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February 9, 2011

Book Review - Magic on the Storm by Devon Monk

Welcome to Day 2 of Book Week on Dave's Buttoned-Up Mind!

Today we've got an interesting fantasy book to take a look at. Devon Monk is one of the authors in the increasingly crowded "urban fantasy" genre, where magic and the supernatural are brought into the modern world. You get locales like Portland (in Monk's series), St. Louis, Toronto, or whatever. It adds a bit of "realism" to help center the fantasy, whether it's werewolves and demons, vampires, or what have you.

Magic in the Shadows: An Allie Beckstrom NovelA friend of mine introduced me to Monk's work, suggesting that I try her out since I had reviewed some other urban fantasy. I told her that I would have to do that one of these days, but never really got around to it. Until Monk's Magic in the Shadows showed up on the list of available books from Curled Up With a Good Book.

I really liked that book, though felt a bit lost because the storyline is ongoing and Monk drops you right in the middle of everything. She does a good job of explaining previous books, so you never are lacking information on what's happened before. I just didn't feel "attached" to it because I hadn't experienced it for myself.

Magic on the Storm: An Allie Beckstrom NovelSo then comes the next book, Magic on the Storm (the link is to my review of it), and I felt much less discombobulated. I knew what was going on, I knew what had happened, and I was able to just let everything wash over me. I love Monk's writing style, and her characters are wonderful too. Unlike a lot of the urban fantasy out there, there isn't even that much sex involved, though there is obviously some.

To give a little background (from the Magic in Shadows review):
"Allie is a Hound - someone who traces the use of magic and tracks down those who abuse their magical powers. Her own use of magic has marked her in distinctive ways; she has magical tattoos all over her arms and body, and recent events have caused her to lose her memory, including those of the man she loves - the man who is intimately involved with the Authority, that group of magic users who control most of the magic use in the world, and the man who may be her ticket into joining the Authority. It doesn't help that Allie’s dead father, Daniel Beckstrom, inhabits her mind, trying to convince her to use her power even more."
As you can see, it's right up my alley. I now love this series.

Here's the description of the latest book, Magic on the Storm:
"After two months of relative peace, things are about to get a lot harder for Allison Beckstrom, She’s now part of the Authority, the organization of magic-users who rule how magic is used throughout the world so as to keep the extent of it hidden from the populace (though magic itself is quite common). Allie’s been training for two months even as she keeps at her job as the leader of a group of Hounds, who hunt down illegal magic-users. Now a magical storm is brewing, one of such intensity that it could destroy Portland if the Authority doesn’t band together and stop it. Too bad that the Authority is starting to splinter into rival factions. Sounds like this would be the perfect time for somebody to strike. Having Allie’s dead father reside in her head doesn’t make things any easier."
Obviously this isn't for everybody. If you don't like fantasy at all, then you won't like this series. But it is a great series; well-written with likable characters and a great story that will keep you on your toes.

Take a look at the reviews and let me know what you think.


  1. Sounds like Monk is a master at both character and plot. Some writers have a knack for plot but leave you indifferent about the characters. Others have no real storyline at all (in other words, they such at plot) but are gifted at creating characters so real you either love ‘em or you hate ‘em. Is this writer even remotely comparable to Stephen King? Just curious because his fantasy is about all I’ve read of this genre lately.

  2. No, she's nothing like Stephen King, at least as far as subject matter goes (I haven't read any King, believe it or not, but he's mostly kind of horror, isn't he?)

    She's more in the typical fantasy range, with magical battles and stuff like that.

    But she is quite good with both plot and character. Well-worth reading because of that.


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