Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk

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 innocents. When that happens, it falls to a Hound to identify the spell’s caster – and Allison Beckstrom’s the best there is.

COV_Magic to the Bone.inddDaughter of a prominent Portland businessman, Allie would rather moonlight as a Hound than accept the family fortune – and the strings that come with it. But when she discovers a little boy dying from a magic Offload that has her father’s signature all over it, Allie is thrown into the high-stakes world of corporate espionage and black magic.

Now Allie’s out for the truth – and must call upon forces that will challenge 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.

Allie Beckstrom is an interesting character. She is in some ways the typical urban fantasy heroine, with an attitude and a chip on her shoulder. She is also paranoid to the extreme, refusing to trust anyone and making stupid decisions based on her paranoia. The really intriguing part about her was how using magic could cause her to lose memories. It made her much easier to sympathize with when thinking of how she had to write her life down in her little black book to keep track of both little things like her current cases, to big things like her own name. The rest of the characters I did not find very interesting. Zayvion was the typical tall-dark-handsome-mysterious love interest, who mysteriously pops into Allie’s life and she falls in love with him despite her better judgement, and then pushes him away when she thinks he might love her back. Been there, done that. Allie’s best friend Nola was the “I’m going to shun magic in the magical world” type. Again, not new or exciting.

The world building in this novel was relatively unique. Magic being somewhat controlled and flowing through pipes underground was something I had not read before. I didn’t buy into it though. Sounded pretty silly, along with magic just being “discovered” only 30 years ago. There were some hints about magic being around much longer, and secret societies trying to control its use, but they weren’t particularly subtle or surprising, so I didn’t really care. When Allie uses too much magic in a way that’s not supposed to be possible, strange tattoos show up on her arms. I wish they would have been described in more detail, because that intrigued me, but the only mention of them was how Allie thought they would be a swell conversation starter at parties and then she moved on. Like, hello, you have cool new magical tattoos that no one else has or understands! Let’s talk about them! *sigh*

Overall, I would give this book 2 stars out of 5. I might read the next one, but not any time soon. Happy reading,

-Branwen

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