Magic to the Bone [Book Review]

Magic to the Bone is the best Urban Fantasy I’ve read in ages. Buy it now. This as another one of my impulse buys. If it weren’t for the quote on the cover from Patricia Briggs I wouldn’t have bothered, but I really respect Patricia’s writing and, of this book, she said “Loved It. Fiendishly Original.” I couldn’t agree more. The book is set in an alternate world where magic has been discovered, harnessed, and commoditized just like electricity. According to the jacket,

“Everything has a cost. And every act of magic exacts a price from its user maybe a two-day migraine…But some people want to use magic without paying, and they Offload the cost onto innocents. When that happens, it falls to a Hound to identify the spell’s caster - and Allison Beckstrom’s the best there is.”

Just to add a little twist, Devon Monk (the author) has added the minor problem that when our heroine casts she sometimes looses a piece of her memory. The bigger the spell the bigger the chance of a bigger memory loss. Initially it serves as a mechanism to help give the character a little depth by way of watching her handle the fact that she’s missing random pieces of her life, and many times you’re not sure if her claims of having not done things, like meeting her most recent step-mother, are true, or if she’s just lost the memory of it. And in the end her memory loss serves to as the basis of a wonderful epilogue, and a new beginning. Devon’s made Allison a strong woman who’s very believable and filled with very human failings like self doubt, claustrophobia, and a tendency to jump into bed too quickly with guys she knows too little about. And I like that things like her claustrophobia aren’t used as plot devices. They’re simply pieces of her character. The wonderful thing about the characters in this books is their believability. In many books, especially in this genre, you can easily figure out the overdone stereotyped personality driving each character and know exactly how they’re going to react to everything long before they do. But, in Devon’s world the people are more like the random people in each of our lives. People who rarely fit into any obvious stereotype. Now, I won’t claim that the book is totally unpredictable, but I must admit, that while I knew what was going to happen, it wasn’t clear until the end why it was going to happen or how everyone tied together. When I buy an urban fantasy I’m paying for an enjoyable escape into a world that’s filled with interesting people, and a bit of excitement, and Devon delivers. How good is this? This is, without a doubt, one of the best urban fantasy books I own. I’ve just pre-ordered the second one, and if I lost the first I would buy it all over again without hesitation.