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on 4 August 2012
**spoiler alert** Overall, I like this series, but I'm finding Allie increasingly irritating. She can no longer use magic without passing out, so mostly she stands on the sidelines, giving her orders and marvelling over how beautiful magic is and how skilled all her friends are at using it. She seems a step removed from the action when she should really be in the thick of it.

It also puzzles me how she's suddenly in charge of this band of ex-Authority members. They are all so much more experienced than her yet, rather inexplicably, they are all looking to her to make the decisions and following her orders even when they think it's a monumentally stupid idea. She's still incredibly dense at times. I understand that it may be difficult to remember everything in the heat of battle, but some of the things Allie forgets about or fails to consider are ridiculously obvious.

The side characters are more interesting to me than Allie. I love Shame and Terric, I love Stone, and I rather like Cody, especially spirit Cody. The most interesting scenes involved these characters. There is apparently only one more book to go and there are still many, many unanswered questions. Let's see if we get all the loose ends tied up.
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on 21 October 2012
Things are finally ramping up for a riveting finale in Devon Monk's "Allison Beckstrom" urban fantasy series. The events in the latest book, Magic Without Mercy, barrel toward a blockbuster finish, as it deals with one of the two major plotlines that have spread throughout the entire series. With previous books, as much as I've enjoyed them, I've read them at a nice, leisurely pace. I had to force myself to put this one down and finished it very quickly. Everything about the book absorbs you and won't let you go.

Things look bleak for Allie Beckstrom and her friends, who are on the run from the Authority (the organization that governs all magic use in the world). Allie is wanted for criminal embezzlement and murder, so the police are after her, as well. Meanwhile, the wells of magic scattered around Portland, Oregon, have been poisoned. Any time Allie tries to use magic, she gets violently ill. The only person who may be able to figure out what's going on is Allie's dead father, whose psyche resides inside Allie's head (much to her annoyance). Will they be able to fix things before a user of death magic is able to destroy the antidote?

This entire series has impressed me with how Monk moves from deep character moments that feel true to wonderful action set-pieces. Magic Without Mercy is no different, deftly displaying her wide-ranging abilities as she follows Allie, her lover, Zayvion Jones, Shame, Terric, and so many other characters that you want to learn more about. Allie and Zay's relationship shines off the page. Allie is her usual feisty self, but she is also in an unusual position: those she has looked to for magical guidance in the past are now looking to her for leadership during this crisis.

Things slow down occasionally, allowing the characters to catch their collective breath. This is where Monk's character work shines through. She explores all of these relationships in a way that won't turn off even the most rabid action-junkie. I'm going to be sorry to see these characters go away shortly; I can only see one more book coming in this series, given how this one ends.

The pacing in Magic Without Mercy is probably the best Monk has ever achieved--not a wasted word in the novel, and the transitions between action scenes and character moments are quite effective. The seriousness of the narrative is also punctuated with the humor that these characters bring to the whole thing, which adds to the beautiful pace.

While no book is ever perfect, any flaws in this book are small and unworthy of note.

Magic Without Mercy is the first Beckstrom novel that I would say doesn't stand alone very well. While it's certainly understandable for the new reader with some effort, I would definitely at least start with the previous book. That being said, I would further suggest starting at the beginning. You're in for a treat no matter where you start.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book © Dave Roy, 2012
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on 4 March 2013
LOVE LOVE LOVE all of this series. It reminds me of a Kim Harrison-esq plot but honestly I don't know which came first, I'm lazy enough not to check. Either way, whilst I was happy to see the plot reach an end, I'm still sad this series is over. Would recommend for those who love supe fiction but sometimes feel the genre is a little....young.
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on 3 April 2012
Wow.....this series is one of my favourites and this book is my favourite in this series. I am always championing it, introducing it to others and trying to get people to read it. I cannot get across how good it is and if you have not read it and you love UF please go out and get hold of the first book.

Magic Without Mercy picks up immediately where Magic On The Line left off. Magic has been poisoned and the Veiled are infecting people and killing them and Allie and her friends have gone rogue and turned against the Authority. They are on the run desperately trying to find a cure for Magic and desperately trying to stay alive.

Even though this is book 8 in the series I still marvel at the world that Ms Monk has created for us. The Magic that is used is so inventive and beautifully described, especially now Allie cannot use Magic but she can see all of Magic. The characters are fantastic too and it has been great getting to know them over the years they feel like friends now. I have to give a special shout out to my man Shamus Flynn or Shame as he is known. I have loved Shame for some time but in this instalment he really shines. Shame isn't your typical heartthrob he leaves that to Allie's boyfriend Zay, in fact he is described as a scrawny Irishman. But he is so cool and laid back, he dresses in black, smokes, drinks and uses Death Magic and is my favourite character by far.

Everything is coming together now in this series building to the last book. Ms Monk reminds us of things that have happened in previous books as she ties up all loose ends. We are given a bit of a teaser from Jingo Jingo about how everything so far has been strategically plotted and manipulated by Daniel Beckstrom, but this could of course by a lie by the evil child killer. It will be interesting to find out anyway. I was hoping for more information on Allie as suggested in the earlier books with her father taking memories from Allie for years and keeping secrets from her and I hope we get to see this in the final book. I was very lucky that I got this book a few days early and I hope I get the next book early too like months early as I NEED to know what happens next. Magic Without Mercy is a totally brilliant book and my favourite of the year so far. Allie Beckstrom fans will not be disappointed and I am going to give it 5 stars.
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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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on 24 March 2013
yet another excellent read! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the series so far and looking forward to what's coming next.
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