Review: Hell Bent by Devon Monk (Broken Magic #1)


Hell Bent by Devon Monk // VBC ReviewHell Bent (Broken Magic #1)
Devon Monk
Published: Nov. 15, 2013 (Penguin)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: purchased

Reviewed by: Margaret

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Hell Bent takes place in the world of the Allie Beckstrom series after Magic for a Price. In order to prevent a magical apocalypse, Allie and her friends united light and dark, creating a kinder, gentler magic. Consequently magic users were greatly weakened. Only soul complements, or breakers, two people who can use magic together in ways that defy its rules are still capable of any powerful spells. It also destroyed the spells that had been keeping the majority of the population from finding out about magic’s existence. The Authority that formerly governed and policed magic users was left to handle the public backlash when their secrets are exposed.

Three years later Shamus Flynn and Terric Conley are still the heads of the Authority in Portland, though Shame has been slacking off the last year or so, too busy fighting, mostly with whiskey, the pull of the Death magic that became a permanent part of him during that final battle. Now Shame’s dragged back into the magic world to battle a new threat. Someone in the government has learned about soul complements and wants to weaponize their magic. And they’ve enlisted the help of a familiar and frightening adversary.

I loved Shame in the previous series, though he had gotten a bit maudlin at the end. He’s a quintessential broody bad boy—dressed all in black, snarky and arrogant but with serious skills to back up his swagger when he chooses to apply himself. He sees himself as an anti-hero—he unhesitatingly and unapologetically kills his enemies, even the foot soldiers who maybe don’t really deserve it. But he’s also fiercely loyal. He would die, and has, to protect his friends. And he regrets the deaths he caused by accident. He’s bound to a ghost named Eleanor as a constant reminder of his mistakes, though she also helps him out of a few tough spots. In Hell Bent he (finally!) has a love interest—only Shame would fall for the woman who drugged him and stuffed him in her trunk—who brings out a lighter side of him.

I felt like this is really Shame and Terric’s story, so I kind of wished some of it were told from Terric’s point of view. It’s not strictly necessary, since as his soul complement, Shame can usually tell us what Terric is thinking, but I sometimes wished I knew how Shame looked from the outside. I also really wanted to know what Terric thought about the boyfriend that everyone warned him about, who becomes a sort of secondary villain. I did enjoy finally seeing Shame and Terric’s relationship from the inside. Their difficulties make a lot more sense when you know all the history.

You wouldnt need to have read the Allie Beckstrom series to pick this one up. The relevant events are summarized well enough. It’s been well over a year since I read Magic for a Price, so I appreciated the summary too. But there are very few new characters in this book, and almost everyone from the previous series makes an appearance, so having that background makes it a much richer experience.

Just like in that series, I found Monks writing completely addictive. I could not put this book down. I very nearly read it in one sitting. Then I started the next book, Stone Cold, as soon as I finished. I really enjoyed being back in this world again.

Sexual content: Kissing

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