Magic on the Hunt: Moves the series forward by leaps and bounds

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fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsurban fantasy book review Devon Monk Allie Beckstrom 6. Magic on the HuntMagic on the Hunt by Devon Monk

Magic on the Hunt begins with a cute domestic scene; Allie and Zayvion play rock-paper-scissors in bed. The loser has to get out of the nice warm bed and make breakfast for the other. It’s such a sweet moment, and the two characters are so constantly in crisis mode that we don’t get nearly enough of these.

Unsurprisingly, the idyll doesn’t last very long, and it’s business as usual for the embattled magic users of Portland. And by business as usual, I mean “mortal peril.”

Devon Monk moves the series forward by leaps and bounds in this installment. The amount of development in the overarching plot is fantastic. First we learn more about something that was hinted in Magic at the Gate: Allie’s memory losses aren’t just side effects of magic use, but something more deliberate and sinister. Then, there’s a very welcome development on the Dad-in-Allie’s-head front. From there, we move to the main plot of this book: Leander, the legendary undead sorcerer, is wreaking havoc in the city in his quest to gain a physical body and reunite with his Soul Complement, Isabelle.

A huge revelation follows. This is the kind of revelation that will rearrange the whole series in your head after you read it. I’m seriously tempted to do a reread of all six books — including the fourth one, which I missed before — and experience the story again, this time in light of the new information we’re given here.

It’s increasingly clear, too, that Allie and Zayvion court danger every day by being together; not just because murderous magic users are always after them, but because their Soul Complement bond comes with a high risk of insanity. Three Soul Complement couples in their lives illustrate the danger: two of the pairs have gone horribly wrong, while the third is trying desperately not to. I hope Allie and Zay won’t have to part ways to stay sane. They’re an interesting couple and I’m rooting for them.

The Allie Beckstrom series consistently delivers tension and excitement, and Magic on the Hunt is one of its strongest books, what with the plot bombshells and the increased degree of free will accorded to Allie. I look forward to book seven, Magic on the Line. And, having visited Multnomah Falls, I have to say that — if magic existed — there would absolutely be scads of it there. Absolutely.

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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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  1. I put down the first book in this series at the bookstore when I read the back. I thought, “Sigh, just another typical urban fantasy.” Your reviews are making me rethink that conclusion, and I’ve decided I’ll go hunt up Magic in the Bone again.

  2. I felt that the series sagged a bit in terms of plot advancement around books 2 and 3, but other than that, there are some significant things that set it apart.

    No love triangle–she has one guy, they have ups and downs, but you know who it is from the beginning and their plot has more to do , after a while, with “making an established relationship work” vs. “starting a bunch of new ones.”

    And no vampires! Most of the characters are mages, basically.

    I feel like it has more to do with “if magic turned out to work, how would people deal with it (and corrupt it)” than soap opera.

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