Magic Bleeds Book Review

magicbleedsTitle: Magic Bleeds
Series: Kate Daniels #4
Author: Ilona Andrews
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: May 25, 2010
Genre: Adult – Urban Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 349
Format: Gifted Paperback

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic. When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose.

Kate Daniels works for the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, officially as a liaison with the mercenary guild. Unofficially, she cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to handle – especially if they involve Atlanta’s shapeshifting community. When she’s called in to investigate a fight at the Steel Horse, a bar on the border between the territories of the shapeshifters and the necromancers, Kate quickly discovers that there’s a new player in town. One who’s been around for thousands of years – and who rode to war at the side of Kate’s father. This foe may be too much even for Kate and Curran, the Beast Lord, to handle. Because this time Kate will be taking on family.

As this is the fourth book, there will most likely be some spoilers.

This fourth installment was probably my favorite so far, and that’s probably because of the plot in this specific book and my growing attachment to the characters.

In this book the plot continues to wrap itself more around Roland – an undead piloter, and possibly undead himself – who happens to also be Kate’s father. She knows she has to kill him eventually, and I know that the major overall plot is leading up to that, but the plot in this book is about a plague bringing person who has ties to Kate that neither of them knew about until one day when they run into each other.

I think that the plot in this one intrigued me the most so far is partly because, 1) the fighting scenes in this one are kind of kickass, 2) the sexual tension between Kate and Curran finally reaches a climax (omg bad pun), and 3) I felt that I learned so much more about the characters as a whole in this book in particular.

So first, let me talk about the fighting scenes: now with each book we get fighting scenes as it’s just the nature of the story and the characters themselves. But when Kate would go up against some of the people in this book in particular I felt that the descriptions were a lot more detailed and that there was just a lot more going on.

It wasn’t so much that I couldn’t keep up and I knew all of the characters that were taking part in some way or other. I think that the authors really did a great job in this book showcasing how strong of a character Kate is while also showing that she is also human and is prone to getting her ass kicked just as much as she kicks others’.

And the romance! Whew! Bring me a fan because it’s getting hot in here. I think one of the best things about this series is the slow burn romance between Kate and Curran – and that there’s also no third party to get in the way because I’m kind of over it. But these two, though they’re always at each others’ throats, they know their feelings for each other.

I know that Kate has an extremely hard time letting people in with how she was raised and how things usually go in her life, but once she lets Curran in, she knows that she can’t leave him. I never thought that that made her seem clingy or in any way made her relinquish any sort of power; in fact, I think Curran really compliments her well and makes her stronger.

Overall, I felt like I just really learned so much about the characters in this book. I’m really starting to connect with them and react more if something bad happens to certain characters, or even if something good happens or if humor is used.

I found a lot more humor in this book than in the previous ones and I just thought that it was executed in a fun and engaging way. And even though new characters seemed to be introduced left and right, I still got a feel for who they are and what sort of significance they hold in Kate’s life and to the story as a whole.

I really enjoyed this installment of the series and I highly recommend it if you haven’t read it yet. It’s definitely made me want to keep going and see what Atlanta’s got in store next for Kate and Curran.

I rated this book 4.5/5 stars.

Magic Strikes Book Review

magicstrikesTitle: Magic Strikes
Series: Book #3 in the Kate Daniels series
Author: Ilona Andrews
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: February 20, 2009
Genre: Adult – Urban Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 310
Format: Gifted Paperback

When magic strikes and Atlanta goes to pieces, it’s a job for Kate Daniels…

Drafted into working for the Order of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems than she knows what to do with these days. And in Atlanta, where magic comes and goes like the tide, that’s saying a lot.

But when Kate’s werewolf friend Derek is discovered nearly dead, she must confront her greatest challenge yet. As her investigation leads her to the Midnight Games—an invitation only, no holds barred, ultimate preternatural fighting tournament—she and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, uncover a dark plot that may forever alter the face of Atlanta’s shapeshifting community…

As this is the third book in the series, there will most likely be spoilers.

I think one thing that I really enjoy about this series is that there is a major encompassing plot to the whole series (defeating Roland, the Big Bad) and that each book has its own subplot that’s specific to that book.

For this book in particular, it was all about getting back at the guys who brutally injured and attacked Derek, Kate’s shapeshifter “sidekick.”

Now, I really like Derek and his personality, so I was all for this plot. I thought that it was definitely engaging and that there was a lot going on in the book to not be bored with.

There was more lore about creatures and magic, this time focusing more on Hinduism and some aspects of the gods and deities of that religion, and their own twist in the book’s world – which I really appreciated. Yes, at times it was kind of long winded and maybe a little excessive, but I found the tales fascinating. There was also plenty of action and enough detailed descriptions to really figure out just what was going on and who was attacking or being attacked.

I actually found the details to be a lot more thorough in this book than the previous two. Or maybe I’m just not really remembering the details; who knows? But I did highly enjoy that aspect of this book.

Once again Kate was pretty badass. She took on a lot and dealt with a lot of things more mentally than before. She came to the realization that Roland was behind a lot of what was going on, and I also liked that she went into backstory about how Roland is her father and that’s why she always has to burn rags and clothes and such with her blood on it. Her blood holds special properties and magic that make her wicked strong, and I kind of really like that aspect of her.

We got to see more side characters in this book including Jim, Raphael, Andrea, Doolittle, and a new girl, Dali, who’s a weretiger. I really appreciated being able to see more shapeshifters in action because I really loved the shapeshifters as a whole, let alone as individuals. I just think that the concept behind them is pretty cool to imagine. I think that the team aspect that was used in this book was really well suited for the plot and that it was well suited for the characters, as well. Even though Kate is used to doing things on her own, she relied a lot more on others, which was a good character development point.

The romance in this book did grow a bit more, too, which is always nice for someone who loves love. As someone who loves love, it was awesome. It made me smile and swoon a bit, and I really craved more, but of course it didn’t go as far as maybe I would have liked, but it was still really steamy. But just so we’re clear, the romance was only sprinkled in about three times throughout the whole book, so it’s not like it encompassed the whole thing, for those who want more action and less romance.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I think it was a strong, solid edition to this series and I highly recommend it if you’ve read the first two books.

I rate this book 4/5 stars.

Magic Burns Book Review

magicburns

Title: Magic Burns
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Book #2 in the Kate Daniels series
Publisher: ACE Fantasy
Publication Date: April 2008
Genre: Adult – Urban Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 260
Format: Gifted Paperback

From Goodreads: As a mercenary who cleans up after magic gone wrong, Kate Daniels has seen her share of occupational hazards. Normally, waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide. But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant. Now Kate’s going to have to deal with problems on a much bigger scale: a divine one.

When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta’s paramilitary clan of shapeshifters, she quickly realizes much more at stake. During a flare, gods and goddesses can manifest – and battle for power. The stolen maps are only the opening gambit in an epic tug-of-war between two gods hoping for rebirth. And if Kate can’t stop the cataclysmic showdown, the city may not survive…

As a second book in a fairly long series, I really enjoyed this more than the first. The first book was hard to follow and I found myself to be fairly confused through a lot of it, but this book was a much better read: the plot was more engaging, the dialogue was more complex and funnier at some points, and I just overall enjoyed this book more.

The plot in this book was completely separate from the first. Though there is a baseline plot that can, and probably will, occur over time, for this book it follows a completely separate plot from the first. It was more dynamic and intertwined, and I loved the fact that it brought out the best in Kate – in my opinion.

In this book I felt I got to know the characters much better. In terms of our main heroine, Kate, I felt that she became much more understandable as an individual and we got to understand more of how she thinks and her emotions in some situations. Plus we also got a glimpse – albeit a tiny glimpse – into how potent and powerful her magic is. I loved that aspect. I think the secret around her blood and why it’s so powerful is kind of driving me crazy, but at the same time I know it’ll come into fruition eventually.

Also, I felt that she really held her own in this book. She seems a lot stronger in this book personality wise and strength wise. I thought that she handled the relationship with Julie well, like she was an older sister trying to look out for her younger sister, and she did her best to keep her safe. I’m actually really interested to see if and when Julie makes a comeback.

Curran was still his brutish and sexy self. I think he deliberately gets under Kate’s skin, and she in turn does the same to him. I found him to be a lot funnier in this book, and also a lot more protective. When it comes to Shapeshifters they’re very protective of kids, and so I felt that that aspect was cool to read about and how he was trying to do his best to help Kate out with rescuing Julie. Not only was he protective, we got to see just why he is the Beast Lord: he’s strong as hell. Like, wow, if I met him on the battlefield I’d want it to be a really quick and painless death.

We got a few new characters like Bran and Julie, both of whom I really liked and I really wanted to get to know better by the end of the book. I felt that they added extra sparks to the story and I thought that they’re personalities were diverse and engaging.

We also got a lot of snippets of Celtic folklore and witchcraft in this novel, and though I’m not sure if all of what was said was true to its truest sense, but I did know some of the snippets and even recognized some of the names used, so that was cool to see mythology and folklore inscribed into the book.

The romance in this book was still subtle, but it’s starting to grow and I could really feel the sexual tension starting to build in this one. I really want to see more of their interactions together because we learned some Shapeshifter lore that is starting to actually happen and I really, really want to see something happen between them.

Overall I enjoyed this book more than the first and I can’t wait to start the next book.

I rated this 4/5 stars and recommend it.

Magic Bites Book Review

magicbites

Title: Magic Bites
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Book #1 in the Kate Daniels series
Publisher: Ace – an imprint of Penguin
Publication Date: April 1, 2007
Genre: Adult – Urban Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 260
Format: Gifted Paperback

Synopsis from Goodreads: Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for magic…

One moment magic dominates, and cars stall and guns fail. The next, technology takes over and the defensive spells no longer protect your house from monsters. Here skyscrapers topple under onslaught of magic; werebears and werehyenas prowl through the ruined streets; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds.

In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight.

But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, she must choose to do nothing and remain safe or to pursue his preternatural killer. Hiding is easy, but the right choice is rarely easy…

At first this book really confused me. It introduced characters that I had no idea who they were right away without much backstory as to how our main protagonist knew them, and it had a lot of situations and phrases that I was unsure of what exactly was going on in the book. I thought that the plot was kind of slow as a result and I wasn’t sure that I would actually enjoy the book.

But then things started to hit the fan more and more and I found myself completely compelled by what was going on. This didn’t happen until close to 100 pages into the book, but at least I started to enjoy it more!

In this world of magic and creatures we have Kate, who is a twenty-five year old mercenary for hire who is just surviving in her day to day life in Atlanta. She has a bit of a tongue on her and she uses sarcasm and humor to help her release any sort of nervousness she has in her. A lot of the times the joke flies over the person’s head to whom she was saying it to, but a few times I snort-laughed because I thought it was funny. She definitely has the makings of a strong female lead and I am looking forward to seeing how her character develops and where she goes from here because through the first half of the book, Kate was trying very hard to be the “tough one,” but as the book progressed I could see hints and glimmers of her vulnerability and how killing and losing people was taking a toll on her emotions. It was very subtle, and I wish there was a bit more development emotionally, but it was there.

Curran is the Lord of the Beasts. The Free Beasts, that is. He’s probably in his late twenties/early thirties and he got to his position because he’s the strongest. He is a werelion – meaning he has a human form, a beast form (a massive white/gray lion), and a mid-form (a form between human and beast). And he’s kind of kickass. Well, I liked him. He was kind of mysterious at some points, but he has a really strong temper on him. He can control himself sometimes, but other times Kate just gets under his skin and he attacks her – and she’s not afraid to attack back. He was definitely a character I found intriguing and I am interested to see how he develops. We got to see a bit more emotionally from him in that we got to see how he reacted in certain situations, putting others before himself, and how the Pack always came first. He took a lot of responsibilities on his shoulders, but I think he did so willingly.

There were several side characters with prominence, such as Crest, Bono, Mahon, Derek, and a few others, but I think if I explained too much about them that it might give too much away. Just know that I am definitely excited to see where Kate goes with the Pack, even though she’s not a part of it or anything. I can see her definitely developing friendships there and probably have a lot of involvement together, too.

I personally loved the different kinds of “factions” that lived within this world.

  • You’ve got the People, who are necromancers and kind of human. They can control vampires and the undead. They’re kind of creepy, in my opinion.
  • Then you’ve got the Shapechangers, who are a large group and there’s different kinds: werecats, werewolves, lynxweres (they were animal first, then turned human-ish), etc. These were the most fascinating to me.
  • Then you’ve got your normal humans, and some humans have magic. And it’s just really cool. These are the mercenaries, the cops, the citizens, etc.

I think that this book was a good start, albeit a confusing start, to this adult urban fantasy series, and I am definitely excited to read it.

I would recommend this book to people looking for a strong heroine in adult fantasy – and a slow burn romance, because that’s what I’ve heard about it. It’s fast paced and the story does pick up after the first 100 pages, I promise! The world is interesting because there’s a lot of modern references, even though it seems to be placed about 200 years from now, I think, and it has characters that you can love, hate, feel for, and points in the plot that make you laugh, smile, shudder, and more.

I gave this book 4/5 stars and recommend it!