Publisher: Roc (2008)
Format: Mass Market Paperback | 355 pages
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy
Description (GR): "Using magic meant it used you back. Forget the fairy-tale, hocus-pocus, wave a wand and bling-o, sparkles and pixie dust crap. Magic, like booze, sex, and drugs, gave as good as it got.Everything has a cost. And every act of magic exacts a price from its user - maybe a two-day migraine, or losing the memory of your first kiss. But some people want to use magic without paying, and they Offload the cost onto innocents. When that happens, it falls to a Hound to identify the spell's caster - and Allison Beckstrom's the best there is.Daughter of a prominent Portland businessman, Allie would rather moonlight as a Hound than accept the family fortune - and the strings that come with it. But when she discovers a little boy dying from a magic Offload that has her father's signature all over it, Allie is thrown into the high-stakes world of corporate espionage and black magic.Now Allie's out for the truth - and must call upon forces that will challenge everything she knows, change her in ways she could never imagine ... and make her capable of things that powerful people will do anything to control."
I've read this book when it first came out and reviewed it on Goodreads before I started posting english reviews here, so...
Imagine an alternate world where magic is real and you can use it at your leisure... if you pay the price, of course. Magic is a wild resource and it's as bad for you as alcohol and drugs. But the rewards are worth it; or at least some people think so.
Allie Beckstrom is the heir to the company that came up with the technology to harvest and use magic. But, tired of her manipulative father she ran away from home and is now a Hound; a sort of private eye that literally tracks (with smell and other magic-enhanced senses) people who use magic wrongly.
One day she discovers her father had made wrong use of magic; shortly after confronting him, Mr Beckstrom turns up dead. Now Allie is the prime suspect.
I bought this book mainly because it seemed original (by the summary in the back cover) in the urban fantasy genre. I was actually intrigued by the idea of magic as a commodity in the modern world; something you could harvest and sell. Something that used you as you used it.
Maybe I had too many expectations, because I was sorely disappointed by this book. While the world building was solid and interesting, the story was all over the place; it was sometimes, confusing. The identity of the "bad guys" was painfully obvious.
The characters weren't amiable at all, I didn't really care much for any of them, including the main character, Allie. They were all very much like the mass produced heroes and heroines we read about in urban fantasy nowadays. They even seemed one dimensional at times.
Will probably not follow these series, unless the synopse in the back cover of the second book is shiny. I confess I might continue reading just for the quirky world-building. :|