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I think I read this a bit over ten years ago. The setting was pretty contemporary, I think in a real United States large city, with regular technology, but there was also magic. I think magic was limited to a small number of people, so most people didn't have access to it. The main character has magic, but it doesn't quite work "right" compared to most people, so she only used it infrequently, and when she did, it would often do things that were unexpected, usually more than she planned on doing. While at an upper-crust restaurant (open-air dining, I think) with magically animated statues, she sees a stone gargoyle (not on a wall, but on the ground) holding a chain in its mouth and (accidentally, I think) grants it intelligence and sapience on the level of a small dog, leading to her having to find a way to free it from the chain, whereupon it flew off, and later came back and operated as a pet to her.

Some other random details that have come to mind are:

  • I think the main character detects magic via scent
  • I'm pretty sure one of her peculiarities (and one of the other reasons she doesn't use magic often) was that she lost memories when she did so. I think there was a bit near the climax of the book where she realizes that the price of what she's doing is forgetting her love interest
  • Said love interest was a humorless dark character, at least on the surface, and I can't recall how they meet
  • It's established somewhere in the first book that her father is a more accomplished mage, so she sees herself as a disappointment
  • After the second book, she learns about a secret society of mages and is inducted into them, but all I recall was that she goes to a location out of the city, in the countryside, for their headquarters, and they had some sort of structure/leypoint/etc that could be used to ground her magic so that it has less of a negative effect on her. I think it still doesn't solve all of her problems.
  • I think something about her magic drawback involves electricity/lightning, which is causing the short-circuiting by surging through her brain?
  • I am fairly certain that the gargoyle was not in the first book.

I'm pretty sure I read it as an eBook on an iPad via Kindle and I think it was one book in a series that I acquired as a bundle of books from the person who gave me the iPad (I later learned that the books were pirated, and I have since lost the device, so no checking there).

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  • Was the main character Korean, by chance, and a dragon's daughter by adoption?
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Aug 9, 2022 at 18:12
  • @ZeissIkon: I don't remember them being so.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Aug 9, 2022 at 18:20
  • K. Wrong overpowered magic girl, then... ;)
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Aug 9, 2022 at 18:25

1 Answer 1

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This sounds very much like Magic in the Shadows by Devon Monk, the third book in the Allie Beckstrom series.

The scene you recall happens in a high-class restaurant called "Gargoyle". She accidentally releases one of the animated gargoyles used for decoration, and it acquires a rudimentary intelligence and becomes her protector. The "size of a St Bernard", she names it "Stone".

Allie is a Hound, and as you recall detects magic via its scent. A motif of the story is that using magic causes you injury. In particular Allie's use of magic results in gaps in her memory, and her body being marked by tattoos. Her love interest is called Zayvion Jones. There is really too much going on in the series to summarise briefly, so I'll give the cover blurb:

Allison Beckstrom's magic has taken its toll on her, physically marking her and erasing her memories-including those of the man she supposedly loves. But lost memories aren't the only things preying on Allie's thoughts.

Her late father, the prominent businessman-and sorcerer-Daniel Beckstrom, has somehow channeled himself into her very mind. With the help of The Authority, a secret organization of magic users, she hopes to gain better control over her own abilities-and find a way to deal with her father...

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    The name of the series and the description strike a chord. Thank you. I kept think Illona Andrews, but nothing matched.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Aug 10, 2022 at 0:37

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