Magic to the Bone (Allie Beckstrom Series #1)

( 123 )

Overview

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 is 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 ...

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Magic to the Bone (Allie Beckstrom Series #1)

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Overview

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 is 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 she 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
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.\
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
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\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781452633077
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/15/2011
  • Series: Allie Beckstrom Series , #1
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Library - Unabridged CD
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 6.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Devon Monk is the author of the Allie Beckstrom series, the Age of Steam series, and many short stories. She lives in Oregon.

Emily Durante has narrated the Midnight Twins trilogy by Jacquelyn Mitchard, Casting Off by Nicole R. Dickson, and Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypus, and directed the Earphones Award–winning performance of Heaven's Keep narrated by Buck Schirner.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 123 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(52)

4 Star

(37)

3 Star

(22)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 124 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 22, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Magical start to a new series!

    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.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 19, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Angieville: MAGIC TO THE BONE

    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. <BR/><BR/>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.

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Monk's Magic to the Bone

    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.<BR/><BR/>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. <BR/><BR/>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. <BR/><BR/>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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Cool Magic!

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2009

    Interesting new idea of magic

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2008

    I lost sleep reading this book

    Great world building and an innovative magic system. The basic concept is that magic has been harnessed just like electricity and the internet.<BR/>When you use it it uses you back....Wow.<BR/>I loved the relationship between Ally and Zay. Class act on the steamy sex seens. I could not put the book down!<BR/><BR/>Russ

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2013

    Thoroughly enjoyable

    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!

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  • Posted July 22, 2013

    Great Series!

    I love the world, very realistic and edgy. Great writing. Fun!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing book. After you read this one you have to read the other

    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2012

    I love love love

    Finally. Kim Harrison and Karen Chance fans read this author. I was starting to worry i was a two fav authors type of girl. Now that is a THREE favs. Wicked! @Lyrasworld

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 4, 2012

    Loved this series!

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2012

    LOVE THIS ENTIRE SERIES

    A must set of reads!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2012

    Average

    Average read, could have used more action.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2011

    very original, can't wait to read the next series

    when i read a book i never go for what everyone else is reading. This book made me glad that i did so. It's a new twist on magic.

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  • Posted March 10, 2011

    Emotional & Exciting!

    So much better than I expected. I wish I'd read it sooner!
    *Full Review to follow.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This series is fabulous

    I just happened to come across Magic in the Blood and have been hooked since. Devon Monk is a surpreme writer and I look forward to the next book!

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  • Posted May 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Disjointed

    The book was a fast but the first few chapters were disjointed. I didn't understand why some chapters were from Cody's perspective. It did not help the book's flow to show his side.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Magic interesting read for all

    The latest of the kick-butt female genre that has become so large in the past few years. Is a easy read with an interesting story that makes you want to finish the book in one reading. I will definitely be following this series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2009

    Amazing!!

    I couldn't put this book down. I cannot wait until the second book comes out.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    One of the best books from a new author in years

    This is a fast paced gripping novel that will engage you for hours. I lent it to my neighbor who doesnt like scifi/and fantasy, and she loved the book.. we are both eagerly waiting the next book in the series

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