Title: Hell Bent
Author: Devon Monk
Series: Broken Magic, book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Review copy from publisher
"Instead of the deadly force it once was, magic is now a useless novelty. But not for Shame Flynn and Terric Conley, “breakers” who have the gift for reverting magic back to its full-throttle power. In the magic-dense city of Portland, Oregon, keeping a low profile means keeping their gifts quiet. After three years of dealing with disgruntled magic users, Shame and Terric have had enough of politics, petty magic, and, frankly, each other. It’s time to call it quits.
When the government discovers the breakers’ secret—and its potential as a weapon—Shame and Terric suddenly become wanted men, the only ones who can stop the deadly gift from landing in the wrong hands. If only a pair of those wrong hands didn’t belong to a drop-dead-gorgeous assassin Shame is falling for as if it were the end of the world. And if he gets too close to her, it very well could be...."
Hell Bent is the first book in the Broken Magic series by Devon Monk. Broken Magic series is a spin-off of the Allie Beckstrom series.
I haven’t read the Allie Beckstrom series, so I wasn’t so sure about reading Hell Bent, but after Julie from Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks’ review I knew I have to give it a try and I’m very glad I did.
My first impression of Shame was that he was more an antihero than a hero, I thought he was a sad excuse of a man; but after knowing him more and seeing what he has to deal with it was easy to understand his frustration and the way he deals with his pain.
Shame possesses Death magic, a power that wants to consume every single living thing/being he comes close to. He has to keep his guard up every single second, any small oversight can cost somebody’s life, something Shame learned the hard way and now has the constant reminder of his failure in the form of the ghost of Eleanor, the woman he killed the one and only time he left his guard down.
Trying to protect those he loves he has keep his distance from family and friends and looked for repose at the bottom of the bottle. But when those he loves are at risk, he pulls himself together (as much as he can) and does everything in his power to find the root of the danger. Even though if that means working together with Terry Conley, his soul complement, his yang to his yin and the bane of his existence.
On the beginning it was easy to think that Terry had the better part of the deal, having to deal with Life magic instead of the dark Death magic, but after a while it was easy to see that things are not as easy as they appear, and Life magic can be as devastating as Death magic.
Shame and Terry have a complicated relationship, as soul complements they are very close to each other. Thanks to the level of intimacy usually soul complements are couples and dealing with that close connection wasn’t easy for them especially for Shame. Terry is gay, but Shame is not, and he felt he couldn’t give Terry what he needed, this strained their relationship and put some distance between them. I’m glad they were able to talk about it and I really liked they came to the understanding that loving each other, didn’t mean they have to be a couple.
There is an array of secondary characters, some are friends from the Allie Beckstrom series and some are newly introduce in this book. From them there were two that I really liked, Dessa and Dash.
Dessa comes to Shame for help and when he doesn’t oblige she takes matters into her own hands. She was great and I really loved how she accepted Shame without letting him use his antics.
Dash works for them and has a crush on Terry, something Terry is completely unaware of. I really hope Terry can open his heart and see what a wonderful man Dash will be for him.
The villain is creepy and scary as hell. From what I was able to assume he is a character of some relevance from the Allie Beckstrom series. He is evil and bad, but at the same time I felt bad for him, because he’s being use by an even bigger villain, humans who want to weaponize magic.
The story is dark, fast-paced and absorbing. Mrs. Monk balanced perfectly the dark and gritty tone with the witty and sarcastic humor Shame is so good at, these make of Hell Bent and impossible to put down book.
As I said before, I haven’t read the Allie Beckstrom series, but Mrs. Monk did an excellent job recapping important/relevant events from the Allie Beckstrom series, and I can honestly say I never felt lost with what was going on. There was obvious a lot of backstory and the camaraderie between the characters had the feeling it was something with strong ties created after the partaking of experiences and hardships. This didn’t diminish my enjoyment of Hell Bent, it actually only made me want to read Allie Beckstrom series, something I’m planning to do very soon.
I recommend Hell Bent to urban fantasy fans, especially to those who like it dark and witty.
I’m looking forward to April 1st, 2014 to the release of Stone Cold, next book in this series.
My Verdict: 5 Paws
Other books in the series
Other reviews Goodreads