At the end of Magic on the Line, Allie Beckstrom killed the head of Portland’s Authority — who was ignoring a magical plague in the city for his own ends — and now she is a fugitive, along with her lover Zayvion and a handful of her closest friends who have now broken with the Authority as well. In Magic Without Mercy, Allie and her small band investigate the poisoning of Portland’s four magical wells and try to find a way to cleanse magic before the problem can go worldwide. But the Authority is against them now, led by the creepy Jingo Jingo, and a confrontation is inevitable.
It’s becoming difficult to review the ALLIE BECKSTROM books, what with Magic Without Mercy being the eighth installment in a series where the books are heavily linked rather than episodic. If you’ve been reading them all along, you’ll of course want to read this one, and it’s a solid addition to the series. No sharks were jumped in the making of this book. And if you haven’t read the previous books but think they sound intriguing, do not pass go, do not collect $200, go directly to Magic to the Bone and start there or you’ll get lost.
Allie, for reasons that are still mysterious, is affected more strongly by the taint in magic than most people are; she can’t cast spells without getting sick. This doesn’t stop her from playing a large role in events. Here, she’s the leader and the liaison between several disparate groups; one character tells her she’s the only person they all listen to, and he’s right. But to me the strongest story in Magic Without Mercy is Shame’s and Terric’s, as they learn to work together as Soul Complements and make great sacrifices to save one another.
Magic Without Mercy introduces some new developments and some more intriguing questions about Allie’s father, and culminates in a climactic battle with meaningful casualties. Overall, it’s not my favorite of the Allie Beckstrom books, but it’s a good book and adds some new twists to the series. One more book is planned: Magic for a Price, due out in November 2012. I look forward to seeing what happens but will be sad to see the series end.
Allie Beckstrom — (2008-2013) Publisher: Using magic means it uses you back — and every spell exacts a price from the user. Some people, however, get out of it by Offloading the cost of magic onto an innocent, then Allison Beckstrom’s job is to identify the spell-caster. Allie would rather live a hand-to-mouth existence than accept the family fortune and the strings that come with it, but when she finds a boy dying from a magical Offload that has her father’s signature all over it she is thrown back into the world of his black magic.