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Magic In the Blood (Allie Beckstrom) by Devon Monk
Review by Beth Slater
Roc Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451462671
Date: 05 May 2009 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Installment two with Hound Allie Beckstrom begins after Allie’s last adventure in Magic to the Bone, where Allie had awakened from a coma with major memory loss and the death of her father. Now she is having to deal with both situations, as well as several people out to kill her. On the way to the police station to finally handle her father's death, she is accosted by someone she had Hounded--someone who should be behind bars but has been legally released--and he gets her blood...

More by Devon Monk:
Allie Beckstrom series:
* Magic to the Bone
* Magic In the Blood
* Magic in the Shadows
* Magic on the Storm
* Magic at the Gate
* Magic on the Line
* Magic Without Mercy
* Magic for a Price
The Age of Steam: Cedar Hunt:
* Dead Iron
* Tin Swift

People have filled Allie in on the parts of her life that she no longer remembers, so she knows what should be there, but that isn't always comforting. Like Zayvion Jones. That she, a loner who trusts no one, should suddenly fall in love with a stranger and then stake her life and magic for him--so much to send herself into a coma is unbelievable, except it happened; well, the coma part did, she knows. And now Zay is back on the fringes of her life, and something in her just responds to him – something she can't help but want to trust. But when the ghost of her father accosts her in her darkened apartment, she freaks. She doesn’t see ghosts.

After her field trip on the bus, she does her stint at the police station, but is then introduced to Det. Stotts, and MERC. MERC is a department that handles magic and magic users - a mysterious department that no one knows about – or talks about – and lives for very long. But then Allie discovers that other Hounds know about MERC, and know about each other. There seems to be an entire world in her city that she never knew about, and is only just discovering, and she's having a tough time handling it. But when she decides to head to her comfort zone, Get Mugged, a local coffee shop, she encounters more signs of her dead father's magic and more ghosts. But these ghosts are determined to take her and her magic from the city she loves before she can put all the pieces into place.

I haven't read book one, Magic to the Bone, although I plan to rectify that quickly. I don't feel you need to read it to enjoy or understand this installment, although it might help clarify some of the finer points in the relationships among the characters, such as Allie and her father and Zayvion. But the direct give and take between magic and user is an interesting concept, and of course the ways people have found to get around it and the laws surrounding it. Monk has discovered an unusual niche in urban fantasy and I think it will be fun to watch Allie's Hounding and where it takes her.

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