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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it.
This is the first book in the Allie Beckstorm series, a series I was reluctant to try. I prefer shifters to magic, as a general rule, and I wasn't sure I liked the sound of this series. But a couple book buddies said it was really good, and they're rarely wrong (okay, differing opinions doesn't make them wrong as such, but, ya know... ;-) ). I'm glad to say they were...
Published on 6 Jun 2010 by Claire Mill

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A World where magic use isn't free...
Using magic means it uses you back - and every spell exacts a price from the user. Some people, however, get out of it by Offloading the cost of magic onto an innocent, then Allison Beckstrom's job is to identify the spell-caster. Allie would rather live a hand-to-mouth existence than accept the family fortune and the strings that come with it, but when she finds a boy...
Published on 20 Sep 2010 by M. C. Symonds


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A World where magic use isn't free..., 20 Sep 2010
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Using magic means it uses you back - and every spell exacts a price from the user. Some people, however, get out of it by Offloading the cost of magic onto an innocent, then Allison Beckstrom's job is to identify the spell-caster. Allie would rather live a hand-to-mouth existence than accept the family fortune and the strings that come with it, but when she finds a boy dying from a magical Offload that has her father's signature all over it she is thrown back into the world of his black magic.

I like the premised that magic use isn't free - you use magic and you could end up with a migraine, sore throat, stomach aches of memory loss. And with magic being freely available for anyone to use the world Devon sets up has possibilities. However, I didn't quite take to the main character Allie. She spends a lot of this book reacting to things and not necessarily sensible. I didn't feel she drove the action much - indeed after the confrontation with her father near the start of the book she doesn't really initiate any further actions, just spends her time being chased and running away. Having said that the ride was enjoyable - I liked the love interest and how he remains as much of a mystery at the end as he did at the beginning. In fact he's even more mysterious and intriguing. The best friend, Nola was also good and I would have liked more on her. Overall, the book was a good introduction to the world and I think I will be looking out for the sequel `Magic in the Blood'...but I probably won't rush out for it.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it., 6 Jun 2010
By 
Claire Mill "Cem" (England) - See all my reviews
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This is the first book in the Allie Beckstorm series, a series I was reluctant to try. I prefer shifters to magic, as a general rule, and I wasn't sure I liked the sound of this series. But a couple book buddies said it was really good, and they're rarely wrong (okay, differing opinions doesn't make them wrong as such, but, ya know... ;-) ). I'm glad to say they were right this time as well. I got hooked on this book really quickly and had a hard time putting it down.

Allie is the daughter of one of the most powerful magic users around, so she's pretty well known. But she hasn't seen her father in seven years, and lives on very little working as a Hound in order to pay rent and keep food on the table. When she finds a young kid who's dying of an illegal magic offload with her father signature, she storms straight to him to deal with it. She's furious and determined to see him pay for his crimes. But within a very short space of time things take a stranger, darker turn in her latest case. Nothing is quite as it seems and Allie suddenly finds herself fleeing to try and protect herself. Allie is a loner with just one friend, a woman who lives 300 miles away on a farm that doesn't use magic. She doesn't trust easily and so she's naturally cautious, if attracted, to the very mysterious Zayvion Jones who is around when she begins the Hounding case on the boy and always seems to be around when weird stuff keeps happening.

I actually really love the world created here. The way magic has (very serious) limits and consequences for it's use. And Allie is no exception to those rules. She spends a lot of the book dealing with the fallout of using magic and she keeps a little book on her at all times with vital details of her day to day life so that if she loses the memories of a case she's working on or something, she has at least got a way to fill in a few little gaps. The memory loss is an interesting twist, because there are times when she loses part of her memory of events the readers have seen so she can react to things and we think 'seen/know that, you've already done this once'. But that's not to say it gets repetitive, because it doesn't. It's just something that does happen occasionally. It's something Allie has to deal with, so we get to deal with it along the way as well.

The plot moves along quickly with some good twists and turns. There is one moment in particular near the end which seriously shocked me. Like, enough that I couldn't keep reading for a few moments. That doesn't happen very often. Maybe I should have seen it coming, but I didn't, and it had a pretty huge impact. I really liked the characters too. Allie is very easy to get on with, and I really felt for her as she tried to figure out what was going on, tried to deal with memory loss and the other effects of using magic. Zayvion is mysterious, but I love his character anyway. He's clearly hiding a lot, but we get to see enough of him over the course of the book to get a decent sense of him. He is a love interest for Allie, but the romance is a sub plot and doesn't really take over at any point, but still gets a reasonable amount of page time. The ending isn't a cliffhanger, but it did leave me wanting more. There is a lot left very open at the end of this book, to be dealt with in the rest of the series, which I ordered as soon as I was done with this! A great read, looking forward to catching up on the series!
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 20 July 2009
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E. Willett (Nottingham UK) - See all my reviews
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The basic idea is a good one. The problem is that it's badly written and the heroine is strangely unlikable - which is possibly why she only has one friend. She is supposed to be well schooled, intelligent and street smart but doesn't demonstrate this in her persuit of the conclusion of the story. For example, she's apparently starving with enough money for a coffee and a bun left in the world, living in squalor when she gets a call for a job. She does the job - taking a taxi to get there, then forgets to ask for her money and doesn't go back to get it. She regularly takes money from her only friend (who she thinks can't afford it) but refuses to take money from her father (who she hates) who can afford it. I found that, and other examples, irritating.

I think that either a lot was edited out of the book or the author ran out of steam as it started well but quickly slid down hill to the point of me considering whether or not I could be bothered to finish the book or not. There was no character development at all but we were supposed to like the heroine (can't even remember her name she was that forgettable) and fancy the romance interest.

The romance is not good. The sex scenes come from no-where, there's no build up of tension. Suddenly they are just sleeping together for no reason that I could establish other than the heroine had had a bad day and was feeling claustraphobic. It wasn't sexy. Then she falls in love with him (and apparently he with her) for no apparent reason other than good sex. They have the strangest conversations which have no thread or authenticity. At times if you overheard them in real life you would think they were on the phone to other people and just happened to be looking at each other when talking.

I'm sorry to give a bad review to a new author. I'd encourage her to try again though as the basic idea behind the book was a good one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow start but well worth it, 23 Jun 2012
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I bought this book on a whim, thinking that if it was good, I'd buy the other seven currently out in this series(I think there is one left to be published). Suffice to say that I now own all eight Allie Beckstrom books and am eagerly awaiting the last instalment in the series..!

This book is built on a great premise - magic in the modern world is almost like electricity - used by all - but it comes at a price. It's definitely what I'd class as 'urban fantasy' and it's not like anything I've ever read before (I tend either towards the 'true' fantasy or crime/thriller types of books). The world is well thought out and fascinating in its darkness and it certainly draws the reader in.

I did find it hard to warm to the characters - especially Allie. For some reason I felt as though I was being kept at arm's length from really getting to know the people being written about. That may be part of what the author was trying to get across (i.e. the characters are very self-preservationist types) but Allie is written from the first person perspective and therefore you would expect to at least be able to 'get' her. It took me at least two, if not three books in the series to really start to understand what she was about and to warm to her. She is a flawed heroine, but that by itself shouldn't prevent the reader from getting close to the protagonist - in fact, if anything the opposite should be the case.

Still, I'd say it is worth persevering. This is a nine-book series in all and the story unfolds over the entire nine books. This book does have a storyline in its own right, but a lot of questions are left unanswered and you really do need to invest in the full series to get the best out of this fantasy setting and the characters therein. Having done so myself I would definitely recommend getting all of the Allie Beckstrom books and getting stuck in - the overall story is great, each book is well-written and the characters do come to life over time.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Magic. But from a slightly different angle., 29 April 2014
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An unusual perspective on the subject of magic. The book was a little bit slow, but since it's the first in a whole series that probably to be expected. I get the feeling that Magic To The Bone might very well be just "setting the scene", and that there's some good stuff to come. Not one of my favourite books ever, but enjoyable enough so that I'll at least give the second book a shot.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been so much more, 27 Oct 2013
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M. Olden "Michael Olden" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Magic to the Bone (An Allie Beckstrom Novel) (Paperback)
Enjoyed this book but it could have been soooo much more. It's like going out for a big mac meal and only getting the burger when what you really wanted was the fries as well. Well written, the lead character you want to overcome but it's just lacking that something.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good..., 3 Oct 2013
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... rollicking storytelling, interesting premise, slightly alternate modern US world setting. I'll be buying more, so worth getting I think.
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5.0 out of 5 stars i can not put this series down!, 7 Jun 2013
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Allie is back again and i could not wait to find out what happened in her story. I am wizszing through the entire series. Highly recommend!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Ok for a starter, 26 Jan 2013
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Good for a starter book,looking forward to the next novel did a bit of page skimming,less feeling more action for the next book I hope.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great but frustrated, 6 Jan 2013
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I love the story line and the concept is great, I found it however very frustrating with the main characters paranoia with everyone, which heavily effected her ability to communicate with supporting characters. This left me, to be honest annoyed and speed reading to find the answers.
I did enjoy this book and will be buying the next in the series, hoping that a little more information is given about the characters freely without a three word question backed up with four paragraphs of reasons you would never have actually "left it there". I did not think this level of cagyness was really needed for book one. Or was it? As I am intrigued and will be as stated buying book two.
I would also warn that there a many, many unnecessary reminders of things.
In all really worth reading
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Magic to the Bone (An Allie Beckstrom Novel)
Magic to the Bone (An Allie Beckstrom Novel) by Devon Monk (Paperback - 13 Oct 2011)
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