by Terrance Mc Arthur
Details on how to win a copy of Stone Cold at the end of this review.
At the end of Devon Monk’s final Allie Beckstrom novel, Magic to the Bone, magic was tamed. There wasn’t much you could do with it, unless you were a Soul Complement, a pair of magic-users who could break magic, go beyond the limits of its power.
In Stone Cold, the second Broken Magic novel, the Soul Complements are under attack. Two of those breakers are Shame Flynn and Derric Conley, the only known male/male pair (they each died and brought the other back), and they don’t get along at all. Shame (Shamus) is an Irish-American Death-magic wielder, while Terric uses Life-magic…and he’s gay. They are sought and tormented by Eli (a rogue magician supported by a rogue government agent), who weaponizes people by carving spells into their bodies and sending his zombie bombs out to kill–he isn’t a nice guy.
The guys can’t seem to stay alive and out of Eli’s hands. Shame has a problem that his Death magic has to be fed with life frequently, so his friends end up with dead lawns. Also, if he magically sucks the life out of a person, their soul is bound to him by a rope around their neck, which causes him to feel guilty and have conversations to empty air, which makes his friends concerned about him.
Shane is not always a nice person. He does things that qualify as violent or selfish, and he doesn’t like Terric’s lifestyle (although he tries to be a supportive matchmaker). He’s coarse and vulgar, with a first-person narration that has a “take me as I am or…” quality, which ends up being kind-of endearing. Monk surrounds him with characters having almost as much attitude as Shame, including his mother. The only relaxed characters are Allie and her Complement, Zayvion, although they have some tension because Allie is great with child.
Stone Cold is a lively book, even though Shame is filled with Death magic to the point of being Death. You might want to read Hell Bent, the previous book, to understand how the magic ruled have changed from the pages of the Beckstrom saga, or you could just allow the Shame/Terric world to unfold , even if it is a Life and Death struggle.
To enter to win a copy of Stone Cold, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Cold,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 24, 2014. U.S. residents only.
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