Audio Review: Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk

May Contain Spoilers

Allie Beckstrom works as a Hound, sniffing out illegal magic use for paying customers. Her father is the head of Beckstrom Industries, a company that has made a fortune harnessing magic so the masses can use it – for a price. Allie lives in a crappy, run-down apartment, has about twenty bucks in her pocket, and can’t even afford a cell phone. Still, it’s better than working for her father, whose magical gift is influencing others. All  her life, Allie wasn’t sure if she was making a choice because she wanted to do something, or because her father was compelling her do it.

When Allie accepts a job tracking down an illegal offload, she’s forced to confront her father, a man she hasn’t seen in seven years. His magical signature is all over the dying boy, and Allie wants her father to pay for using a kid for a proxy. Using blood magic, her father swears he didn’t do it, and though he isn’t lying, Allie still doesn’t believe him. And that’s the start of some of the frustrations with Allie. She doesn’t make good decisions, even when she has all of the evidence that point to a different conclusion than the one she prefers.

Zayvion Jones has been hired by her father to keep an eye on her, and when Allie discovers he’s been spying on her, she’s understandably pissed. Still, they have an undeniable attraction, and Allie soon turns to him for help. When her father turns up dead, just hours after their meeting, she’s suddenly on the run from the cops and from Hounds hired to track her down. Her magical signature was found all over her father’s body, and it’s going to take a miracle to prove her innocence.

I’m not sure about this series yet. It’s not as engaging as Monk’s House Immortal (be still my beating heart), but the magic system is fascinating. Like in Full Metal Alchemist, there is a price to pay for using the magic that is collected from the environment. If you use magic, it uses you. It extracts a price from the user, unless the user illegally off-loads the blowback to a proxy. For Allie, the magic erases little pieces of her memory, one spell at a time. Though she is extremely powerful, the cost doesn’t always make it worthwhile to use her magic. Having to keep a journal with your life summarized for you in case your last spell wipes out your memories – just not worth it to me.

Despite some issues with pacing, I am interested to discover what’s next for Allie.

Grade: 3.25

Review copy borrowed from my local library

About the book

Allie would rather moonlight as a Hound than accept the family fortune – and the strings that come with it. All magic use has costs — hers include migraines and memory loss. She finds a boy dying from a magic Offload with her father’s signature, then her father is murdered. Allie’s search for the truth calls on her country friend and the handsome man originally assigned as her bodyguard. Someone is forging magic signatures — and hers is on her dead father.