Magic on the Line by Devon Monk

Magic on the Line: An Allie Beckstrom Novel

One of the nice things about having a review blog is that sometimes, if you’re lucky, you get to read an upcoming novel a bit in advance of its actual release date.  Magic on the Line was one of those for me, and I was really glad that I didn’t have to wait to see what happened next.  This series just keeps getting better with each new novel.

(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“Allison Beckstrom has willingly paid the price of pain to use magic, and has obeyed the rules of the Authority, the clandestine organization that makes-and enforces-all magic policy. But when the Authority’s new boss, Bartholomew Wray, refuses to believe that the sudden rash of deaths in Portland might be caused by magic, Allie must choose to follow the Authority’s rules, or turn against the very people for whom she’s risked her life.

To stop the plague of dark magic spreading through the city, all that she values will be on the line: her magic, her memories, her life. Now, as dead magic users rise to feed upon the innocent and the people closest to her begin to fall, Allie is about to run out of options.”

I appreciate that Monk has changed up the storyline and therefore changed the stakes.  Previous novels have had Allie clashing with her dad or dealing with the direct threats to the Authority that have cropped up.  Now, there’s a new Authority head and it’s even odds as to whether or not his agenda is for or against the people that he’s leading.  Many of the exterior threats to the group have been resolved, and now the focus turns to the divisions within.  This theme has been explored before in the series, but I felt like it was at a whole new—and very interesting—level.

All of the major characters—and not just Allie—continue to grow and change.  I particularly liked the attention (gentle though it was) that was put on Soul Complements.  These are mages whose magic meshes perfectly, and it’s a rare thing to find.  There are a few pairs running around this story, and the problem that arises comes from just how close Soul Complements become.  Allie and Zay nearly lose themselves melding with each other, and another pairing is at loggerheads because they can’t accept the intimacy of the bond.

Allie’s relationship with her father (stuck in her head as a disembodied soul) remains at issue, but it seems to be heading towards resolution.  This makes sense, as the series itself is winding down.  The unusual nature of their continued interactions has played out slowly over the course of the entire series, and it’s one of the better and more intriguing relationships that I’ve seen to date.

All in all, with the characters having had ample time and page space to grow, and with the plot twists and turns that the author is continually throwing at the reader, you won’t find a better or more thoroughly realized story in urban fantasy.  And in a series that has consistently set the bar high, I think that this is my favorite novel to date.  Magic on the Line keeps the energy high and the plot thick.  Allie is a kick-ass heroine who is a treat to read about.  I hope that Monk writes quickly, because I really want to see how this all turns out!

Also by this author: Dead Iron, Magic at the Gate, Magic for a Price, Magic on the Hunt, Magic Without Mercy, Tin Swift

This review appeared on Owlcat Mountain on November 2, 2011.

Series: Allie Beckstrom
ISBN: 9780451464286
Publisher: Roc
Page Count: 368
Publication Date: November 1, 2011
Acquired: Provided by the publisher as an e-galley on NetGalley
Author Website
Read an excerpt

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