devon Monk is on my authors-to-be-watched list. Her Allie Beckstrom is strong, interesting, and magical–right up my alley! Happy Reading!

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Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk

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.

Happy Reading!

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Filed under Reading for Fun, Urban Fantasy