Magic to the Bone (Allie Beckstrom Series #1)

Magic to the Bone (Allie Beckstrom Series #1)

4.0 129
by Devon Monk
     
 

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Devon Monk is casting a spell on the fantasy world...

Using magic means it uses you back, and every spell exacts a price from its user. But some people get out of it by Offloading the cost of magic onto an innocent. Then it’s Allison Beckstrom’s job to identify the spell-caster. Allie would rather live a hand-to-mouth existence than accept

Overview

Devon Monk is casting a spell on the fantasy world...

Using magic means it uses you back, and every spell exacts a price from its user. But some people get out of it by Offloading the cost of magic onto an innocent. Then it’s Allison Beckstrom’s job to identify the spell-caster. Allie would rather live a hand-to-mouth existence than accept the family fortune—and the strings that come with it. But when she finds a boy dying from a magical Offload that has her father’s signature all over it, Allie is thrown back into his world of black magic. And the forces she calls on in her quest for the truth will make her capable of things that some will do anything to control...

Editorial Reviews

Like everything, magic has a cost. In the case of black magic, it can exact a deadly bargain, but spell casters have learned to offload the high toll on some unknowing innocent. Allison Beckstrom would prefer not to know these things, would prefer to live a quiet moonlight life as a Hound, but she can't ignore the victims of her father's dark sorcery. The convincing debut of an urban fantasy series.\
Publishers Weekly

In this clever and compulsively readable debut, set in a magical analog of Portland, Ore., Allie Beckstrom is a Hound, able to trace a spell back to its caster. When a young boy is injured by a spell, Allie tracks it back to her estranged father, Daniel, a ruthless businessman who protests his innocence. Then someone magically disguised as Allie kills Daniel. Allie and sexy corporate operative Zayvion race against time to find the answers. Magic is common in this alternate universe, but using it always incurs a physical or mental cost, rendering it a commodity to be bought and sold, used and abused. Allie's internal and external struggles are brilliantly and tightly written, creating a multifaceted character who will surprise, amuse, amaze and absorb readers. (Nov.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.\
VOYA - Amy Fiske
Magic is a feature of everyday life in this first installment of a gritty new urban fantasy series. Running as a secondary power grid, magic is available for the initiated to tap at will. Users pay a price in the form of headaches, stomach complaints, or lost memories. As in any system, there are also those who cheat. Less-ethical magic users Offload the unpleasant consequences onto unsuspecting victims in a sort of damage-by-proxy scheme. Magical detectives called Hounds are hired to track the unique signatures of Offloads back to their opportunistic creators. Allie, part-time Hound and full-time disenchanted daughter of a corporate tycoon, is hired to track the signature of a horrific magical Offload that has left a young boy dying. When she discovers that the trail leads directly to her father, Allie tumbles into a nightmarish magical underworld of danger, intrigue, and murder. Monk creates an interesting alternate urban reality filled with quirky characters. The writing style favors telling over showing; however, it works surprisingly well. Told from Allie's point of view, the book reads at times like a voiceover from a 1940s crime film - urban fantasy meets film noir. The never-ending drizzle of Portland and the seedy underworld of criminal magic literally drench the story in atmosphere. The result is a stylish, addictive read that will appeal to urban fantasy fans. Adult characters, coarse language, and descriptive sex scenes make this book an adult release, but those features will hardly deter interested teens. Reviewer: Amy Fiske\
From the Publisher
"Allie's internal and external struggles are brilliantly and tightly written, creating a multifaceted character who will surprise, amuse, amaze and absorb [listeners]." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101078914
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/04/2008
Series:
Allie Beckstrom Series , #1
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
32,667
File size:
322 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Allie's internal and external struggles are brilliantly and tightly written, creating a multifaceted character who will surprise, amuse, amaze and absorb [listeners]." —-Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Meet the Author

Devon Monk has one husband, two sons, and a dog named Mojo. She lives in Oregon and is surrounded by colorful and numerous family members who mostly live within dinner-calling distance of each other. She has sold over fifty short stories to fantasy, science fiction, horror, humor, and young adult magazines and anthologies. Her stories have been published in five countries and included in a Year's Best Fantasy collection. When not writing, Devon is either knitting, remodeling the house-that-was-once-a-barn, or hosting a family celebration.

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Magic to the Bone (Allie Beckstrom Series #1) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 129 reviews.
kitkat3ny More than 1 year ago
Devon Monk has built a pungent, gritty-world, where magic is available to most but it's use, usually comes at a steep price. Today is Allie Beckstrom's 25th birthday. She is a hounder (someone who traces magic back to its user/caster) and is about to take one of the most costly hound jobs, that will change the course of her life for good. Not only does her job not pay enough for her to make her rent on her crappy apartment but her price for using magic to trace magic, is usually a chunk of her memory. On this night, she receives a call for a hound job in one of the worst parts of town. It concerns a case of wrongfully offloaded magic on a child and now the child's on deaths door. Her investigation into this case sets her up to be accused of murder. Now she's the one being hounded and is on the run for her life, w/ no where to go and everything to lose. And to top it all off, her love interest (Zayvion) and only ally was her former stalker, hired by her dad. This just may turn out to be one of the worst birthdays ever; if she survives. I really loved this book. It was exciting and interesting. Sometimes it was a little predictable but entertaining enough that the predictability didn't matter. If you're looking for a romance novel with a little mystery, this book may not be for you. If you're looking for a strong urban fantasy w/ a bit of hot sex, then you'll enjoy this book. I'm looking forward to Magic in the Blood due out May 2009.
Justine_H More than 1 year ago
The synopsis should have told me to take my time reading this, but wham, bam, etc, I finished it before I turned the lights out for the night. Easy read, but a lot of ¿new¿ ideas on the use of magic that a first read almost requires a second read-through before you feel like you¿ve squeezed all that you can get out of it. Magic is like having a cell phone in this story, and everyone can have one, either bought, borrowed or stolen.

If you like strong, confused, fearless yet vulnerable women, Allie fits the bill. I personally wanted more about Zayvion, but Nola and Allie¿s father were informative enough to give me a good character picture. It seemed to me that every character was distrustful or bordering on paranoid. Even the relationship between Allie and her friend Nola was overshadowed with Nola¿s mistrust of Zayvion¿s intentions; having said that, I was left wondering about his intentions as well.

Although the premise is that magic is newly discovered, it¿s obvious there could be a sequel in the works because Mama, Zayvion and Cody each seem to be a part of a deeper, older magic that seems to be something closer to the generic idea of what magic is, but if anyone can put a twist on that, it would be Devon Monk.

I would recommend this if you¿re a SciFi/Magic reader looking for a new twist or are looking for a great read-and-pass-it-on book.
Angieville More than 1 year ago
MAGIC TO THE BONE is set in an alternate America in which magic "came out" to the world rather like vampires did in Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse books. Soon after people become users and consumers of magic, much like they use and consume alcohol. And just like a night of hard drinking, any use of magic leaves the user with a monster hangover. This "hangover" manifests itself in a variety of unsavory ways from intense bruising all over the body to a flu that will lay you low for a week. Allie Beckstrom is a Hound--a person with the ability to follow a cast spell back to the caster. Unlike other Hounds, though, Allie is able to house a small amount of magic within her own body. But this increased ability exacts a higher price. After working a particularly potent bit of magic, Allie frequently loses random portions of her memory. Estranged from her power-hungry father, she lives in a hole, barely scraping enough money together to feed herself with anything resembling regularity. When a small boy is almost killed by a spell that leads back to dear old Dad, Allie immediately goes on the offensive to bring her father to justice. She runs into trouble in the form of Zayvion Jones--a stalker/bodyguard who used to work for her father and seems intent on shadowing Allie's every move.

The whole layout of this story held a lot of promise and I willingly immersed myself in Allie's seamy world, eager to see how she handled her manipulative, possibly murderous father as well as the darkly enigmatic Zay. Allie herself is world-weary in a way that mirrors her world, a place ironically sapped of wonder and goodness by the largely unregulated abuse of "magic." I loved the little book she carries around, recording memories against the day they're stripped from her after overstepping herself magically. In fact, each and every character piqued my interest, from Allie's unusual stepmother to her salt of the earth best friend. However, I found that interest flagging fairly soon as the execution did not quite match up to the idea. Zay's and Allie's relationship seemed rather quickly formed. He felt too good to be true while she seemed to fall into a sort of stereotypical urban fantasy composite heroine. I started to lose my sense for what made her unique and felt that they were both smarter than their actions painted them. The tension between them resolved too abruptly for my taste. Throughout the story, a well-conceived idea here or a particularly cool plot development there managed to revive my flagging attention, but the follow-through lacked the level of tightness and cohesion that is a defining characteristic of my favorite urban fantasy series's.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm about 1/3 of the way through. I keep waiting for it to get better. Poor character development, horrid story line, will not get any more by this writter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have a question for all you hacks out there. Do you never tire of the standard schlock character like in this book, the spoiled, self-righteous rich brat, pointlessly and eternally rebelling against her famiky? Because I am really tired of characters like that and feel no sympathy whatsoever for them. Allie would be particularly objectionable if she weren't such an overwhelmimgly stereotypical stock character. And since she is such a tired trope, the story folliws very predictable paths. If you are young and new to this genre, you may enjoy this book. If you have read literally thousands of fantasies like me, do't waste your time. There is literally nothing new or interesting here.
BluHawk More than 1 year ago
I found this book highly original, and enjoyed the unique take on magic and how it affects life in this world. The storyline was gritty and evoking, and I also thought the author did a good job at bringing the characters to life. I am looking forward to finding out what happens next in the series. Although I really enjoyed this novel, there are a few others in the same genre that I liked even more. "Succubus Blues" by Richelle Meade, "Dead Witch Walking" by Kim Harrison, "Moon Called" by Patricia Briggs, "Blood Engines" by T.A. Pratt, and "Full Moon Rising" by Keri Arthur.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Allie is the only heir to rich businessman with lots of magic abilities. She is a hound, she has the ability to hunt magic back to its user. But in this story, magic is not all wonderful and easy. A person has to work at it and whatever they do comes back to the user. Because of this Allie has a notebook because besides the physical pain, she also looses parts of her memory. Allie is called in to hunt down an Offload. Some people don't want to pay for the magic they use. So, they set up a spell that puts that feedback on another person. Allie finds out that the signature on the offload is her fathers. So, she confronts him after seven years of not seeing. She also learns that her dad was having her followed by Zayvion Jones. The next day she learns that her father had been killed and she is being hunted down by a crazy hound. While trying to run, she find a young man that should be dead from stab wounds. Zayvion grabs her and takes her into hiding. She is determined to get to the police and tell them the truth until Zayvion reminds her that she was the last one seen with her father and now has become the suspect. But there is more going on than just an illegal offload. This is a good story. I like how magic is not just a special power that is there to make the world better. I felt the story was lacking. There was too much on the injuries and not enough that went into the story. I also had a hard time getting into and wanting to keep reading.
LilyElementBookReviews 3 months ago
Magic to the Bone is book one in the Allie Beckstrom series. This was my first Devon Monk book and it's been on my TBR for forever now so I'm glad I finally got around to it. The magic elements in this world were unique and I really enjoyed learning a bit about it. Allison (aka Allie) Beckstrom is the daughter of a wealthy business man but wants nothing to do with him. Instead of living on daddy's money, she works as a hound, if a magical crime is committed she's able to sniff out the spell caster. Think of it as a PI/bounty hunter job but toss in magic. She takes one gig and it leads her to someone unexpected. But things decide to get a bit crazy and she winds up having to go on the run. Along her side is Zayvion Jones, a man hired by Allie's father to watch over her. There were sparks between the two, and I'll be curious to see where the series takes them. While on the run, Allie and Zayvion have to figure out who is behind the magical assassination before Allie is framed for it all. With this being my first DMonk book, I'm impressed. There's quite a few UF books out there with magic in an urban environment, but DMonk really made this one unique and enjoyable. The magic elements were really different from anything I've really seen. Some people are allowed and able to use magic, but everything you use has a consequence. Whether it be a headache, a bruise, pain or even memory loss, magic isn't supposed to be used lightly. I think I really enjoyed that because it means we won't have one all mighty powerful main character that can just blink and nothing bad ever happens to her. All in all, if you're a fan of Urban Fantasy and haven't read this series yet, I'd suggest you grab it!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my first book in the series and I can't wait to read the rest. The central character is likable, witty and intriguing. The use of magic is interesting and creative. Great blend of mystery, romance, relationships, action, etc. This is a good one!
Janel_ More than 1 year ago
I love the world, very realistic and edgy. Great writing. Fun!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing book. After you read this one you have to read the others in the series too. The end was socking
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bookaddictaz More than 1 year ago
Allie Beckstrom deals with life hurdles and opportunities with courage and ingenuity. She toughs it out, when it would be easier to run. I really like this gal. Devon Monk has written a heroine who is engaging, smart and tough. It is rare to write about a disability, in this case a magical disability of losing memories around using magic. Devon does it with insight and compassion, making you feel the rage and loss and loss of confidence that a known disability can create. This book begins to explore emotional and mental deficits with real insights. This is a compelling read. It's hard to put down because Devon's creative world with the politics of infighting and control are so good. You know this world innately. You've been part of these battles. I wouldn't have missed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Average read, could have used more action.