Review: Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk

magic to the boneReviewed by Jen

This book got off to a slow start for me.  I had some issues with the heroine.  The sex was vague and unsatisfying. But somehow, I am really interested in this series –and am actually kind of excited about book two. I think that’s thanks in large part to a unique and engaging ending.

As with many first installments in an urban fantasy series, there’s a new world to establish. Here, magic is part of everyday life.  But there are consequences for using it. The bigger the magic, the bigger the repercussions. Only, the powerful often dump those consequences on the unsuspecting. Our heroine, Allie Beckstrom, has made a career of tracking magic users who do just that. She is a “hound,” able to sniff out magical signatures and trace them to their source.

Life as a hound isn’t fun or lucrative. It kind of makes me wonder why Allie does it. She lives in squalor; she can barely feed herself; and the magic eats parts of her memory. Allie is estranged from her super-powerful and very successful dad, who used his gifts to force her to study magic. She quit magic school and fell off the map, so why not get a job at McDonalds?  As a receptionist? A waitress? Nope. But it’s something you just have to accept and go with it, I guess.

Anyway, she is called in to find out who illegally dumped magic on a poor kid, and it leads her to her father’s doorstep. I get why she doesn’t believe him when he says he didn’t do it. But as the book progresses and a bogus magic charge is leveled on her, you would think she would start giving her father’s claims more credence. She doesn’t. That’s the thing about Allie. She doesn’t make very smart choices.  I hate calling her TSTL, because I like her enough not to wish her dead. But Lord knows, she doesn’t survive by her own common sense.

Instead, you can thank her love interest, Zayvion, for saving her bacon, over and over again. I liked Zay. He is a sexy mystery, wrapped up in an enigma. I don’t know that I buy how quickly and easily he and Allie fell together, but I liked the dynamic between them a lot (thanks largely to him.) Sadly, I found the love scenes lacking, embracing all that is vague and euphemistic. But the tension between them is great and there is so much growth just waiting to happen.

This world is a very dark one. It’s gritty and people seem to be mostly either corrupt or victims of the corrupt.  Very Gotham.  I like the setting and I am intrigued by the magic system and where our main characters fall in the system. Plus, like I said at the beginning, I thought the ending was pretty cool. I’ll definitely check out book two. Hopefully, some of the uneven pacing I found here will be less of an issue –and maybe Allie will have some character growth. Perhaps most importantly, Zayvion will be back to give up some of his secrets. I’ll keep you posted.

Rating: B-

Click to purchase: Amazon

Magic To the Bone
by Devon Monk
Release Date: November 4, 2008
Publisher: Roc


  1. I read one book in the middle of this series – yes, it was a mistake – and I liked it. But not so much that I rushed out to start the entire series at the beginning. My friend and reviewer, Una, loves every single story and the spin off series, too. I look forward to seeing your thoughts on the rest of the series. Someday I’ll have to give them a go!

    • Jen at Red Hot Books says:

      I ended up hopelessly addicted and read them all back to back. The reviews will come out once a week. I just started the spinoff.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.