"'Magic stirred in me...I closed my eyes, wanting to lose myself to it. Wanting to use magic in every way I could. But that would be bad. I had enough magic inside me; I could burn down a city. And I didn't want to do that...'
Allison Beckstrom knows better than most that when magic's involved, you always pay. Whether the price is migraines, amnesia, or muscle aches, she is committed to her work as a Hound, tracing illegal spells back to their casters. But her job is about to get much more dangerous. There's a storm of apocalyptic force bearing down on Portland, and when it hits, all the magic in the area will turn unstable and destructive. To stop it from taking out the entire city, Allie and her lover, the mysterious Zayvion Jones, must work with the Authority - the enigmatic arbiters of all things magic - and make a stand against a magical wild storm that will obliterate all in it's path."
Set 2 months after the end of Magic in the Shadows, Allie has had a pretty quiet time. She's been learning to fight, control her magic, starting to set things up for the Hounds and her dead father who's possessing her has been pretty quiet too. Allie enjoys the down time but knows it can't last. Sure enough, a wild magic storm is blowing in and it's bigger than most. More members of the Authority are being called in to try and help control it, or at least stop it levelling Portland. They may in theory all play for the same side but tensions are high. Allie has been warned a war is about to erupt within the Authority and she realises this storm may just be the spark it needs.
This is probably my favourite of the Allie Beckstrom series so far. Like the books before it there is a lot going on, with many hidden agendas and you can never be completely sure who to trust or what's going to happen next. I had a really hard time putting the book down, particularly towards the end. There were a few big shocks and the more intense it got, the more difficult it was to put down! I love the magical side to these books, the way it works, the price it costs, and the plots surrounding it and the Authority. It's cleverly crafted making a lot possible, but more impossible. But more than that I love the interplay between Allie, Zay and Shame. This book sees the addition of several new characters and one of them is Terric, who became a new favourite within a couple of pages. He's got a fair bit of history with Zay and Shame, add him to the mix and things got really interesting.
Likewise, I love the growth of the characters, Allie in particular, and the way we gradually learn more about them though the books. Allie has a lot resting on her shoulders already but she's always willing to throw herself deeper in trouble to help her friends, even though she's often terrified and doesn't really know what she's doing. She's capable and learns from her mistakes. I also love how Allie isn't afraid to ask tough questions, particularly of those she loves. She can push too far, but she does it in an attempt to understand them better, to better help and support them, if she can. Allie faces huge new battles in this book, both personal and with the Authority. I like how she handles them, not without fear or worry but with the determination to do the right thing.
Aside from the Authority, there is the continuation of Allie with her Hounds, and the fall out Davy is having to deal with from the blood magic Greyson and Tomi worked on him. And Greyson is someone Allie needs to worry a lot about. The Authority have him contained, but Allie's convinced that doesn't stop him being dangerous. And now that Zayvion and Allie know for sure they're Soul Complements, things between them are a little more complicated than before.
The ending was intense and explosive. It just kept growing with new twists. It answered some questions and left a whole lot more in their wake. Lots of shock, pain and sadness, I felt every bump. It did some nice setting up for the next book, but left with Allie in a place where I was desperate to know what happens next. Another well written, entertaining, intense Allie Beckstrom book and I am really looking forward to the next book, Magic At The Gate, in November. 9/10