Saturday, 26 June 2010

Magic in the Shadows by Devon Monk

'"Using magic wasn't as easy as the actors made it look in the movies. Every time you use magic, it uses you back. Sure, you could magic yourself a photographic memory for that big test, for that big interview, for that big stock market job. And all it cost you was a nice case of liver failure. Or the memory of your lover's name."

Magic is Allison Beckstrom's blessing and curse. As a Hound, she uses her gifts to track down practitioners who abuse their power, and then stops them from inflicting harm on unsuspecting innocents. Unfortunately her spells have taken a toll on her, physically marking her and erasing her memories - including those of the man she supposedly loves.

But lost memories aren't the only things preying on Allie's thoughts. Her late father, the prominent businessman - and sorcerer - Daniel Beckstorm, has somehow channeled himself into her mind. With the help of the Authority, a secret organization of magic users, she hopes to gain better control over her own abilities - and find a was to deal with her father..."

This is the third book in the Allie Beckstrom series. I loved the first book, but wasn't so keen on the second one. But this one I loved again. It picks up exactly where book 2, Magic in the Blood, left off: Allie standing in her bathroom hearing her dead fathers voice in her head. Unpleasant. Unsurprisingly, her father, how to deal with him, what he's capable of play a sizable role in this book, but it's far from the only thing she's got to deal with. After the death of Pike, a Hound who was trying to take care of the rest of the Hounds in the city, Allie has stepped up to take his place. While also Hounding a case for the cursed Detective Stotts, meeting with Authority members for the first time, having her best friend Nola staying with her, getting to know Zayvion again, and, oh yeah, dealing with a stone gargoyle she accidentally brought to life. Somehow. Busy girl is Allie, it works for her.

The book is fast paced and there is a lot going on to keep track of, but somehow it all comes together rather than feeling like a lot of different and unnecessary threads there for no reason. Allie is tough as ever working through her issues, memory loss and all the new and ongoing threats she faces. She is constantly being surprised by how much more there is to magic than she, or the general public, knew. And Zayvion, the guy she doesn't remember falling in love with, knows far more than he's saying. I loved the expansion of the world in this one, discovering it alongside Allie, as well as learning more about the Hounds, seeing them work together, how Allie's trying to help them. I loved Davy when we met him in the previous book, and I liked him even more in this one. There is the introduction of a couple new people in this book who I really like as well, none more than Shamus, who is funny, smart and a trouble maker who knows it, and loves it. Seeing Zayvion deal with these new people brought more depth to his character as well. We've not learnt all that much about him before, but we know more now, and meeting his 'friends' was fun and shed yet more light. Allie continues to grow and deal with everything thrown at her, some things better than others, but I love her determination to keep going in the face of fear, to protect those she cares about and to simply keep herself alive.

Overall, this was probably my favourite of the series so far. It's fast and hectic, but works really well with some good character development and additions to the character list as well. I'm really enjoying the series on the whole, I love the world, the way magic works, it's limits, it's costs, how different people deal with those costs. And I also love how Allie's best friend is someone who doesn't use magic at all. It's kind of a nice break to have her around, because she doesn't take any nonsense, takes care of Allie and while she's fine with Allie's use of magic, she doesn't feel the need to use it herself. She's probably the most 'normal' character in the series and I love that, having that element in the books, showing that it's not all magic, somethings can be dealt with just fine without it. Really looking forward to reading the 4th book, Magic on the Storm, soon, seeing more of the Authority and basically more of everything! Great book and really hard to put down. 9/10

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