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.
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!
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.