Muggle-ness may be skin-deep, but magic goes all the way down to the bone. Let’s x-ray through 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.
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.
In my continuing quest to read every urban fantasy novel under the sun, I have begun reading a new series: the Allie Beckstrom books.
The plot and characters are pretty much standard as far as these things go. Allie has a rich and powerful father, but is estranged from him and trying to make her own way in the world even if it means struggling with poverty and doing unpleasant work rather than enjoying a cushy position in the lap of luxury. She takes a seemingly simple job, then realizes she’s in over her head when it turns out to be the tip of a conspiracy. Zayvion is the enigmatic but charming man who will become her love interest despite his infuriating habit of being needlessly secretive with vital information. Nothing I haven’t seen before. Honestly, I found Cody Hand to be the most intriguing character, because he was the only one who seemed fresh and unique.
So what made me decide to pick up this series, if not the characters or the plot? The setting, which I think has a lot of potential for telling interesting stories. Magic has just recently been discovered and commercialized, and the law is still struggling to catch up with regulating this burgeoning new industry. Using magic carries a cost, but the unscrupulous can Offoad that cost onto innocent civilians and only professional Hounds can sniff out these criminals.
In short, this series definitely has potential; I just hope going forwards that it can break out of the cliches of the genre and carve its own path.
Final Rating: 3/5