Top 5 Wednesday: Books Featuring Shapeshifters

Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday as hosted by the lovely Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes.

Here’s today’s topic:

October 18th: Books Featuring [paranormal creature of your choice]
–Here is the previously mentioned paranormal creature topic. This topic will revolve around one type of paranormal creature of your choice. So books featuring vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, demons, fae, zombies, etc.

This seems like a fun topic so let’s jump right into it! In no particular order:

5. Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews

magicbites

This series has so many paranormal, mythical, magical beings in it, it’s like seriously a free-for-all when it comes down to it. But the shapeshifters I was thinking of were the werecats and other people who can shift into different animals, like Curran who can transform into a lion. It’s a really good adult urban fantasy series so far so I definitely recommend it.

4. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

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Now I know there are shapeshifters in some of these books. I just can’t remember which books and characters haha! But either way, this series has a lot of different magical creatures so take your pick.

3. Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

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There’s one character whom I really like that’s a shapeshifter and she kicks ass! She’s very fierce and I love how she really embraces her nature in later books.

2. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

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Okay, I’m really only talking about Wolf here, but he’s still a shapeshifter sorta kinda, okay? Plus he’s awesome, so there’s that, too.

1. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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I remember there being one instance of a shapeshifter so far, but there are SO many mysteries in this series and I think there could be a lot more surprises ahead.

Let’s Chat! ^w^

What books do you recommend with shapeshifters in them? What are some of your favorite and least favorite paranormal creatures?

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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!