- Title: Hell Bent
- Author: Devon Monk
- Series: Broken Magic, #1
- Genre: Urban Fantasy
- Format: eBook
- Source: NetGalley
- Reviewed by: Sonja
- Rating: 4 out of 5
Description: 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….
Review: This book was released right as I finished the Allie Beckstrom series – which left me wanting more, More, MORE! So, I happily snagged this one up from Netgalley with promises to provide an honest review. Not sure how honest or how fan girlish it will be – but they had no way of knowing that. 😉
First of all, this is a new series – same set of characters, new protagonist, new series. That being said, you will do yourself a favor if you read the Allie series first. While you can certainly jump into the story at this point, Shame does not start off particularly loveable. In order to really understand the whys and the wherefores and the what up, you need to follow his journey through the other series. If you don’t care, then by all means start here. I am, perhaps, ok definitely, a bit obsessive, and cannot tolerate reading out of order.
Shame . . . on the surface, Shame does not appear to be very likeable. He whines. A lot. He drinks. A lot. He is snarky. Very. Yet, those around him love him deeply. And, he returns this affection – and would defend those around him to the death – and he has. But, Shame’s deepest problem is that he wants to suck the life out of everything around him. Literally. That is what it means to be a death magic users in this world. Yet, Shame loves those around him too much to do so – so he is at war with his very nature. Once you understand this about him, it makes his quirks and foibles much easier to understand and accept.
This story is composed of mysteries. Why is the government looking for magic breakers (i.e. ‘soul complements’)? Who is killing people? Who is following Shame and/or Terric? Where is Davy? Who is Jeremy? And what does he really want with Terric? We are given a few clues to unravel a few of these, but by no means all of them. In fact, not all of them are resolved here – for it is a duology: another book will, hopefully, complete the story. But, it is not the mysteries nor their solutions that are the driving force to read here – it is Shame: his sarcastic nature and his desire to love and protect those people around him. He loves deeply and madly – and will do anything to protect. For one with a bent toward sarcastic humor, this book is a gold mine. And, even as I was choking back tears (and make no mistake, this one is a tear jerker), I was chuckling at some of the inner and spoken dialog.
It is also very entertaining to re-visit beloved characters in such a way that their lives are not greatly impacted but we still get to see what has happened with them since last we met. For instance, at least one couple is married and some others have moved out of the area to follow their loved ones. The Authority is learning to adjust to the magic as it now happens. (It is still a very creepy organization.)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Not that, after devouring the Allie Beckstom series, I am at all surprised. That being said, I was confounded by the amount of death in this book. It leaves me in great fear for those beloved characters still in jeopardy. And, I do not feel entertained by tear jerkers nor deaths of characters. I feel sad and depressed. Yet, this book still worked for me. I love Shame. I am still hoping for his rehabilitation and improvement in his lot in life. I don’t actually expect it to ever happen, but a girl can hope, right? I would love to see him happy. I realize I am alone in a big crowd, but I do not wish to see him alone with Terric (who, if you ask me, has other really good options in the story). I really liked Dessa and their relationship, though it was a bit sudden and beyond reason – the actual relationship worked for me. Not sure how I feel about the revealed bad guy . . . It seems a little too easy and predictable.
It is a function of how much I loved the Allie series that I was willing to pick this one up before the second was published. I am usually a complete story kind of gal. I suppose I was rewarding Ms. Monk for completing the previous series before I actually began reading it. At any rate, I give this one a solid 4 stars. It is a very good story, with great characters and enjoyable mystery. I expect to love the next one more, so I leave it for room for improvement.