Monk, Devon -- Magic to the Bone

Very few books cut to what should be the most immediate metaphor of magic: magic costs. Oh, sure, we get lots of aesthetically pleasing fatigue and maybe even fainting, but that's it. Not in this one. Magic costs, and while the cost is temporary, it gets you by the short hairs: blindness, stomach cramps, fever, bruising. The best you can do is cast a secondary spell to pick your poison. The worst you can do is cast a spell to dump your side effects on somebody else, and that's seriously illegal without notarized consent documents. Our hero is the kind of lowlife PI who goes after the kind of lowlife who does that. It's a nice setup, commendably forthright about magic as a valued energy source with toxic waste products. Unfortunately, by the end we're off in the land of soul-balanced lovers who are so perfectly matched that the cost evaporates. Sigh.

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