All right, y'all, now here's the thing; I read this series before I was on here and didn't go into it with the same thought process I have now. That doesn't mean that I love this series any less, it just means that I can admit that there are issues with this book that I hadn't really paid attention to before. This book has that First Book Syndrome, and Allie makes some questionable decisions, but this remains one of my favorite series.
The story is set in a world like ours, but unlike ours, magic is a real thing having been discovered some 30 years ago. Instead of most books that let magic be all kinds of wonderful (so many times in my life youth have I wished magic was real), in this world magic uses you back.
And I love it.
One of the ways the price of magic use is taken, is by having the inmates pay the price, and I thought that was absolutely awesome! Magic can make you pay by any number of ways including: flu, memory loss, bruising, fatigue, body pain, and so on. Other than the inmates serving their time as proxies, there are also people who do that for money. Then there are people who Offload the cost of their magic use on unsuspecting people.
That's where we first meet Allie. She is a Hound, someone that uses magic to track spells to their castors, and she's good. She Hounds a spell that hit a little boy and tracks it to her very powerful father. See, Allie's dad is the guy who basically invented ways for the people to use magic (storm rods), and he's not only a powerful figure because of that, but he's also a very powerful magic user. She isn't on good terms with him since he wasn't a very good dad, and when she traces the hit to him, it's the first time in seven years she's seen him. It is also the last.
Hounding the hit on the boy is only the beginning in a series of events that completely change Allie's life.
A little information on my girl. She's a 26 y/o Harvard grad, who gave up all her father's money and influence in order to make it on her own, and I love that about her. She's tough, and real, and knows how to work. She is flawed, and makes some choices that aren't exactly the Best Choice Ever, but whose perfect?! I love that she's able to mess up and move on.
Through her Hounding she met Zayvion. He's...something. In this book I remember how I didn't really like him too much, and the reread reminded me why. He does something in the end that I still feel wasn't resolved to my liking, but what can you do? He's a strong guy, both physically and magically, and Allie is drawn to him from the get go. I don't hate her for this, even if she made some bad timing calls with when to get a little dirty with him. Nobody is perfect. I can't say I'd be feeling horny if I had an unconscious dude in the backseat of the car, and smelled of garbage/cat pee/dirty river water, but hey, I'm not judging too harshly, lol.
About the ending I never did really understand her choice there in the end. Since that whole scene never say well with me, and reading it again now didn't change that, I can't really understand why she made the choice she did. On page 349 she even says: "That last part just didn't sound like me. I wasn't the type of person to give myself up to grand, noble sacrifices.".
It's hard to review this book based as the first since I have so many thoughts about the series as a whole, and have to keep stopping myself from pointing out bits that happen in the future, but I will say that if you can get past the First Book Syndrome than you won't be sorry. Assuming this type of world is up your alley obviously. I personally love the way Devon Monk writes, and have almost every one of her books. I love the characters, I love the world, I love the way they aren't perfect, and I love that as the series progresses we see lots of change in all of our main players.
I highly recommend this series to people who like a gritty story (though not as gritty as Stacia Kane's Downside--which I adore), flawed characters trying their best, humor, realism, action, and magic.
Here are a few quotes:
"Since he'd shown me no reason to trust or distrust him yet, out of convenience I distrusted him."
"There was something about that man that made me stop and want to look. Made me stop and want to feel."
"Good things do not come in small packages--mean things did."
"It was strange, but, in a way, she probably held more memories of my life than I did."
"I promise I'll stay as safe as I can. And since Zay refuses to leave me alone, I figure if things get bad, I can always shove him into the line of fire while I run like hell."
"Is there an option C? Take a vacation somewhere sunny, and drink a lot of rum until the world un-fucks itself?"