Monday, April 30, 2012

Magic On The Line - Devon Monk


Magic On The Line
An Allie Beckstrom Novel
Devon Monk
Roc
 
Urban Fantasy
 
There’s no way to write this review without spoilers, so read at your own risk.  And don’t miss the previous novels:  MAGIC TO THE BONE, MAGIC IN THE BLOOD, MAGIC IN THE SHADOWS, MAGIC ON THE STORM, MAGIC AT THE GATE, and MAGIC ON THE HUNT.
 
If you’ve been reading the series so far, it’s not news to you that something is very wrong with magic in Portland.  As this installment begins, Allie arrives at the offices of Bartholomew Wray, the new head of the magical Authority in Portland.  He’s there to investigate what’s been going wrong in the past and to correct the situation.  To Allie’s dismay, she realizes that the Authority is hardly a small group of magic users.  It’s a huge conglomerate, run like the most conservative of corporations, with thousands of employees expected to toe the line.
 
Like any change in corporate leadership, this one isn’t smooth.  Bartholomew has a much different way of running things, and immediately begins deposing local leaders and installing new ones.  Instead of a severance package, the deposed leaders are Closed; their memories erased.  Watching the people she cares about be lobotomizes is horrific.  During this time, Allie also has to deal with a strange new breed of Veiled.  The Veiled are what’s left of dead magic users.  They’re not acting normal, even for what they are.  The police won’t listen to her, and Bartholomew is strangely unwilling to investigate.
 
Unlike most of the other installments in this excellent series, this one doesn’t quite work as a standalone.  New readers will be able to get the basic history, and the ending is a clear lead-up to the next novel.  As it is, this one is a great read.  There’s a lot going on here, new characters are introduced, old characters make realistic appearances, and the plot continues to grow.  It’s a mark of how talented this author is that each installment remains new and fresh, while keeping up with the characters.  It’s really amazing how much the plot has deepened and matured throughout the series.
 
As always, there’s plenty of action to keep things moving.  The set pieces are always constructed very well, with various areas described in truly evocative terms.  The scene of the final battle, in lesser hands, might have seemed ‘done,’ but the author does a wonderful job of keeping things new and interesting.  If you haven’t already started this series, this might not be the best jumping-in place, but once you’re in, you’re hooked.
 
Rating: 8
November 2011
ISBN# 978-0-451-46391-3 (paperback) 

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