Pros: Fantastic world-building; imaginative story that goes fascinating places; Allie is ever-so-slightly learning; wonderful magical battles
Cons: Allie is still too pig-headed; good guys are too slow to figure out that the bad guys are corrupt; confusing alliances; a couple of seemingly dropped subplots
Rating: 3 out of 5
NOTE: Devon Monk’s Magic on the Storm is book four of the Allie Beckstrom series. It’s a series with a very strong plot arc, so make sure you read it in order. Also, it will be impossible to avoid giving away details or hints about previous books in this review, so be warned. Check out our reviews of book one (Magic to the Bone), book two (Magic in the Blood), and book three (Magic in the Shadows) first.
There’s a wild magic storm bearing down on Portland, larger than anyone has seen before. It causes magic to ebb and then return in an unstable, destructive rush. Right now, Allie’s mostly concerned with surviving the storm, and helping her friends to do the same. She’s going to have bigger problems than that, however, when she realizes the insane plans some people have to try to use the storm’s power. The Authority is the only body of magic users capable of protecting the city, but it’s about to crack apart beneath the pressure of long-standing differences and rivalries.
If the world-building in this series wasn’t so amazing, and it didn’t have a handful of really fun characters and plots, I’d have given this installment a 2 instead of a 3 out of 5. I will go ahead and say that I’ve already read the next two books after this and that they do improve, particularly in book six, so if you like the series in general but have been frustrated with the last book or two, I believe it’s worth continuing.
I found the shifting alliances in Magic on the Storm too confusing, especially during the climactic, heart-stopping battle. On the other hand, Devon Monk has a real knack for depicting magical battles in a way that makes them visually intense, adrenalizing, and fascinating, which can be difficult. Allie was also too slow to notice highly suspicious behavior on various characters’ parts, once again, resulting in people failing to recognize pretty obvious bad guys.
Allie is finally starting to learn a little with respect to her pig-headedness; she and her father actually worked together to achieve things a few times, for example. And of course, I still love Stone and Shamus in particular, as well as some of the other characters.
There are some surprising plot developments, but other minor plot threads felt as though they got dropped somewhere during the book (they do eventually get picked up in a later book, but it didn’t prevent this one from feeling a bit off).
Definitely the middle few books of the series hit the low point, but the beginning blew me away, later material improves, and the world-building never stops hitting it out of the park. So if you enjoyed the first book or two, then I recommend hanging in there.