Sunday, November 15, 2009

Agents and Allie Beckstrom

For those who are looking for an agent for their book manuscript, there's an article in the most recent issue of Writers Digest that gives out the names and addresses of agents who are looking for authors.
Here's the link:

This morning I finished the latest Allie Beckstrom novel, Magic in the Shadows by Devon Monk, and found it to be even more of a fast ride through enchanted Portland, Oregon, than the last book.
Monk has created a protagonist who is the female version of Harry Dresden of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. Allie Beckstrom is a tall, strong, brave, stubborn and fiesty gal who has strong values and talents and seems to always get herself into trouble because of it, just like Harry Dresden, Chicago wizard extraordinaire. Also like Dresden, Beckstrom is a rebel, leaving her family and going her own way despite the strictures of the local magicians union, called The Authority (In Dresden's world it is called The White Council). Harry Dresden is a very powerful wizard who tends to get beat the hell out of on a regular basis in defense of others, as does Allie Beckstrom, who has the rare ability to hold magic within herself and use it to do everything from 'hound' out who created a given spell to opening a gate between the world of the living and the world of the dead.
Harry Dresden had to put up with the ghost of a Roman magician/fallen angel in his head who nearly drove him crazy, and in this third installment of the "Magic in the" series, Allie Beckstrom has to deal with her father's ghost in her head,(Daniel Beckstrom was a powerful magician and ruthless businessman who was estranged from his daughter) and try to keep him from taking over her body and using her to make himself immortal, find his killer and retrieve some magical discs that have been stolen and are being used with death magic for revenge.
Unlike Harry Dresden, Allie has a lover/soul mate named Zayvion Jones, a powerful magician who is a guardian/closer and a high ranking member of the Authority. In this book Zayvion is required to pit himself against Allie to test her for membership in the Authority. Unfortunately, the price of not passing the test is to have your memories and your magic 'closed' and removed forever. Meanwhile, Allie's best friend Nora develops a relationship with Stotts, the policeman in charge of MERC, a magical arm of the law, and Allie gets a stone dog/gargoyle as a companion after she sets it free of magical influence at a restaurant. The gargoyle, named Stone, is as fiercely protective of Allie as Mouse, Dresden's Foo dog is of him.
Throughout Magic in the Shadows, horrible magic-sucking, murderous creatures and the Veiled are on the loose, and Allie has to try and help contain or rid the city of them, as well as deal with the alliance of Hounds that she's been charged with heading up after the death of their original leader in the previous book. This was reminiscent of Harry Dresden teaching his best friends (and guardian angel) wizard daughter as an apprentice because she will be a harm to others if she isn't trained. Allie also has problems with cell phones and computers, like Dresden she tends to fry them, and she prefers living in the working-class part of town, eschewing the finery she could easily afford as her father's heir.
I was glad to read that Allie is going to learn martial arts so she can better defend herself against the bad guys/ghosts/ghouls out there, but I believe this will make her even more like Harry Dresden, who is trained in martial arts and the use of his staff as a bo-staff.
Still, I enjoy Allie Beckstrom's world, her refusal to be molded to what others want her to be, and her beautiful meshing of heart/soul/magic with Zayvion, who provides a perfectly calm counterpart to Allies chaoes. I can't wait for the next installment of this series, due out in the spring of next year.
I recommend this series for those who love Harry Dresden type of fantasy novels, with clear heroes and heroines, and lots of magic and mayhem.

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