Most helpful critical review
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Extremely Flawed Character Maybe TOO Flawed For My Enjoyment
on October 28, 2010
I've read both the previous books, and really love the way the author describes magic. It's utterly fascinating worldbuilding, and Devon Monk deserves every kudo for it. But this book only gets two stars from me, because it was terribly thin on plot, being mostly Allie's squicky internal struggles with the dead father who has possessed her. As in the previous two books, I can guess the whole "mystery" by the end of the first few chapters. And, most of all for me, because of the failure of the author to make a sympathetic, compelling main character.
Unfortunately, Allie Beckstrom is really starting to ruin this series for me. I don't believe I'll be continuing the series after this offering, because Allie just seems to get more annoying with every book. And since the books are written in the first-person POV, it's just impossible to get away from the increasing stupidity of this girl. There's no escape. We're stuck in her head along with her ol' dead daddy, and it is a frustrating, exasperating, and silly place to be. I like an urban fantasy heroine to have a little intelligence to go along with her (inevitably) hot body. She doesn't have to be some kind of uber-tough psychopath anti-hero, like Anita Blake has become, but an out-an-out ditz? It wouldn't annoy me so much if Allie was presented as being IQ-challenged by the author, maybe a little retarded, but the implication is that she's hot stuff on all levels, and she just doesn't demonstrate much intelligence in her actions. Also, her internal dialogue is just TOO cutesy-snarky. I know the author is trying to be funny, but it just makes Allie sound even sillier to me. Frankly, I have no idea what a hot, smart magic-user like Zayvion Jones sees in someone like her, other than her looks. I guess the whole Soul Complement thing trumps all--he's stuck with a ditzy, immature, impulsive, suicidally stubborn know-it-all who seems determined to kill herself in some spectacularly dumb way. And it's too bad, because the Soul Complement concept, and the way Devon Monk describes Allie and Zayvion's growing relationship, would have such potential for excellence and enjoyment for me...if only Allie wasn't one half of the Complement.
Since the books are first-person, it's no wonder that I can guess the solution to the mystery way before Allie. Bless her heart, she just is not very bright.
I like it when a main character is flawed--it makes for a realistic story. But in a series like this, one hopes that the character will grow over the course of the stories, and in Allie's case, one wishes she would develop a little as a supposedly adult character and grow out of her childish stubborness. Maybe all the Hounding doesn't just strip away memory, but IQ points. Allie seems incapable of learning anything, and doesn't seem to want to, anyway. I have now come to expect that every time Zayvion or some other more knowledgeable person tries to warn Allie against some course of action, she will do it anyway and endanger herself and everyone else in the vicinity because her daddy issues won't let her listen to anyone but herself.
For such a promising premise and world, it's too bad we couldn't have a better main character. Sadly, this is the end of the series for me.