Let me start by saying, I didn't discover Devon Monk in the conventional way. That is, I didn't just find her books in the bookstore one day and think, "Oh, I want to read these."
I discovered Devon Monk on Ravelry, an online knitting/crocheting community. I saw she was an author, clicked on her website and then discovered her books.
And I'm really glad I did.
One of the main things that hooked me to Monk's books was her magic system.
"Using magic meant it used you back. Forget the fairy-tale, hocus-pocus, wave a wand and bling-o, sparkles and pixie dust crap. Magic, like booze, sex and drugs, gave as good as it got."
In the Allie books, using magic comes with a price -- sometimes it's a headache or losing a memory -- but there are always those who don't want to pay, so they Offload the cost into innocent people. Allie is a Hound, the best there is, and it's her job to identify the spell's caster when magic has been Offloaded onto an innocent.
She's the daughter of one of Portland's wealthiest business men, but she'd rather work as a Hound than deal with the strings that come with accepting the family fortune.
The book begins with Allie Hounding a hit on a little boy who is dying from a magic Offload. Allie is shocked and angry when she discovers that her father's signature is all over the Offload. When her father denies it, even when under the influence of a Truth spell, Allie's determined to discover the truth.
But then things take a turn for the worse when a death occurs and has Allie's signature all over it. Suddenly Allie's prime suspect number one, and she's being chased by Hounds and the police. And to top it all off, it's her birthday. She also runs into trouble in the form of Zayvion Jones--a stalker/bodyguard who used to work for her father and seems intent on shadowing Allie's every move. There's an undeniable attraction to Zay, but Allie not only has trust issues, she's got other things to worry about.
Monk creates an exciting world where magic is just another vice. There is mystery, action and some exciting romantic scenes in this fast-paced urban fantasy. Though the beginning of the book can be a little slow due to world building and the explanation of magic, once things are set in motion it's one twist after another as Allie races to discover the truth before she lands in jail, or worse, dead.
Allie is one of the more kick-ass female leads I've read, but she's got a lot of humanity to her as well. She's more than just a kick-ass girl, she's vulnerable too -- memory loss as the price of her magic usage leaves her with large gaps as to what happened in her life, forcing her to carry a notebook in which she writes the details of her day.
I love that Allie has these flaws, it made her more relatable. It was nice to read a heroine that was not only kick-ass and bad-ass, but had some depth as well. Allie knows she's the best at what she does, but she's not arrogant about it.
Overall this is an excellent read that is well-paced, but still leaves you breathless.
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