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Review: Hell Bent by Devon Monk

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Hell Bent
Author: Devon Monk 
Reviewers: Gikany and Una
Rating: A


What We’re Talking About:


Hell Bent is the debut novel in the spin-off (or for those faithful Allie Beckstrom followers, continuation) series, Broken Magic.  We loved this new novel following Shame and the new world now lacking the magic that once dominated.

Una was a faithful Allie Beckstrom follower.  She has read the complete series and was thrilled to find out that Ms. Monk was continuing the series (sort of).  Gikany however has read the first couple Allie Beckstrom novels, but did not finish the series (but will…even if Una has to twist her arm).  So, if you haven’t read the Allie Beckstrom series, it’s okay.  You can jump in with Hell Bent.  However, if you want to have the richer backstory, please read the Allie Beckstrom series.

Hell Bent begins sometime after Magic for a Price ends.  Magic has been reduced to parlor tricks, it’s not nearly the killing strength and everyday usefulness it once had.  Well, unless you are soul complements – two people capable of breaking the rules of magic to bend it to their own will.  Soul complements are not common and the price of being able to wield magic in such a way has a tendency to drive the pair to madness.  Hell Bent is completely told from Shamus Flynn’s perspective.  We are deeply indebted to have his point of view.  Shame was a favorite of Una’s from the start, and it is a treat to have his inner monologue.  However, it is a double edged sword.  Shame is deeply damaged by the price paid by magic from before.  His specialty is death magic – he pulls power from the destruction of others: people, plants, engines, pain, etc.  Since the final battle with Jingo-Jingo (from the previous series) it is as if Death lives within him–is a part of him, urging him to destroy.  He struggles, dealing with it the best way he knows how – dulling it and trying to make it day by day.

Terric Conely is Shame’s soul compliment and like a brother to him.  However, there is tension between them.  Soul compliments don’t just have the ability to use magic together in a VERY powerful way, but they are able to merge their very souls.  Typically the pairing are a male and female and very easily lend themselves to being a romantic relationship (as we saw in the Allie Beckstrom series with Zayvon and Allie).  This would be awkward if Shame and Terric were both heterosexual…but they are not.  It would be easy if they were both homosexual…but they are not.  Terric is gay and Shame is not.  This is a source of discomfort between them and we think will be an ongoing source of tension in the Broken Magic series.  One great way to describe the connection between them is: “No one can piss you off like family”.

Let us clear something up right here.  Shame does love Terric and Terric loves Shame.  However, they do love each other in different ways.  Shame loves Terric like a brother.  Gikany and Una believe that Terric has those same brotherly love feelings but wouldn’t balk at more… something Shame cannot give him and feels great guilt about.  It is agonizing to see the pain each feels for the other.  By being soul complements, they are in tune with one another, and it is very confusing and painful.  Shame tried avoidance, but with the growing enemy, they cannot be apart.  The only way they can conquer the evil that is growing is by joining.  Needless to say, this aspect of the Hell Bent is engrossing, pathos riddled, and compelling.

For those followers of the Allie Beckstrom series, we are happy to inform you that Ms. Monk holds true.  This world is not drastically different, the culture and world are the same – only altered.  We are once again reminded that life is messy and not everyone escapes unscathed, especially those who try to stop evil.  Without giving anything away, we were so upset over the conclusion of Hell Bent.  All we feel safe in saying is, Poor Shame.  Poor Terric.  Our hearts broke along with theirs, and considering one half of this review team was not as invested as the other, that says something.  Ms. Monk’s writing and the path our characters took was powerful and heartbreaking.  However, the journey is what matters.  The respect for life and mercy are powerful and we applaud her for those poignant moments.  This series, as the previous was, will be grounded in reality and we cannot wait to see what happens next.

If you want a gritty, emotional charged, urban fantasy, look no further.  Go out and pick up Hell Bent and see if you are not as compelled as we were.

Rating: A — Loved it 

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About the Book:


Instead of the deadly force it once was, magic is now a useless novelty. But not for Shame Flynn and Terric Conley, “breakers” who have the gift for reverting magic back to its full-throttle power. In the magic-dense city of Portland, Oregon, keeping a low profile means keeping their gifts quiet. After three years of dealing with disgruntled magic users, Shame and Terric have had enough of politics, petty magic, and, frankly, each other. It’s time to call it quits.

When the government discovers the breakers’ secret—and its potential as a weapon—Shame and Terric suddenly become wanted men, the only ones who can stop the deadly gift from landing in the wrong hands. If only a pair of those wrong hands didn’t belong to a drop-dead-gorgeous assassin Shame is falling for as if it were the end of the world. And if he gets too close to her, it very well could be….

Release Date: November 5, 2013
Publisher: Roc
Series: Broken Magic #1
ISBN: #978-0451417923
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): Paperback (368 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher

Purchase Info:
Hell Bent (Broken Magic #1)

Reviews in the Series:
Magic at the Gate by Devon Monk (Allie Beckstrom #5)
Magic on the Hunt by Devon Monk (Allie Beckstrom #6)
Magic on the Line by Devon Monk (Allie Beckstrom #7)
Magic Without Mercy by Devon Monk (Allie Beckstrom #8)
Magic for a Price by Devon Monk (Allie Beckstrom #9)

 

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