Review: “Magic on the Line,” Devon Monk

Pros: Gripping plot
Cons: Ends in the middle of something; very shallow bad guy
Rating: 4 out of 5

Review book courtesy of Penguin Group

 

The Authority has a new boss–Bartholomew Wray–and he’s changing everything. Several very good people have had their memories taken away, “Closed” out of their positions and responsibilities, and Allie knows she could be next. It couldn’t come at a worse time. The Veiled seem to be spreading some sort of illness, one that involves poisoned magic. People are getting sick and dying all over the city, including one of Allie’s friends, whose life hangs in the balance. The entire city is vulnerable, and Bartholomew refuses to listen to the danger.

 

Magic on the Line is the seventh Allie Beckstrom novel. I don’t recommend jumping into the series at this point; the current state of affairs and the roster of characters are too complex. I love the world-building in these books; the system of magic involving underground cisterns, ‘storm rods’, and a price paid in pain is delightfully different. The books don’t all hold up equally, mostly because Allie refuses to learn or grow through several of the middle books, leading to frustration. In Magic on the Line she’s still stubborn as hell, but is less likely to get the people around her killed because of it.

I found the plot gripping. Allie is forced to turn to a less-than-upstanding medical professional when her friend is hurt. She’s uncovering the source of an epidemic, but none of the authorities–secret or mundane–believe her, and she has no proof. Her friends’ lives are going up in flames, and she and her lover Zayvion are having a few difficulties with their respective loyalties to the Authority. There are plenty of tense moments, close calls, and tough scrapes to get through. I’m not finding myself as head-over-heels as I was at the beginning of the series, but I certainly plan to continue on with it.

Bartholomew Wray is rather predictable in his lack of depth, and the further the story touches on him the more stereotypical he gets. He’s one of the weak points of the story. I also can’t say that I’m thrilled with where the story ends, but then I have an aversion to stories that break off in the middle of things at the end of a book.

Magic on the Line is well worth reading!

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