Friday, November 19, 2010

Magic At The Gate - review

Magic At The Gate


Devon Monk

Wow! Just Wow! I have been a rabid fan of Devon Monk ever since I picked up her very first Allie Beckstrom novel back in 2009. It was great. Each sequel has been just as fun to read. This is the fifth Allie Beckstrom novel, and there is just as much to enjoy as in the first four.

***I usually write something about the cover in my reviews, this time because of tiredness I forgot. So I'm editing this in now. On the whole, I've had mixed feelings about these covers (for the whole series) The first cover I loved - the arm markings were pretty close to the description in Magic To The Bone. The second cover (Magic in the Blood) disturbed me because of how sickly thin the cover looked. Just about the time this book released I had seen another book cover where the model's ribs were showing - poking out like a starvation victim (not sexy). The cover for Magic in the Blood was ...anorexic looking - check out the face,torso and thighs. Then came the cover for Magic In the Shadows - here she looked thin, almost too thin, but better than the previous cover. In Magic On the Storm, the cover model is looking a lot better, her thighs look more believable. I'd love to see the facial marking of the magic, the ones described in the novels, where the markings touch the corner of her eye and almost to her mouth - I think that would be cool. And here she looks downright sexy - even if it doesn't look like she can really wield a sword with those thin arms. In Magic At the Gate, she's still looking better, less anorexic...except I would think a walker would have more thigh muscle (small detail) but at least she doesn't look like a starving victim anymore. The cover for Magic On the Hunt is looking pretty good too - and even though we can't see the beautiful markings on the right side, this time we see the band on her left arm. What I love about the covers - even if the magic markings aren't represented on her face - is the markings on her arms and her right side. I also like in this cover and the others, the smoke or fog and the renditions of the magic glyphs. Really, I believe that these covers show much better what's inside the novels than a lot of other book covers do. But I really wish that the artists and publishers would not fall into the body image hype of the skeletal women. Young woman especially, and even some of us older women have enought trouble with body images in t.v. and magazines without having to feel like even book characters are supposed to be so skinny that there are no muscles and that bones are sticking out all over. Don't get me wrong, I like the covers, very much - I just wish the model didn't come out so damned skinny. So I have mixed feelings with the very skinny model, but the very beautiful artwork. The model, even though skeletal, does have a strikingly beautiful face also. Back to the review.

It starts off right from the cliffhanger ending that Magic In The Storm ended with - in fact if I remember right, with every single cliffhanger ending Ms Monk has teased us with, she has jumped right into with the next book. And it's been pretty fun that most of the novels have only a 6 month wait. I don't know how she does it - other than superiour writing skills.

Magic in the Storm ended with Allie walking into Death with her father and Stone (her gargoyle) to get Zayvion's soul back. This is just the beginning. She goes into Death, and comes back out - with another change in her appearance. The Veiled are still attacking the Authority, her dad seems to have a second agenda - and what's left of the Authority have a hell of a fight on their hands.

There's not much else to say, with out spoiling the plots of the novel. But once again, we're treated to superior dialogue, lots of action, a few close calls, and we learn just a little bit more about some of the characters and their pasts.

Stone is still in the picture, as is Shame, Terric, Stotts, Davy and the other hounds (although we don't see much of them at first). The other characters have done their fair share of suffering with the fighting - but no body is giving up.

This has a great ending also. I think this might be one of the first books that I don't see a cliffhanger ending to - but there's more coming and I'm looking forward to it. Devon Monk has furthered the plot, and and I'm waiting to see what comes next - because I know it's going to be good.

For a complete list of the series visit Devon Monk's website - there are excerpts (if you haven't yet tried this series, get a little taste) available there for all the novels.

This is a wonderful series, very satisfying reads.

2010 Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge

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