This book came from the library, and I will never give you less than an honest review, no matter its source. I do provide informational and purchase links to make it more convenient for you to access the book. I also receive a percentage of the sale if you use one of my links to buy it. And that's not enough money to be less than truthful *grin*.
by Devon Monk
Other books by this author that I've reviewed include Dead Iron, Tin Swift, Hell Bent, Magic to the Bone, Magic in the Blood, Magic in the Shadows, Magic on the Storm, Magic at the Gate, Magic on the Hunt, Magic on the Line, Magic Without Mercy, Magic for a Price, Cold Copper, House Immortal, Infinity Bell.
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Second in the Broken Magic urban fantasy spin-off series from the Allie Beckstrom series and revolving around Shame Flynn.
Do read the Allie Beckstrom series before you read this one, Broken Magic. It’ll make so much more sense if you do. I’ve read eight so far in Allie Beckstrom, and I’m still lost. I should have waited before I started reading this subseries.
It is an interesting and convoluted world of magic in the Broken Magic series. A useful ability, but it comes with a heavy price. One must drain off the build-up of magic energy and control it before it can destroy those around you. It’s best with one’s Soul Complement, but not shutting off the trade can kill one of the pair or drain their souls to the point where they are no longer human.
The story itself is horrifying and fascinating. Horrible for the pain and torture one human being will inflict on another. Horrible that men — investors and government departments — think this is okay, that it’s worth a little pain. The people they use and abuse are nothing, so why should they care? Character-wise, they do some stupid things that horrify the editor in me. The fascinating is that trip to Heaven where one’s friends are hangin’ out, havin’ a beer.
I also, mostly, enjoy Shame’s character, his snark, his intelligence, but I do not enjoy his not thinking. He’s had years to understand his Death magic, yet he continues to rush into everything, grabs without thinking, destroys everything around him. It’s a wonder there is any plant life around Portland. Maybe that part of Shame that is so impetuous is what makes him the so-controlled Terric’s Soul Complement.
The hidden trope in here is similar to the “stupid” one I hate. The one in which a character has this ability but refuses to learn how to use it. It’s so much more “fun” for them to suffer. With all that instruction, surely they must have learned about being a Soul Complement? I mean, duhhhh…
More horrifying is how awful this whole story makes me feel. There is so much pain, and Monk does make you feel it.
Jesus, I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it. I Do. Not. Understand. Psychopaths and how they justify their actions to themselves. How they actually buy their own bullshit.
What the hell? Maeve and Shame’s dad knew that Jingo Jingo was wrong, and they did nothing about it?? Then there’s that transport thing, why hadn’t they warded against it?.
As much as the magic users know about how Shame’s magic works, they sure don’t think it applies to them. I can’t feel sorry for them when they’re so dang stupid. I mean, Shame warns them! He tells them to get away. And they still close in on him. WTF? It does make me feel bad, but not as bad as I probably should. I do have to wonder what eats at Monk that she can think this way.
It’s all about money, and what magic can do. Who cares if people suffer the torture of Eli Collins carving into them when the promise of all that power awaits?
What’s worse is this new magic has twisted the kind Terric. When he loses control, he becomes an alien thing that will twist the world to his will. Life magic is eating Terric up, even as Death magic is eating Shame.
And the tortures Eli subjects Terric to will do just that.
Shame Flynn wields Death magic, and it’s killing him. Eleanor Roth worked for the Seattle Authority when she tried to kill Shame; now she’s a ghost linked to him. Jinkies was Dessa’s ferret that Shame inherited. Seems Shame’s mom, Maeve, is back from Alaska with her one-handed lover, Hayden Kellerman, and they’re renovating the inn, which means Shame got kicked out. Shame is now living in the house he won from Cody Miller, a magic user who had been Closed, split apart, and brought back together when he healed magic.
Terric Conley is Shame’s Soul Complement and wields Life magic. Gay, he’s a Boy Scout who used to be the head of the Portland Authority. Dashiell Spade used to work for Terric and Shame.
The pregnant Allie Beckstrom-Jones and Zayvion Jones are also Soul Complements and live in St. Johns; they’re friends with Shame and Terric. Ramona Jozette is the baby. Nola Robbins Stotts is Allie’s best friend, a non-magic-using human. (She’s married to Detective Paul Stotts who used to head up the Magical Enforcement Response Corps, although he doesn’t appear in this story). Violet is Allie’s stepmother with a baby son, Daniel (Allie’s half-brother), and she’s married to Kevin Cooper, the bodyguard who was so in love with her. Stone, Allie’s pet gargoyle, is still with them.
The Hounds are…
…magic users who can smell magic and track it back to the original user. Davy Silvers was kidnapped by Eli and has been tortured. Sunny is the current head of the Portland Hounds, a Blood magic user, and obsessing over her missing boyfriend, Davy. Other Hounds include Jamar who rocks the intellectual-tough-guy look, Sid who looks like an accountant, Theresa who could be in a military workout video, the bohemian Beatrice, and Jack who is Bea’s boyfriend with a preference for whiskey.
The Authority is…
…the organization which polices magic users. It’s not what it was. Clyde is the current head of the Portland Authority. Dr. Fischer is still around.
Mina is a doctor who used to wield Death Magic, and she helps Terric. And she doesn’t know enough to back off.
…where one catches up with old (and gone) friends. Victor Forsythe was a Voice and a teacher of magic users before he was murdered. Now he’s enjoying a beer with Hugh Flynn. Chase and Greyson are together and happy. Dessa Leeds is the first woman Shame thought he could take a chance on loving, before she was murdered. Her brother, Thomas, was also murdered.
Eli Collins is at the top of the hit list. A psychopath who combines his medical knowledge with his magic to torture and experiment on humans. Brandy Scott was Eli’s Soul Complement. Stuart is a killer on the hit list. Krogher is a high-up government official, Eli’s boss, and much too interested in magic. He has Eli kidnapping people tainted by magic, so they can experiment upon them.
Isabelle and Leander were the Soul Complements for whom magic was broken. But they came back from the dead in the Allie Beckstrom series and almost destroyed the world.
Simone Latchly and Brian Welling were Soul Complements. Anthony was found dead; his Soul Complement, Holly, is missing.
Soul Complements blend their magic as no other magic users can. Death magic pulls the energy from living things while Life magic brings anything to life and may heal or destroy. The Beckstrom disks hold magic that anyone can use.
The Cover and Title
The cover is a range of blues with touches of orange. A room in shadow with floor-to-ceiling, narrow-framed windows looking out over a street canyon of buildings in daylight. Inside the room, it’s Shame side-on to us in a long-sleeved blue T-shirt and jeans, a gun held in both hands and pointed upward. He’s looking back over his shoulder, his eyes checking his surroundings, for you never know where Eli will pop up next.
I’m not really sure where the title comes from, but I’ll guess it’s a side reference to Stoney when he goes Stone Cold in the trap that’s set.