# Pub. Date: November 2008
# Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
# Format: Mass Market Paperback, 368pp
Using magic means it uses you back, and every spell exacts a price from its user. But some people get out of it by Offloading the cost of magic onto an innocent. Then it's Allison Beckstrom's job to identify the spell-caster. Allie would rather live a hand-to-mouth existence than accept the family fortune—and the strings that come with it. But when she finds a boy dying from a magical Offload that has her father's signature all over it, Allie is thrown back into his world of black magic. And the forces she calls on in her quest for the truth will make her capable of things that some will do anything to control...
I have a confession to make....I don't seem to like stories where the author tells us what's going on from the get go, even subtly, so that the only people who don't know what's happening are the main characters. It's frustrating for me as a reader to watch the protag fumble around in the dark while I'm trying not to yell, "Behind you, stupid! THE MONSTER IS BEHIND YOU!!!" I mean, not like I would ever yell at a book or anything. ::nervous chuckle:: Anyhoo, it tends to make me start thinking less of the MC when in actuality, maybe he/she/they aren't really stupid, they just haven't had it laid out like a Sesame Street lesson as the reader maybe has, but it still frustrates me....can you tell?
This was an issue that I had with this story. It's basically a good story filled with action, sex and a bit of mystery, but I felt like Allie, our protag, was made to be a bit dense for the story to work and that made it frustrating in some parts. I did like the fact that there's a price for using magic and Allie pays pretty dearly at certain points. I also liked her best friend Nola, but I was on the fence about her love interest, Zayvion. Oh, he was hot and calm and possibly even her soul mate, but the constant dancing around each other and uncertainty of their relationship got old in some parts. I kinda wanted to yell, pick a lane sister! Or at least have an honest conversation between the two of you BEFORE you jump into bed.....again. But that's just me.
Overall, I liked the story enough to want to read the next in the series, and hope that the series gets stronger as it evolves.
My final grade: B-
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