Pros: Allie continues to grow; secrets start to spill; stakes get high
Cons: Still too much mistrust and trust of the wrong people; Allie needs more growth
Rating: 4 out of 5
NOTE: Devon Monk’s Magic at the Gate is book five 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 books one (Magic to the Bone), two (Magic in the Blood), three (Magic in the Shadows), and four (Magic on the Storm) first.
Allie never thought she’d have to rely on her father, but without his help she won’t be able to retrieve Zayvion from beyond death’s door where Chase and Greyson sent him. The living aren’t meant to traverse the lands of the dead, the dead aren’t meant to return to the lands of the living, and Allie sure as hell shouldn’t have her father’s ghost living in her head!
Unfortunately, her father is far from her greatest problem. The Veiled have discovered a means by which they can enter the world in solid bodies, able to affect the living. They’re determined to get their hands on the magic-storing disks Daniel Beckstrom and his wife Violet invented, even if they have to go through every last member of the Authority to do it.
“Don’t worry. I’ll let you know if my dad is trying to take over.”
“Did we make a hand signal for that?” he said.
“If I’m acting like a bastard, it’s him.”
I admit, I’m still a little frustrated with how much the characters seem to trust and mistrust all the wrong people. Particularly since sometimes it seems like it should be obvious to the characters as well as the readers.
Other things that I disliked about the middle books in the series, however, are improving. Allie’s oversized trust issues and tendency not to listen to anyone, no matter how much she knows she should, are starting to improve. It might have taken five books, but we’re seeing genuine character growth! I particularly enjoyed her interactions with her father in this book, which showed a more complex side to Daniel Beckstrom.
Some of the big secrets behind what’s going on have started to spill, regarding who’s in league with whom, who murdered whom and why, and so on. It adds a nice dash of anticipation and tension to the plot, and helps to clear up at least some of the confusing and shifting alliances of the last book.
The stakes get higher and higher in Magic at the Gate. We aren’t talking single lives any more; we’re talking whole groups, major secrets, maybe even the fate of the entire city. Again, it ratchets up the tension nicely.
Although I had some real issues with books three and four, book five seems to start a climb back up toward the fantastic story of book one. Hopefully the series will continue this way!