Rating: 5 out of 5
Since I’m writing reviews today as part of my catch-up-on-reading effort with Dewey’s readathon (see my pre-game post), I’ll keep things somewhat concise and, instead of describing the premise in my own words, quote the back cover text:
Everything has a cost. And every act of magic exacts a price from its user—maybe a two-day migraine, or losing the memory of your first kiss. But some people want to use magic without paying, and the Offload the cost onto innocents. When that happens, it falls to a Hound to identify the spell’s caster—and Allison Beckstrom’s the best there is.
Daughter of a prominent Portland businessman, Allie would rather moonlight as a Hound than accept the family fortune—and the strings that come with it. But when she discovers a little boy dying from a magic Offload that has her father’s signature all over it, Allie is thrown into the high-stakes world of corporate espionage and black magic.
Now Allie’s out for the truth—and must call upon forces that will challenge everything she knows, change her in ways she never could imagine… and make her capable of things that powerful people will do anything to control.
Apparently Magic to the Bone is Devon Monk’s debut novel. All I can say is, WOW. Apparently we have another Tobias Buckell on our hands, which blows me away. This book is fresh, original, and so totally captivating that I could barely look away from the pages.
Imagine what might happen if we discovered thirty years ago that magic was real. It pooled beneath the earth and could be channeled through lead and glass. Then we found that using magic had a price. If you wanted to save someone’s life with magic, you’d have to give a life. Of course people weren’t about to stop using magic—with the proper preparation you could choose the shape of the pain you suffered, and some effects were worth suffering some pain. And then there are those people who find ways to shunt the pain onto others.
Magic has always taken a double toll on Allie. Not only does it cause her pain, but it takes away her memories, bit by bit. She keeps vital information written down in a book in her coat pocket in case she forgets something she needs to know—like her name.
Now she’s caught up in the middle of something bigger than she can imagine, and her only ally seems to be an enigmatic man her father hired to follow her. She doesn’t even know whether she can trust him, much less whether she should fall in love with him.
The characters in Magic to the Bone are anything but stereotypical. They defy expectations and truly come alive on the page. The use of magic in here is new and fantastically riveting. The plot is complex and wonderful, with excellent twists and turns. The not-particularly-explicit (in fact, they’re teasingly abstract in some ways) sex scenes are searingly hot in an unusually “real” kind of way, and the emotions are incredibly poignant.
Simply put, I can’t do this book justice. You’ll just have to read it for yourself.