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on 4 March 2010
I thoroughly enjoyed this continuation with the 'Allie Beckstrom' series. It has answered questions and explored the 'Authority', a secret organisation which Allie's father had been involved in and explains Zayvion Jones' involvement also. The Allie & Zayvion relationship is revisited throughout the book and Allie is forced to choose whether to trust him or not. We are also introduced to interesting and funny new characters, Allie is forced to face the demons within her (or one particular demon) and hound a particularly suspicious and dark enemy. The book moves at an even faster pace that previously shown in 'Magic in the Blood' and 'Magic to the Bone' and is so far my favourite out of them all. I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment in the series.
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on 26 June 2010
This is the third book in the Allie Beckstorm series. I loved the first book, but wasn't so keen on the second one. But this one I loved again. It picks up exactly where book 2, Magic in the Blood, left off: Allie standing in her bathroom hearing her dead fathers voice in her head. Unpleasant. Unsurprisingly, her father, how to deal with him, what he's capable of play a sizable role in this book, but it's far from the only thing she's got to deal with. After the death of Pike, a Hound who was trying to take care of the rest of the Hounds in the city, Allie has stepped up to take his place. While also Hounding a case for the cursed Detective Stotts, meeting with Authority members for the first time, having her best friend Nola staying with her, getting to know Zayvion again, and, oh yeah, dealing with a stone gargoyle she accidentally brought to life. Somehow. Busy girl is Allie, it works for her.

The book is fast paced and there is a lot going on to keep track of, but somehow it all comes together rather than feeling like a lot of different and unnecessary threads there for no reason. Allie is tough as ever working through her issues, memory loss and all the new and ongoing threats she faces. She is constantly being surprised by how much more there is to magic than she, or the general public, knew. And Zayvion, the guy she doesn't remember falling in love with, knows far more than he's saying. I loved the expansion of the world in this one, discovering it alongside Allie, as well as learning more about the Hounds, seeing them work together, how Allie's trying to help them. I loved Davy when we met him in the previous book, and I liked him even more in this one. There is the introduction of a couple new people in this book who I really like as well, none more than Shamus, who is funny, smart and a trouble maker who knows it, and loves it. Seeing Zayvion deal with these new people brought more depth to his character as well. We've not learnt all that much about him before, but we know more now, and meeting his 'friends' was fun and shed yet more light. Allie continues to grow and deal with everything thrown at her, some things better than others, but I love her determination to keep going in the face of fear, to protect those she cares about and to simply keep herself alive.

Overall, this was probably my favourite of the series so far. It's fast and hectic, but works really well with some good character development and additions to the character list as well. I'm really enjoying the series on the whole, I love the world, the way magic works, it's limits, it's costs, how different people deal with those costs. And I also love how Allie's best friend is someone who doesn't use magic at all. It's kind of a nice break to have her around, because she doesn't take any nonsense, takes care of Allie and while she's fine with Allie's use of magic, she doesn't feel the need to use it herself. She's probably the most 'normal' character in the series and I love that, having that element in the books, showing that it's not all magic, somethings can be dealt with just fine without it. Really looking forward to reading the 4th book, Magic on the Storm, soon, seeing more of the Authority and basically more of everything! Great book and really hard to put down.
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on 4 August 2012
**spoiler alert** This is the third book in the Allie Beckstrom series and you'll really benefit from reading its predecessors first.

Allie's world expands quite drastically in this book. She encounters more magic users, learns more about the mysterious Authority, struggles to deal with her not-quite-dead dad taking up residence in her head, battles nightmare creatures and fights for her life a few times. In between times, she takes charge of the Hounds, goes on a date, strikes up a relationship with the step-mother and gets a new pet. It's all go, go, go in Allie's life.

I do like Allie on the whole, but sometimes I find her irritatingly stupid. She's aware that she doesn't have the greatest knowledge of magic, but she repeatedly ignores advice and even orders from more experienced magic users. Sometimes she seems to do it out of sheer bloodymindedness and the need not to do what her dad tells her. Seriously, it seems like she'd rather die sometimes than take a little advice. She doesn't seem to grow at all as a character, nor does she learn from her mistakes. Instead, she blunders on, putting herself and those around her in more and more danger. Then there are the times when she performs advanced magic without previously knowing the spell. I assume that sometimes she's drawing on her dad's knowledge, but it seems a little bit too convenient and slightly lazy story telling to me.

I'm still enjoying this series though, so it's on to book 4!
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on 10 December 2011
Now this was more like it. I had been having a real problem feeling fully engaged in the two main characters of this series and I really felt I made a lot of headway in that area with this book. Still not to the happy clappy fan-girl stage of excitement that I get to with other series, but a definite step forward.

The story picks up about 30 seconds after the end of the last book, when Allie had thought she'd heard the voice of her father in her mind and seen a trace of him in her own reflection in the bathroom mirror. Well.....she wasn't hallucinating, she really has taken on part of her fathers spirit into her own psyche. Neat, huh? Well it might be if Allie didn't actively detest her father and if her father hadn't proved in the last book that he was more than willing to kill Allie and keep her body for himself. Still, no need to panic...

Already this new development was a more promising start, right from page one. And the improvements kept coming. We got to see Allie and Zayvion go out on their first proper date (three books in and after sleeping together- hey, better late than never, right?) And I really enjoyed these scenes. Zayvion is finally answering some of Allie's questions now that she knows who he works for and they tentatively discussed the future and what it means to be sole compliments.

Then we get a whole bunch of new characters to sink our teeth into. The lovable Irish rogue Shamus (Shame) Flynn, a gargoyle called Stone and the bitchy ex-girlfriend, Chase, who just has to be gorgeous, doesn't she? I know, sodding typical. I loved all of these new additions and they helped me appreciate the two MC's as I watched them interact with them.

We also got to know more of the members of the Pack- the group of Hounds Pike left Allie in charge of in the last book- and I really like Davey who she has appointed her assistant/second in command.

All in all, this was a vast improvement on the first two books and I hope the trend continues or at least maintains.
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on 18 May 2011
*******THERE WILL BE SPOILERS******** Not so much of this novel, but definitely of the last one.

And you better have read the previous novel before you read this one as the storyline is a direct continuation of the climax of "Magic In The Blood", the second novel in the Allie Beckstrom series. And the climax of the previous novel didn't work, because while Frank Gordon is dead, and while her father body has been recovered and is to be buried, he's still not gone.

Allie is a Hound, she is able to detect and track magic through her olfactory senses, and she is unique in her world in that she can also store magic in her bones, her use of magic has also scarred her with bizarre tattoos that allow her to tap this store of magic. And while her life has become a mess, lately it has become more chaotic than usual, as in the last couple of books, her father has been murdered, she has inherited his business empire, she's become a target for his enemies, and her wild talents have become even more wilder. And she has fallen in love and lust with the hunky Zayvion Jones, and has had that memory wiped from her mind. This is because the use of magic extracts a physical and mental toll from all those that use it, the more extreme the use, the more extreme the abuse. When she saved her lover from death in "Magic In The Bone" she is put into a coma, and in "Magic In The Blood" she is rebuilding her life, especially her affair with Zayvion Jones.

She has also taken over the operations of Pike's Hounds now that fellow Hound Pike has been murdered. Allie's life becomes even more complicated when a magically created demon called a necromorph has its sights on killing what is left of Daniel Beckstrom, which inhabiting Allie's mind, and if it has to kill Allie to do that, well. . .

And to top it all off she has come to the attention of The Authority, a group of extremely skilled magic users whose job it is to keep the balance of magic in the world on an even keel. Things go from complicated to bad, to worse when Davy Silvers, her second in command over at Pike's Hounds, comes to her with a problem. His ex, Tomi Nowlan has fallen in with the wrong crowd and is in deep trouble, and this trouble effects not only The Authority but Allie, and this trouble is going to get messy.

That said, Allie is given a choice to either become one of the Authority or to be "Closed" by one of the Authority's foot soldiers, one of whom is Zeyvion, another is Chase who is an extremely powerful magic user, and Zeyvion's ex-lover who has taken an extremely powerful hatred towards Allie.

Giving in to pressure, and prudence, Allie decides to become less a wild talent and to try to get her life in order through the Authority. The only trouble is that her future is entrusted to Maeve Flynn, a feisty Irish redhead whose husband was murdered by Allie's Dad, and whose son Shamus practices death magic under the powerful Jingo Jingo, who is somehow tied into Tomi's problems, which involve the destruction of The Authority.

As Allie slowly starts getting her life into order with this book, she realizes she's going to have to stop being a lone wolf. She's not only going to have to deal with the previously mentioned incidents, but she's also learning she's about to be a step-sister. She's also obtained a (don't ask) loyal pet gargoyle, and reignites her love affair with Zeyvion, which includes a hot shower scene that must have been fun for Ms. Monk to research.

Then as if to derail everything, Chase talks The Authority into giving Allie a life or death test, which she must pass or she will be closed. And, oh yes, there's the almost the end of the world (although if the world really ended, there wouldn't be a fourth volume in this series). And there's much more, as Monk keeps the story moving, and keeps it full of interesting characters and action, as she constantly reinvents and refines her Allieverse.

With this novel Monk draws less from the pulp crime novel, as she did in the last two, and more from sources like comic book serials, the internecine warfare of the Nakita series, and mixes it with modern urban fantasy, adventure, science fiction (the world building elements), erotica, action, and the occult superhero genres. Monk gives us two (TWO!) exciting climaxing endings, the first seemingly influenced by manga, the second in which the world almost ends seemingly influenced by American superhero comics, and comes close to being epic. Monk doesn't miss an opportunity to make this an entertaining read, and while fans of "serious fantasy fiction" will look upon this with disdain, I don't care, I loved it.

While Monk is becoming a better writer with each novel, she also has several continuing themes that she continues to include in her novels. The first is at least one great cinematic scene, another is that with progress comes pain, nothing comes for free; another is the breaking of one vulnerable person in each story, whether it be the already broken Cody The Hand in "Magic In The Bone", Pike's granddaughter in 'The Sweet Smell Of Cherries' in the anthology "Crime Spells", or Tomi in this novel. And she continues to equate the use of magic with the addiction to drugs. These are gritty hard-boiled urban fantasy fictions, but they are not without their optimism, and with each one we see a growth in the perpetually cynically snarky Allie, as she acts less and less like a petulant lone wolf child with daddy issues, and becomes more and more of a responsible adult. She becomes more willing to not ONLY help, but to be able to TAKE help from others. Still, some things hopefully will never change, and that is Allie's cynical snarkyness, and her inner independence. Which is part of her charm, because as she describes herself in one scene "I was nothing if not one stubborn bitch" (p 308).

For this site I have reviewed the previous Allie Beckstom appearances:

'The Sweet Smell Of Cherries' a short story in the anthology Crime Spells.

The novels:

1.) Magic to the Bone
2.) Magic in the Blood (Allie Beckstrom Novels) (Which is a sequel to 'The Sweet Smell Of Cherries'.)
4.) Magic on the Storm (Allie Beckstrom Novels)
5.) Magic at the Gate (Allie Beckstrom Novels)
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on 30 May 2013
This book was fast paced, full of action, adventure and romance. All set in the supernatural world of magic. I couldn't put the book down and can't wait for the next. I love the characters
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on 30 July 2013
brilliant read - magic, suspense, romance - what more could a fantasy reader need! Have throughly enjoyed this series of novels can't wait to read the next one.
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on 7 June 2013
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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on 11 March 2013
Keeps your attention all the way to the end and eager for next book. Love the new characters in book and look forward to meeting some again
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on 12 February 2013
Enjoyable read, enjoyable enough to purchase the whole series and hope that Allie Beckstrom returns in the future, without her Dad!
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