In the world of Allison "Allie" Beckstrom magic comes at a cost. Most magical practitioners chose Disbursement, the hard way of paying for the magic you use. This payment can come in the form of headaches, to forgetfulness, or even worse maladies depending on how much and how strong of magic you use. The other type of practitioner is one who Offloads onto others the price of the magic they use. This is generally without the other person's consent. These Offloaders are the type of practitioner that Allie hunts down as a Hound.
Hunting down these unscrupulous spell casters who have Offloaded their magical price is what puts food on Allie's table. By doing so, she helps the police solve crimes and catch the original spell caster. Of course to do this Allie must use magic herself and since she doesn't Offload, she pays the price the painful way (her last adventure caused her to slip into a coma and a magically born tattoo to appear down her right arm.) The old joke is, "Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most." This is partially true for Allie, while the coma didn't take her entire mind, it did take quite a few of her recent memories. Including the memory of the man she supposedly fell in love with, but Allie refuses to give up Hounding.
Being in a magically induced coma does not pay the bills, and Allie likes those little things in life: food, shelter, utilities. So, when the police ring her up to consult on a run of the mill missing persons case, she jumps at the chance. Unfortunately, the missing persons case turns out to be a lot more than ordinary, and little does Allie know how dangerous it will turn out to be.
Ms. Monk has an entirely original take on magic, and Allie grows tremendously in this 2nd novel. Magic pervades everything in the world she has built from the power grids (Nicola Tesla would absolutely love this) to the Magical Enforcement Response Corps, MERC, the newest branch of the police force. Devon Monk puts Allie through her paces in Magic in the Blood. You can see this novel in your mind becoming an action flick.
Some of the questions that were raised in the first Allie Beckstrom novel, Magic to the Bone are answered, but like any good action/thriller/urban fantasy, Ms Monk raises more questions to be answered in Magic in the Shadows, due November 3, 2009.
I give Magic in the Blood an Excellent rating. 3.5 stars out of 4.
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