Monday, January 31, 2011

Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk

In this world magic has a cost, it requires something from the user. Bruises, headaches or a cold in exchange for minor magic, something more painful for more. But some people want the power without the price, so they Offload, causing someone else to pay for their magic. Allie's job is to catch these people. She discovers her next case is a little boy dying from an intense Offload, and she gets a horrible shock when she recognizes the magic user. It's her father. He's a well-heeled businessman, and Allie wouldn't put killing a poor kid for more power past him. She thought when she left that world behind she wouldn't have to deal with the tricky, power-hungry world of big business anymore, but clearly now she is going to have to go back in.

I was put off from the start of the book by the fact that the author hurls a lot of jargon and unfamiliar situations at the reader, but never bothers to explain the why's and how's of it. This technique works to a point by immersing the reader, but here it was overdone and had the opposite effect; I had to set the book down and try to figure out what the point of things were. 

As the book progressed it became clear that the plot was very weak. The author originally had written this as a short story, and then expanded it into a novel. Perhaps she should have stopped at novella, as this book felt bloated and weighed down by unneeded characters, situations, and descriptions of things I didn't much care about (like what the buildings look like- again). Often the story was so lost among sub-plots that went nowhere that I lost track of the main plot. It was also very repetitive, which makes for dull reading.

The writing was often trite, but has potential. The pacing of individual chapters was alright, although the pacing of the book in general was wobbly. The main character rather got on my nerves. She seemed whiny, clingy, passive and unwilling to do what needed to be done when a situation came up. I did like to see a mixed race couple as the main romance. I see these extremely rarely in paranormal romances. The thought seems to be we can vampXhuman, wereXhuman, fairyXhuman, or any combination of different supernatural critters, but God forbid we have our single white female fall for a black guy. It was refreshing to see one where that was the case, but it wasn't viewed as a big deal.

This was an okay read for some distracted, mild entertainment, but far from memorable.

3 Stars

No comments:

Post a Comment