Pros: Tense, with great payoffs
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Magic for a Price is the ninth novel in the “Allie Beckstrom” series by Devon Monk, and it reads like it may well be the last–I guess we’ll see! The first book in the series, Magic to the Bone, blew me away. There was a bit of a slump after that–it’s great that Allie has flaws such as her intense stubbornness, but for the span of a couple of books she was so stubborn she kept putting people in danger, and she just wasn’t learning from her mistakes, which grew very frustrating. Finally she started to grow as a character (without losing her flaws altogether–nicely done) and things picked back up again. Magic for a Price is almost as good as the first book, and better than all the ones that came between.
Allie’s world seems to be coming to an end. The spirits of two long-dead magic users are attempting to take control of all magic. The magic in Portland has been poisoned and is killing people, and it’s possible that poison could spread to the rest of the world. Using magic makes Allie violently ill; she can’t trust the spirit of her dead father (which is possessing a corner of her mind); and the forces of the greatest group of magic users in the world have been turned against her and her friends.
Magic for a Price is a grand, sweeping finale to the various plots of the “Allie Beckstrom” series. Do make sure that you’ve read the rest of the series, because obviously book nine is not where you want to jump in! (Especially if I’m guessing right and it is the series finale.) The book does leave a few threads untied, which not all readers will be happy about, but I personally don’t need to have everything wrapped up in a bow. I found the book quite satisfying, and felt that the most important things got resolved. The payoff for for continuing through the mid-series slump is great.
There’s plenty of action packed into this novel, and it’s gripping and tense. I was riveted to the page throughout all of the machinations and battles. Allie has truly come into her own, but is still a nicely flawed character. I even shed a few tears, and that’s a good sign that I’m connecting emotionally with a novel.
There are plenty of twists, turns, and shifting alliances in Magic for a Price. The secondary characters put on a good show, and we get plenty of satisfaction out of their resolutions as well. All in all, a worthy successor to the promise of the first books.
All we had was us.
Well, and cookies.