Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Recommending Devon Monk

So yesterday I recommended a writer who's working the edges of publishing, without the Manhattan powerhouse behind her titles ( but she is easily a match for any of those writers).

That post is:

And today I'm going to point you at a writer who's doing Fantasy for RoC, which has become a dominant player in the adult Fantasy field which is toying with the edges of Paranormal Romance, believe it or not. Action Romance.

This is very much like Linnea Sinclair's mixture of Romance with Science Fiction, only with "Fantasy" instead of "Science".

There are fully developed characters with huge, complicated lives, interlaced into the affairs of "wizards" (the movers and shakers of their world). These are people whose actions make a difference, and their personal values and mores will have far reaching ripple effects. They are responsible enough to care and to move with an eye to that ripple effect.

Meanwhile, life brings these intense relationships that just change everything. Every time you turn around, you're tripping over issues your everyday ordinary action hero doesn't have to deal with. These characters' lives are not as simple as say, Indiana Jones' life, or Rambo's.

RoC Fantasy is cultivating this type of story, which is a genre-buster of a mixture, and it's my type of story! I'm so glad it's not so hard to sell anymore.

Devon Monk is going to be a major player in this field.

Here are 3 novels in a series by Devon Monk, and the first 2 meet my criteria for structure, story, and theme so well I've no reason to think the 3rd won't.

Magic to the Bone (Allie Beckstrom)

Magic in the Blood (Allie Beckstrom)

Magic in the Shadows: An Allie Beckstrom Novel

I finished reading Magic to the Bone and immediately started Magic in the Blood, and don't expect to pause until I've finished Magic in the Shadows.

I'm halfway through Magic in the Blood and still love it, though the Hunk-Soul Mate of our kick-ass heroine doesn't reappear until after page 100. Don't worry, the story doesn't sag at all since you know she can't survive this unless he does reappear. And when he does step onstage, Allie discovers something new about him we didn't know before (by using a Reveal spell) that raises all sorts of alarming questions.

For Alien Romance folks who like a solid science-fantasy plot with their relationship story, this is just the right meter. It's not all about sex. But the sex is not gratuitous. The action plot wouldn't hold together without it.

In the Allie Beckstrom universe Devon Monk has created, "magic" is a force or power, somewhat like electricity, that can be captured and distributed by conduits (a utility) beneath the city's streets. There are university courses in business magic. Science still works. Cell phones die in Allie's hands. The attitude toward using magic is scientific.

You "draw on" magic or use it by the usual spells, mantras, and symbols, but USING MAGIC COMES WITH A PRICE.

The "price" is some sort of physical illness or dysfunction that hits with the rebound. It can be magically diverted onto another person, (thematic moral complications there!). For Allie, the worst effect of using lots of magic is that she loses pieces of her memory. In the second book, she's lost a piece of memory that might include having sex with this Hunk -- or not. He knows. She doesn't. He's not telling.

Allie Beckstrom is the daughter (and heir) of the man who owns the patents on this technology. He had several wives after her mother divorced him. The latest, whom Allie is only now meeting, owns a quarter of the business, Allie owns more than half (but hasn't gained possession yet), and the other ex-wives split the rest. (this is sooo Robert A. Heinlien and sooo modern all at once!)

Allie is accused of her father's murder (there's magical proof she did it but she didn't.)

A man her father hired to tail her, (and who her current step-mother separately hired for other reasons) is a potential Soul Mate, our Hunk, but she doesn't know that. They are magically suited to one another very much like a certain kind of pairing of channel and Companion in my Sime~Gen Universe, called Match Mates.

( http://www.simegen.net not included in the 4 titles I have available on Kindle)

This guy is one luscious hunk you have got to meet! Mystery Man Extraordinaire. Allie has almost broken free of being dependent on her father whose morals she doesn't like when this Hunk appears, and she can't figure him out.

From there her life gets almost as complicated as mine!

OK, there you go. Find copies of these novels and devour them.

This is my kind of stuff - neither SF nor Fantasy nor Romance, but all three in nicely balanced proportions, with a main protag with dire and terrible complicated problems that are as much ethical and moral as they are physical (plenty people want her dead).

Allie reminds me of Harry Dresden of The Dresden Files novels that I rave about here and in my review column, but her love-life puts a whole new spin on it.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg

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