Magic on the Line
by Devon Monk
(Roc, $7.99, PG-13)  ISBN 978-0-45146-428-6
****
Hundreds of people lie dying in local hospitals of a supposed flu epidemic, Davy Silvers has been bitten by a ghost, and magic is making her vomit.  Literally.  In Magic on the Line, Allie Beckstrom is not having a good week, and that's before the new boss, Bartholomew Wray, slams his gavel and the Authority all but crumbles around her ears.

The flu is a cover-up story put in place by this new version of the Authority – the secret vigilante society that controls all of the magic use in the world; the truth is that magic has been contaminated, the contamination is affecting the ghosts of the world and basically making them rabid, and the Authority refuses to acknowledge that there is a problem.

Allie's reaction to magic seems to be separate and related to a meeting with Wray, but her own problems fall by the wayside as her friends one by one fall off the grid or are cut out of the Authority by way of Closing, a technique used to remove a person's memories.  Allie's boyfriend and Soul Complement, Zayvion Jones, the Guardian of the Gates and one of the primary Closers for her branch of the Authority, is pulling away in the midst of all the chaos, torn between his duty and his friends; his oldest friend, Shamus, fades before everyone's eyes in the aftermath of a battle at the end of the previous book.

Allie is bogged down by all of the loss erupting in her world, but that doesn't stop her from forging on, digging into her friends' lives and into the business of the Authority, this time pretty much on her own.  Even her normally loquacious father, whose spirit is still hiding out in the back of her mind, is cautioning her against making a big scene.

But Allie isn't willing to let innocent lives suffer or end just for the sake of her own, even if it means being cut off from the people she loves. 

Though Devon Monk has presented us with what amounts to 300 pages of transition to the next book (due out in April 2012), Magic on the Line definitely has her flair for the emotionally-charged drama and action.  A great deal happens in this book, but nothing is resolved, and the problems that are coming forth from Magic on the Hunt just seem to grow bigger.  Readers, do not expect to be fulfilled, but know that you will be intrigued and that you will be unable to stop yourself from reading the ensuing book in the series.

--Sarrah Knight


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