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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it's still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Magic to the Bone (Allie Beckstrom, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – November 4, 2008

3.5 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews
Book 1 of 9 in the Allie Beckstrom Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this clever and compulsively readable debut, set in a magical analog of Portland, Ore., Allie Beckstrom is a Hound, able to trace a spell back to its caster. When a young boy is injured by a spell, Allie tracks it back to her estranged father, Daniel, a ruthless businessman who protests his innocence. Then someone magically disguised as Allie kills Daniel. Allie and sexy corporate operative Zayvion race against time to find the answers. Magic is common in this alternate universe, but using it always incurs a physical or mental cost, rendering it a commodity to be bought and sold, used and abused. Allie's internal and external struggles are brilliantly and tightly written, creating a multifaceted character who will surprise, amuse, amaze and absorb readers. (Nov.)
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"Loved it. Fiendishly original and a stay-up-all-night read." -- Patricia Briggs

"Fast-paced... gritty and urban... fantastic and original." -- Nina Kiriki Hoffman

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Roc; 1st Printing edition (November 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780451462404
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451462404
  • ASIN: 0451462408
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #743,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Patrick Darden on January 24, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you like Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson books, then you probably have too much taste for this worthless schlock.

Self-described tough girl private detective Allie faints every third page, believes every man wants to bed her and/or kill her, and thinks in spectacularly purple prose like this:

"Oh, sweet loves, I wanted him. All of him.... I gasped hungrily. Fire followed his thumb as he stroked down the curve of my hip bone.... He kissed me again, and the pleasure, the want, the sweet hot need for him radiated through me."

So, is it well written? It's not bad--it's just not good. She doesn't mix up her narratorial styles, her tenses agree from sentence to sentence, he grammar is consistent, she used a spell checker. However, her skill with characters and plot are not up to snuff.

It is incredibly hard to suspend disbelief when the narrator tells you how independent, tough, competent, experienced, and savvy the protagonist is--yet her every action shows us she is not.

Independent? She throws herself on everyone's mercy over and over again. Tough? She faints twice in the first 50 pages or so. She went to Harvard for an advanced degree, and somehow graduated without much of an education. Her profession is magic, her father practically invented magic, her advanced degree from Harvard is in magic, yet everyone around her knows more about it than her. She is constantly surprised as her bodyguard, the head mistress of a street orphanage, and pretty much everyone else she runs into does things with magic that they "cannot do". So--competent, experienced, and savvy she is not, although we are told, assured, instructed, that she is. Over and over.

Plot? Kinda forced. One of those unpremeditated plots where the protagonist kinda stumbles around from one place to another, and then back to the first place again.

Save your time and money.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you find the two phrases in my title annoying, you shouldn't read this book. The author uses them a lot throughout this novel.

When I started reading this novel I really liked it. The world-building, particularly the idea about magic being discovered and harvested, was interesting. I liked that there were consequences to using magic. The story was pretty fast-paced for the first half of the novel and it mostly kept my interest. One thing that kept bugging me were Allie's feelings towards Zayvion (a stupid character name that can be found on almost every page of this novel). It felt like I was reading a diary of an extremely horny teenage girl. "I know he was hired by my father to stalk me, but he's like so hot, I want him now!" or something to that effect was said each time Zayvion even looked at our main character...which happened a lot. It got old really quick. And then at the halfway mark somewhere, they sleep together. Well, I'm glad we got that out of the way, I thought. After that happens the author kind of puts the main story on the back burner (though there wasn't much of a story there to begin with) while we focus on the love birds bickering and flirting with each other. And then we come upon a ten page sex scene that not only bored me out of my skull, but should be used as an example under "anti-climatic" in the dictionary. That was around page 280 something. I stopped reading right then and there and skimmed through the last seventy pages or so to see if anything interesting was gonna happen. No such luck.

As a character, Allie came off as self-aware but stupid ("I know I shouldn't do this but I'll do it anyway because I want to!" is a common theme with her). She's also kind of needy and not independent at all.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
MAGIC TO THE BONE is set in an alternate America in which magic "came out" to the world rather like vampires did in Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse books. Soon after people become users and consumers of magic, much like they use and consume alcohol. And just like a night of hard drinking, any use of magic leaves the user with a monster hangover. This "hangover" manifests itself in a variety of unsavory ways from intense bruising all over the body to a flu that will lay you low for a week. Allie Beckstrom is a Hound--a person with the ability to follow a cast spell back to the caster. Unlike other Hounds, though, Allie is able to house a small amount of magic within her own body. But this increased ability exacts a higher price. After working a particularly potent bit of magic, Allie frequently loses random portions of her memory. Estranged from her power-hungry father, she lives in a hole, barely scraping enough money together to feed herself with anything resembling regularity. When a small boy is almost killed by a spell that leads back to dear old Dad, Allie immediately goes on the offensive to bring her father to justice. She runs into trouble in the form of Zayvion Jones--a stalker/bodyguard who used to work for her father and seems intent on shadowing Allie's every move.

The whole layout of this story held a lot of promise and I willingly immersed myself in Allie's seamy world, eager to see how she handled her manipulative, possibly murderous father as well as the darkly enigmatic Zay. Allie herself is world-weary in a way that mirrors her world, a place ironically sapped of wonder and goodness by the largely unregulated abuse of "magic.
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