Monday, July 02, 2012

Magic Without Mercy - Devon Monk


Magic Without Mercy
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, MAGIC ON THE HUNT, and MAGIC ON THE LINE.

This installment, the eighth in this great series, begins just after the events of the previous novel.  If you haven’t read them yet, you need to do so immediately.  Magic is somehow being poisoned.  The Authority, the ruling body of magic, the people who decide what information and magic gets released to the general public, has been denying this truth.  If it was dangerous before, it’s deadly now.  The Veiled, ghosts of dead magic users are wandering the streets of Portland, attacking people.  Those people are infected by the tainted magic and die.  This will affect everyone, magic user or not.  But the Authority (now missing its leader, thanks to Allie) refuses to act.

Allie, Zayvion, and Shamus decide to take a reasoned, scientific type of action this time.  Which only goes to show exactly how desperate they are at this point.  They plan to take samples from natural magic wells around Portland and analyze them.  That’s about as far as the science goes, but it’s a start.  They need to do this without being caught, since the Authority has labeled them criminals and is actively hunting them.  In the meantime, one powerful magic user will travel to the Overseer, the head of the world’s magic-using community, to explain the situation, and, they all hope, get help from that quarter.  One more little problem?  For some reason, using magic is making Allie sick.  A simple spell knocks her out.  That means she’ll have to count on others to protect her.  She hates that.

If you’ve been reading the series up to now, you’ll realize that this novel is, in many ways, the culmination of many previous plotlines.  For new readers, there’s so much history, so much going on with various characters, that an encapsulated ‘recap’ is pretty much impossible, but the author does a nice job of throwing in background information where applicable.  Each novel builds on the one before it, both in terms of plot and character, making this the kind of thing that makes me remember why I love long series done right.  And this is definitely done right.  The action sequences – physical and magical – are written extremely well.  The scenes in between are paced with a swift and even hand.  There’s clearly more to tell in this story, and it’s a mark of how entertaining this series is that I’m really excited to read the next novel.  In the meantime, I’ll have to content myself with the author’s new Age of Steam series.  Watch this space.

Rating: 8
April 2012
ISBN# 978-0-451-46448-4 (paperback)

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