Tag Archives: Allie Beckstrom

Monk, Devon: Magic Without Mercy (Allie Beckstrom) (2012)

Cover art by Larry Rostant

I think this is my favorite Allie Beckstrom cover thus far. There is something about the atmosphere in it.

Devon Monk keeps on writing well. As a reader, following Allie’s journey from lonerhood to a leadership position among her friends has been a fun ride. Monk has managed to keep her characters alive without slowing down the pace of the novels.

Things are really moving along now. The Authority has officially decided to go for Allie. All of her friends and near-friends have to make a choice as to who to follow. Because they are rebels, we know what the choice will be. But their fight to overcome the opposition while at the same time figuring out how to battle the magic plague is going to challenge all of their abilities.

Allie is affected by the magic plague. Whenever she pulls it in she gets sick and ghosts turn up. Ghost magnet is what she is. She and her father have come to an arrangement – that sounds really weird considering their co-habitation. Anyways. Zayvion still loves her and Shame is her best friend. Shame and Terric still haven’t come to terms with what they are, or rather Shame hasn’t quite. He would go down fighting.

Jingo-Jingo is his same old creepy self. Mwah, hah, hah. A regular old Dracula is what he is. Eli is/was a bad guy – or maybe we could say a guy with very special interests. But he is important to the game, so Shame and Zayvion are stuck with him.

I look forward to reading the conclusion. As long as Devon Monk keeps the quality of her work at the level that it has been, then I have something to look forward to.


My reviews for books 1 (Magic to the Bone), 2 (Magic in the Blood), 3 (Magic in the Shadows), 4 (Magic on the Storm), 5 (Magic at the Gate), 6 (Magic on the Hunt) and 7 (Magic on the Line)

Monk, Devon: Magic on the Line (Allie Beckstrom) (2011)

Cover art by Larry Rostant

I wonder if they used the same method for Devon Monk’s covers as they have for Jean Johnson. Jean Johnson was kind enough to explain that her publishers had gotten the photographer and model together for a session and taken tons of pictures. Pictures from this session are what the publisher uses to design the covers. I know Devon Monk has some say in the design of her covers. You will usually find some kind of reference to Portland on the cover.

It really is too bad, but we are getting closer to an ending. Two more books to go and there we will be. I’ve grown to care about our Allie. She knows that what she does has consequences, yet she goes ahead anyway. I guess paying the price for magic for so long has made her willing to pay the price for other choices as well.

There are two other characters that I have enjoyed thoroughly. These are Shame and strangely enough Stone. Stone the gargoyle.

The new leader of the Authority, Bartholemew Wray, is not a fan of Allie and her gang of followers. If he could get away with closing the lot of them, he would. Allie certainly does not trust Bartholemew. This makes for a conflict-filled situation for Allie, and some of her choices will affect those she cares most for.

Her Hounds are loyal to Allie to an extent that she had not expected of such loners. They are doing their best to protect her because they see a good thing they simply cannot lose in Allie.

I think this is part of what I’ve really enjoyed about the Beckstrom series. These characters are a gang of rebels (with the exception of Zayvion). In the end, he, too, will have to make some incredibly difficult choices. These rebels seem to be more in touch with reality than the Authority and as such they reflect the way I see the world in general. But the Authority had better watch out, because choosing a fight with this gang might not go as they wish.


My reviews for books 1 (Magic to the Bone), 2 (Magic in the Blood), 3 (Magic in the Shadows), 4 (Magic on the Storm), 5 (Magic at the Gate) and 6 (Magic on the Hunt).

Monk, Devon: Magic on the Hunt (Allie Beckstrom) (2011)

Cover art by Larry Rostant

I think these covers by Larry Rostant are beginning to grow on me. Part of it is the swirling lights of magic. The other part probably has to do with how Allie is portrayed. She is all about business and I like that in a cover.

As the series about Allie Beckstrom has continued so to has Devon Monk’s writing grown. I expect that in a writer but do not always see it. Kudos to you Devon for growing as an author.

Zayvion and Allie’s relationship has changed. Their strength, closeness and abilities is making the Authority wary of them. Fortunately, the couple does have friends within the Authority. Two of their closest are Shame and Terric (who are also soul complements).

Given her unique relationship with her father, Allie is doing an excellent job of coming to terms with the situation. Monk has given the term father/daughter relationship a new dimension.

The division within the Authority is widening. Allie and her friends are discovering unpleasant truths about the regulation of magic and the leadership of the regulators. We begin to see the contours of decision-making that might not have the well-being of everyone as its goal after all.

As the Allie series grows in complexity, so do the characters. They are filling out quite well and the world we get a look at is both strange and familiar in the art that is Devon’s writing.

My reviews for books 1 (Magic to the Bone), 2 (Magic in the Blood), 3 (Magic in the Shadows), 4 (Magic on the Storm) and 5 (Magic at the Gate).

Monk, Devon: Magic at the Gate (Allie Beckstrom) (2010)

Cover by Larry Rostant

Magic on the Storm left us hanging there – a real cliff-hanger ending. And that is fine. Not that I have a say in the matter. I might have wanted to knock Devon Monk on the head with hammer for a moment, but that is my problem. Authors can be sooooooo ??

To say that The Authority is in trouble at this point would be an understatement. It became clear during Magic on the Storm that there were two factions (at least) within The Authority. Obviously Allie belongs to the “good guys” (and Jingo-Jingo to the bad).

Sadly, Zayvion is not there to aid her through most of Magic at the Gate. For obvious reasons he is out cold and Allie is not at all certain he will wake up back to his old form. Fortunately Allie is strong enough to handle that. I think she would probably be a good role-model for girls today. She just does what she has to do realising that life doesn’t play favorites.

Her dad’s old games with forcing magic to do his will is coming to bite them all in the behind. Allie tries to clean his mess up but has to fight trust-issues when it comes to good ol’ dad who just happens to be co-habitating with her. Annoying geezer and stubborn daughter.

Shame and Terric are at odds. Just because other people believe them to be soul-complements does not mean that they have to accept that. I mean, come on, we are talking about Shaymus Flynn – the king of stubbornness. I think he even tops Allie in this area.

The entertainment value of the Allie Beckstrom series is high. Devon has managed to create characters that grow and has a storyline that draws toward some kind of inevitable conclusion. While I as a reader might not know where Monk is going with the series, it is clear that she does. I am definitely going to be along for the ride.

Reviews for books 1 (Magic to the Bone), 2 (Magic in the Blood), 3 (Magic in the Shadows) and 4 (Magic on the Storm).

Monk, Devon: Magic on the Storm (Allie Beckstrom) (2010)

Cover art by Larry Rostant

One of the things I like about Devon Monk’s Portland is the kind of magic she uses (well, her character anyways). In a place where magic has become something so ordered and available that everyone can use it for just about anything, what would happen if that magic got messed up?

When Allie discovers that a storm of apocalyptic force is bearing down on Portland, she and Zayvion have their work cut out for them in trying to convince the Authority to act. How to deal with a storm that threatens to take out the entire city while at the same time turning magic unstable and destructive, is something that has to be solved. But the Authority is divided in its approach to the problem.

Having to keep any knowledge of the Authority from non-Authority friends/acquaintances is another challenge Allie has to deal with. Fortunately Zay and Shame are also members of that “elite” society and get to play with people’s lives. For that is what the Authority does. It controls magic and how much people know about it. If some person gets too much knowledge the Authority messes with their heads. Allie hates this part of the Authority but has little choice in the matter.

Imagine you had your dad living in your head. That would be enough to drive me insane. Insanity is something Allie has to keep from happening all the while trying to be the one in charge of herself. Both she and her father are incredibly stubborn people and Daniel Beckstrom is used to people doing what he wants. But Allie is no push-over and seems to be handling her co-habitation.

Another thing Allie seems to be coming to terms (more or less) with is the acceptance of the responsibilities that have been thrown her way. Trouble still has a tendency to find her, and it seems Allie has recognised that this is her lot in life. As a “leader” of the Hounds her charges adds to the pot of trouble. But there is plenty of good that comes with all of Allie’s challenges. Her relationship with various people gives her life a dimension that had been missing.

Shame is still Mr. Naughty. His character is a gem. He and Zayvion are like two brothers (lots of love and lots of annoyance). Time and again we see Zay falling for Shame’s na-na-na-na behavior. Monk does an excellent job in portraying the balm that these relationships are to Allie’s loneliness. It is fun to follow an author that shows growth.

Reviews for books 1 (Magic to the Bone), 2 (Magic in the Blood) and 3 (Magic in the Shadows).

Monk, Devon: Magic in the Shadows (Allie Beckstrom) (2009)

Cover art by Larry Rostant

There is especially one character in Magic in the Shadows that I want to point out. In Magic in the Blood Allie managed to bring alive a gargoyle. Stone, the gargoyle, is a wonderful “pet”/”friend” for Allie. Our block-building dude. I love him.

Another one is Shame (Shamus Flynn), our self-destructive but ever so loyal friend. I don’t know why, but characters that get into “trouble” are incredibly fun. Shame is the prankster of our trio/quartet.

Zayvion has a larger part than the other two – naturally. He is Allie’s second half (so to speak). A lot of the Allie Beckstrom series describes the growth that these two characters go through (well the rest of them as well). Monk manages to give us characters that grow and she explores human nature in all its glory and horror.

Allie’s problems are not over. The voice in her head is not helping her at all. As the series is told in 1st person, we get to view all of Allie’s incredibly dense moments, but also those moments when she gets to show what she is good for.

The Authority is very interested in getting Allie to deal with the voice in her head. They feel threatened by it. But it comes in useful when Allie has to fight with a magically created “demon”. Allie’s ability to store magic in her bones is a phenomenon no-one quite understands. Her lack of ability in controlling her magic makes it necessary for her to get help – through the Authority.

 

Monk, Devon: Magic in the Blood (Allie Beckstrom) (2009)

Cover art by Larry Rostant and Roc

In Magic in the Blood Devon Monk continues to provide us with excellent entertainment. Devon Monk manages to show us a three-dimensional Allie Beckstrom. But Allie is not alone in her three-dimensionality. Her side-kicks also have a feeling of life to to them. This is quite a talent for an author.

As we saw in Magic to the Bone, one of the consequences of using magic in this version of Portland is memory loss. Allie has forgotten the previous couple of weeks – including who Zayvion is. This book deals with what happens when you forget important events in your life, having to get to know friends all over again. I guess that is what it must be like to be senile.

Someone has gone missing. Allie is asked by the police’s magic enforcement division to help on the case. It seems their own investigators are turning up dead while investigating the case.

Along with all of this Allie is beginning to see and hear things that cannot be explained. She wonders if she is going crazy.