There is always a price: Allie Beckstrom by Devon Monk series review

This series is an urban fantasy taking place in Portland. There are not a lot of fantasy creatures in these books, the main fantasy point is the usage of magic. The magic in these novels is unique in many ways. It is not something that is only used in specific circumstances, by very specific magic users. It is used by almost everyone, pretty much every day. It is used like we use electricity, and is, in fact, used in place of electricity in many situations. Magic has made huge advancements in medicine and other fields as well. Part of what is different about this series is that magic always comes with a price. Allie Beckstrom is the daughter of what equates to a magical kingpin. Her dad, Daniel Beckstrom, created a way to channel magic for the every-day magic user after magic was discovered. Allie and her dad do not get along, and she cut herself off from him years ago. However, since he is a very powerful and influential man, Allie is constantly reminded of him and can’t escape being his daughter, no matter how hard she tries. Allie makes a meager living as a magical Hound. A Hound is essentially a private investigator that uses magic to determine the source of magical crimes. They do other PI type work as well, but that is their main focus.

The series starts out on the day of our heroine’s 25th birthday. She has ten dollars in her pocket and is jonesing for a cup of coffee. She gets called out on a hounding job and her world flips upside down. Someone has offloaded the price of a large amount of magic on a small boy. This is much like illegal chemical dumping in today’s world, only this has been done very specifically to a child. Allie Hounds the hit and sees that it is her father’s magical signature on it. Allie storms off to her father’s office to confront him, followed by Zayvion Jones. Zayvion is a man she can’t quite get a handle on, even after she finds out her father has been paying him to follow her.

Zayvion and Allie develop a stormy relationship, filled with trust issues and secrets, passion and love, magic and mayhem. Allie’s magic is changed and marks her, just as it inexplicably wipes out her memories as part of her price for using it. As the series progresses, we meet a ton of other really amazing characters that are very well developed despite not being the main focus of the story line. Normally, when I am reading a series I fight against the main character developing a lasting romantic relationship with the person I ultimately want them to end up with. Happy, mushy, freakishly in love couples are boring. Devon monk makes sure this is not the case. The world is too busy falling apart to give Allie and Zay much chance to bask in each other.

There are nine books in the series in total:

Magic to the Bone

Magic in the Blood – Allie joins forces with the police in a missing persons case. Filled with criminals, action, ghosts and magic.

Magic in the Shadows – Allie joins with the Authority to help control her abilities and try to get her dead father out of her head.

Magic on the Storm – Allie and Zay work with the Authority to keep a magical storm from demolishing Portland.

Magic at the Gate – Zayvion’s soul is trapped in death while his body lies in a coma. Allie must decide what she is willing to sacrifice to save him.

Magic on the Hunt – An undead magic user is wreaking havoc in the city of Portland and with the Authority of magic. Allie and Zay must stop him from getting what he wants.

Magic on the Line – Dark magic is spreading throughout the city and the new head of Authority refuses to believe the evidence. Allie has to turn her back on the rules, and her new friends, to stop this new threat.

Magic Without Mercy – Magic has been poisoned. The cure lies with Allie’s deceased father, but the person standing in the way might be a bigger threat.

Magic for a Price – Allie has to find a way to purify the magic wells. She may have to close down magic altogether.

These books are better read in order. Especially due to Allie’s memory loss. We as readers know everything that has happened throughout the story, but Allie does not. So while we can experience the discontinuity of the story through her eyes, we don’t actually experience it (as long as we have read all of the books). Also, the storyline builds on itself throughout the series. Each book has unexpected twists and turns. For me, this is a huge part of what sucked me into this series (an into reading everything I could find by this author). So often this kind of book follows a kind of pattern. While Devon Monk still follows the basic guidelines that make a story interesting, her imagination is a vast and still mostly unexplored (I hope) place. Her unique ideas are eloquently portrayed through her writing and her characters are incredibly real.

Devon Monk lives in Oregon with her husband, two sons and dog. She enjoys knitting and has several series of books. If you enjoy the Allie Beckstrom series, be sure to keep up with her Broken Magic series, a branch off in the Allie Beckstrom world, of which two books have been released so far. Keep an eye out for my upcoming review. She has also written what is currently a three book steampunk series entitled Age of Steam. I plan of reviewing these books soon as well. Her latest project is a new series called House Immortal. The first book in the series comes out in September of this year and can be pre-ordered through Amazon. It looks like this one will be a completely new world from the amazing mind of Devon Monk and I can’t wait to tear through that book the way I have the rest of her novels. Devon Monk has also written a multitude of short stories.

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