Stone Cold

Devon Monk. Roc, $7.99 mass market (368p) ISBN 978-0-451-41793-0
Monk’s second Broken Magic urban fantasy (after Hell Bent) is so weighed down with exposition that the story never gets off the ground. Even returning readers apparently need to be brought up to speed about a magical apocalypse and the resulting emergency of Soul Complements, who struggle against bad guys while wielding the ability to “break magic into dark and light.” Numerous characters, introduced by their abbreviated backstories, never take form as people. The book careens from cliffhanger to cliffhanger, with inconsistencies draining any sense of sustained suspense. Shame, the protagonist, can make magic “do anything [he] wanted it to do,” but four pages later, he laments, “just because we had all the magic at our fingertips didn’t mean I could heal him.” The last sentence of one chapter, “Then magic blew us to bits,” is immediately undercut by the opening of the next: “In that explosion of power we made our choice.” Fantasy need not be bound by the laws of our reality; a writer can, in all good conscience, blow something up with magic. But she has to really blow it up. Agent: Miriam Kriss, Irene Goodman Literary Agency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/24/2014
Release date: 04/01/2014
Genre: Fiction
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