Sunday, May 03, 2009

Magic In The Blood - Devon Monk

Magic In The Blood
Devon Monk

Urban Fantasy

If you haven’t read the first book in this unique series, MAGIC TO THE BONE, this review contains unavoidable spoilers. And you’ve missed a great read. The really impressive thing about all this is that new readers will start this book right along with main character Allie Beckstrom; that is, with no memory of the events that transpired in the first novel. Allie has lost weeks’ worth of memories due to using a huge amount of magic. In this reality, magic always exacts a price. For Allie, it can be pain, fever, a head cold, or memory loss. To guard against the loss of memories, she always carries a notebook to record her activities.

Allie Beckstrom is a magical Hound. She can trace a spell back to the caster. As this book begins, she discovers a part of the police department she never knew existed: the Magical Enforcement Response Corps (MERC.) The officers who staff MERC are in charge of the serious magical crimes in Portland. Detective Stott wants Allie to work with him. Allie is well on her way to being a victim of a magical crime. Lon Trager, a dealer in drugs and illegal blood magic, has Allie’s blood. There’s no telling what he might be able to do with it.

Before she can deal with any of that, she has to deal with the ghost of her father. Not only has she never seen a ghost before, she had no idea ghosts could touch the living. Her father, a powerful magic-user and wealthy entrepreneur in life, is clearly trying to tell her something. Allie wonders if it has anything to do with the strange beings she sees every time she uses magic now. She calls them “watercolor people.” They’re sort of pastel-hued shadows of people, who attack and pull magic from her when they get close enough, leaving her weak and wounded. Clearly, something big is going on with magic in the area.

This series uses a system of rules for magic that is original and seems very realistic. It’s such a pervasive part of life that it’s taken the place of power utilities, there are laws governing its use, professions and businesses dedicated to finding new uses, and a black market for illegal uses. The structure of the story pulled me in right away, and kept me reading. There’s action, adventure, fantasy, and even some romance. After the confrontation with the Big Bad, there’s still story to tell, and the author does it in a very interesting way. The book ends in a way that tells a complete story, but makes it clear that there’s more to come. I’ll be waiting.

Rating: 8
May 2009
ISBN# 978-0-451-46267-1 (paperback)


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