Book Review: Magic on the Line by Devon Monk

Posted May 1, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Book Review: Magic on the Line by Devon Monk

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Magic on the Line by Devon Monk
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Roc on November 1, 2011
Pages: 345
Format: eBook
Source: the library

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Allison Beckstrom has willingly paid the price of pain to use magic, and has obeyed the rules of the Authority, the clandestine organization that makes-and enforces-all magic policy. But when the Authority's new boss, Bartholomew Wray, refuses to believe that the sudden rash of deaths in Portland might be caused by magic, Allie must choose to follow the Authority's rules, or turn against the very people for whom she's risked her life.

To stop the plague of dark magic spreading through the city, all that she values will be on the line: her magic, her memories, her life. Now, as dead magic users rise to feed upon the innocent and the people closest to her begin to fall, Allie is about to run out of options.

Also by this author: Hell Bent, Magic to the Bone, Magic at the Gate, Magic Without Mercy, Magic for a Price, House Immortal, Dirty Deeds

Seventh in the Allie Beckstrom urban fantasy series set in Portland and revolving around Allie, a Hound who can handle all magics.

My Take

And Allie starts up as she intends to go on: cocky and confident that she can handle anything, even if she doesn’t know much of anything. I do hate her, so keep in mind that this is coloring my perceptions of her.

Oh, yeah, I’m with Allie on this one, and I love that she’s called Wray on his officiousness. He’s supposed to be supervising the Northwest region, and it may be a large geographic area, but it’s not so big that the guy can’t pop in to see how things are going more than once every five years. I mean, hullo? Pop into an area for two or three days, maybe even a whole week?? With, say eleven to twelve major cities in the area, he could cover this in three months.

Okay, Dumbo has been under a Truth spell before, and it’s never hurt like this one. She doesn’t trust Wray and hates Missy, so when she and Zayvion get to the doctor’s, why is she downplaying what Missy did to her?? Allie really irritates me. She whines when she gets what she wants. She whines when it doesn’t go her way. And now, when she has something legitimate to whine about, something that could be officially reported, that could maybe help oust this jerk, she pooh-poohs it?? WTF? I do like Zay’s reaction to what Missy did. I can only hope she oversteps the line again.

When Bartholomew calls her in for another meeting, Allie is all self-important in her confidence. Yeah, that’s right. She handled Bartholomew before, and she’ll handle him again. Oh, please. She came out of that last meeting hurting, in pain, and unable to use her magic. She still can’t use her magic and she thinks she can walk out of his office?? Jesus, what a lamebrain.

And Allie continues to disappoint. At that group meeting, she wants to leap up and protest immediately. Both Terric and her dad insist she wait until she has all the information, but no, why would she want to do that? How can she possibly show how stupid she is unless she does.

Crack me up! I’m not the only one who thinks Allie does stupid things. Her fellow Hounds think so too! I do like how honest they are. They appreciate all the efforts Allie has taken to make things easier for the Hounds — fulfilling Pike’s dreams — and they want to be sure that no one kills their golden goose, lol.

Ooh, at last. Allie’s been pushing to bring the Hounds in and everyone in the Authority has been totally against it. Now, with Chase’s funeral, Shame is going to start mixing it up with them. The party is good, and I love seeing everyone mixing it up and getting on with each other. I’m hoping this will break the ice and lead to more interaction.

Whoa, seems that Zay had been working undercover in Lon Tragger/Trager’s blood den. More revelations include Allie finding out that the Authority encompasses more than just the few fighters and Voices she’s met. That there are businessmen, teachers, doctors, those working in civilian interface jobs (whatever that means); that there are over 100,000 of ’em in the Portland area. Which rather blows my mind. And I don’t think much of them either. Where were they when the core cast of characters were fighting the wild magic storm?

I don’t understand why Allie thinks she owes Ant a second chance? For what he did in Magic in the Blood, 2, I’d slap him down in a hurry.

Allie is also having problems with her magic. She can’t use it without major pain, retching, and/or passing out. Does she tell anyone? Does she find out how to fix this? Why, no. What fun would that be? How ever could Monk infuse this story with drama if Allie weren’t being her usual stupid self? Just to add to the fun, Allie can now see magic without having to cast Sight. When the news about this new flu comes out, does Allie make that connection with the people who are coughing when a Veiled one emerges form their body? This new thing the Veiled are doing? No. That would require intelligence.

Oh, boy, I kinda see why Daniel would have been so in love with Violet as I listen to her reasons for accepting the position of Voice for Flux. She’s a little scary too.

Allie cannot make up her mind about Zay. She opposes everything, and I do mean everything. Someone says go ahead and get some food, and she’s angry that someone is trying to order her around. Zay Closes so many memories, and she jumps all over him for not refusing to do it. God knows, she can’t possibly slow that lame brain of hers down enough to realize the strategic importance of Zay being the Closer. Then he chooses to oppose the Authority, which Allie has been begging him to do. What’s Allie’s reaction? That’s right. Why would you do that, Zay? Gimme a break. Or, even better, someone smack Allie around for me.

What is it with Bartholomew? If the Authority is this stupid in how it’s set up oversight and in the type of people it puts into positions of authority, then I’m really surprised that a) anyone joins the Authority and b) that it’s still around.

The Story

Wray is in town and flexing his cheesy muscles. He may represent the Authority, but he hasn’t any respect for its rules. Especially when Bartholomew drops his bombs and we learn who he’s had Closed and who will be the new Voices of Portland’s Authority. The man is so obviously clueless. Until, that is, we find out what his true plans are.

The Characters

The claustrophobic Allie Beckstrom is a maverick within the Authority, if only because she doesn’t cotton to authority. Her father, Daniel Beckstrom, is dead and possessing Allie’s mind, when she lets him take over. Violet Beckstrom is her father’s widow and has had her baby, Daniel. Kevin Cooper is her bodyguard, a member of the Authority, and in love with her. Stone is Allie’s pet gargoyle and bodyguard. Nola Robbins is her best friend and fostering the Closed Cody Miller, the non-magic half of him anyway. Nola is also in a relationship with Paul Stotts.

Zayvion Jones is a Closer, a guardian of the gates, and in love with his Soul Complement, Allie. His best friend, Shamus Flynn, is a Death magic user and a Contrast with Allie.

The Authority

Portland Authority
Bartholomew Wray is the Portland Authority’s overseer — and what an asshole! His two goons, Mr. Harrison and Mr. Ladd, are Contrasts. Maeve Flynn is the Voice for Blood and Shame’s mother. She was also Allie’s teacher. Melissa Whit is Wray’s sadistic Blood user and does the vicious Truth spell on Allie. Dr. Fisher is the Authority medic and refuses to treat anyone not okayed by Bartholomew. Sunny is a Blood magic user with an interest in Davy. Victor Forsythe has been fired from the position of Voice for Faith, but he’s still a Closer and Zay’s boss. Carl and La. Tiffany Lowe is in marketing and the object of Shame’s attention. And yeah, Shame knows that Tiffany will do anything and anyone to advance. Ethan Katz is Allie’s dad’s accountant who only crops up when things are calm.

Seattle Authority
Terric Conley, a graphic designer by day, is most likely Shame’s Soul Complement but they avoid each other like the plague. He’s a Closer and had been in the running for gate guardian, but Shame got caught up in a bad spell and ruined Terric for taking the job. Since Mikhail did some healing on him, Terric being near Shame seems to ease his pain. Joshua Romero and Nick Pavloski have gone back home. Closed.

Alaska Authority
Hayden is a Closer and Maeve’s new boyfriend.

Authority members caught up in events in Magic on the Hunt, 6…
…include the Isabelle-possessed Sedra Miller who was the leader of the Authority, Sedra’s bodyguard Dane Lannister, four solid Veiled which included the ex-con Roman Grimshaw, the assassinated leader of the Portland Authority Mikhail, the star-crossed ancient Soul Complements Isabelle and Leander, and Jingo Jingo, a Death magic user and Shame’s boss who kidnapped Sedra.

Eli Collins, a.k.a., Collins the Cutter, is a rogue doctor with a specialty in magical injury who has been Closed by Victor and the Authority. His “experiments” went too far. But he may be Davy’s only hope. Her dad says that he helped create many of the medical applications of his products as did Cody Miller. It’s Hayden and Shame who reveal Collins’ past. Yikes.

The Hounds are…
…magic users who can scent magic and track it back to the original users. This skill makes them very useful for the police and others who want to know who is messing with them magic-wise. Some of the Hounds include Davy Silvers, Sid Westerly, Bea Lufkin who wants roof parties (she Hounds the morgues), Jamar, Jack Quinn, and Theresa who does a lot of Hounding for Nike.

Anthony Bell is a wanna-be Hound, and he’s got a lot of bootlicking to do after his actions in Magic in the Blood. Marta is his mother. Toya, who claims to be a friend of Jack’s, and Karl are some new Hounds in the area.

Portland PD and the MERC is…
Magical Enforcement Response Corps which is led by Detective Paul Stotts who has a bit of magic himself. Detective Makanie Love has worked with Allie before, as has his partner, Detective Mia Payne.

Grant Rhine owns Get Mugged, Allie’s favorite coffeeshop, and the warehouse where Allie is leasing the two upper floors for the Hounds. The bottom floor is leased to a ghostbusting company. Huh, seems that Grant is gay and interested in Terric. Jula and Ryan are Grant’s employees.

Contrasts are magic users who can combine magic but never know if it will backfire or strengthen each other. Closers are Faith magic users and the Authority’s assassins. The magic discs that Daniel and Violet invented will hold magic and allow its use without the user having to endure the pain of using the magic. They are also being used to make the Veiled solid. The Veiled are parts of magic users who crave the taste of magic. If they get hold of you, they’ll eat up your magic and you.

The Cover and Title

The cover is muted golden office buildings in the background and bluish grays and black in the forefront with the black-clad Allie standing with legs apart and arms held out from her sides. It’s jeans and a crop top to reveal Allie’s tattoos (and add a touch of sex) along with that katana she holds in one hand and the magic-spitting gun in the other.

The title is accurate, for Bartholomew Wray has put Magic on the Line.

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