12 April 2012

Review: Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk

Author: Devon Monk
Title: Magic to the Bone
Series: Allie Beckstrom #1

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.

Daughter 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

The strongest emotion I feel after reading this book is disgruntlement (if that's a word at all). Allie Beckstrom's tale started out well enough. We're told she's a hound and can trace magic and magic signatures; she hates her rich dad and avoids him; the rules for the world are being laid down, Allie meets a few interesting people and then her dad is killed. Of course she has to find the whodunit. And that is when everything goes to hell in a handbasket, my friends.

Allie is unforgivably stupid. So stupid that is was kinda insulting to have a character be this clueless. When your dad denies that the signature you traced back to him is his, even though signatures are like DNA; when a truth spell shows he's not lying; when you are told that the signature of the magic that killed your dad is yours even though you didn't kill him, won't you start putting two and two together and realize that your dad was telling the truth and that there is something afoot? And if not then, surely after you meet a guy who tells you in so many words that he impersonated your magic signature, wouldn't you figure it out? When you're wanted by the police and ruthless people in very high places of power and influence for the murder of your dad, is your first and only thought to go to the police and tell them, "but, but, but I'm innocent!"? Exactly.

To be sure, we're all allowed our moments of obtuseness, but when your very life depends on it, you can't afford to be dense. Dense, obtuse people who are fighting for their lives end up dead. Heck, even some of the smart ones don't escape.

So yes, I am not at all impressed with my first book by Ms. Monk. Idiot character and a world that doesn't bring much to the genre. Rachel Vincent's Unbound series is a much more unique take on the idea of Hounds and magical consequences, with characters that don't insult your intelligence, if you're looking for a good time, because this one certainly doesn't deliver one.

I will read the next book in series, though. You know, second chances and all that jazz.



  1. Oh God. This sounded like it would be a book for me but your review makes it hard for me not to cry in frustration even though I haven't even READ the book. XD

    1. i wanted to beat her so badly. So DENSE!!


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