Monday, June 15, 2009

Magic Strikes

Magic Strikes
(Kate Daniels Book 3)
Written by: Ilona Andrews
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Ace
Language: English
March 2009, $7.99
Genre: Urban Fantasy

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

Drafted to work for the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems these days than she knows what to do with. 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-hold-barred, ultimate preternatural fighting tournament- she and Curran, the Beast Lord, uncover a dark plot that may forever alter the face of Atlanta’s shapeshifting community…


This is the third book in the Kate Daniels series, a series where magic and technology come and go in this alterna Atlanta, Georgia. It’s a world where you should probably have a horse standing by when the tech is down and your car becomes a giant paperweight and where a sword comes in handy when guns cease to work. It’s a world where magic is real, vampires aren’t sexy and cuddly, and our heroine’s past may finally be catching up to her. In short, it rocks.

In this outing Kate, mercenary and snarky Knight of the Order of Merciful Aid, finds herself and her hometown still reeling from the backlash from the flare that hit during Magic Burns. Running from one magical emergency to the next keeps you busy, but it can also tire a girl out. Just when she thinks she can finally get a good night’s rest she stumbles onto a crime scene where her former partner Jim, shifter and head of security for the Pack, tells her to mind her own business. When she asks if Curran knows about it, he blows her off even further.

Odd behavior and an odd evening gets even stranger when she has to go and save her werewolf friend Derek from Saiman, whom he was attempting to steal a ticket to the Midnight games, before Saiman can be unpredictable as always and do something Kate will have to kill him for. This leads Kate to the Midnight Games, an illegal tournament where there are no rules and the preternatural community fights and kills for the thrills of the crowd. Maybe she would have left things alone until Derek goes missing and is later found with injuries so extensive that even his shifter abilities may not be able to save him. Now it is personal.

But attending the games and getting revenge poses a problem. Curran, the Beast Master/Pack Leader and Kate’s would be sweetie, forbids any contact with the Games and everyone fears his wrath. Let’s just say it is not a wrath I would like to see anytime soon.

Things I loved: I love Kate and not just because she is snarky. She is a strong woman, but has very relatable doubts and weaknesses. I’ve seen her grow as a character as well. She is opening herself to other people now as scary as that can be sometimes. She protects those she cares about, admits to fear and really doesn’t like being threatened. Yes there may be other kick butt snarktastic heroines out there in the Urban Fantasy verse, but most fall a bit short for me. Some end up being too immature while others seem to have no chinks in the armor and are a bit too unbelievable. It’s a fine line to walk but Andrews does it and does it well. Like Harry Dresden, John Taylor, etc Kate may have an increasing catalogue of wicked skills (especially after this last book, which by the way makes me very very excited to see where this all goes), but she is not invincible. She has weaknesses and they are very real ones.

* The rest of the cast. From loveable Derek (almost wept) to the deliciously grey and enigmatic Saiman (was overjoyed to learn more about him) to Raphael (loved when Kate showed up with him to Julie’s school or his attempts to win Andrea’s heart) and Andrea (I really do heart her)…they are all equally as engaging as Kate or even my delectable Curran. I even liked the new introductions like Dali who is a shapeshifting tiger who is not only legally blind and a vegetarian (yes she eats grass when she shifts. Long story), but extremely funny and I hope she appears again. I love that every character has a role. Every character has development and a delight to read. Even the baddies.

* Speaking of Curran. I loved how things have subtly changed between him and Kate. I am not opposed to romance in my books just as long as it isn’t the chief focus and that the progression of a relationship is realistic. I could go on a rant on how urban fantasy has become to be paranormal romance where romance takes over the plot, but that can be for another time. I like Curran and Kate. They’re verbal banter is as entertaining as the rest of their relationship just as Adam and Mercy are from Patricia Briggs series. More important I like how their relationship has developed. It is not the focal point of the series, but it is there to keep me blissfully happy and I cannot wait to see the sparks continue to fly.

* I love the world that has been created and in this installment we were treated with even more world building. I love that the mythos is open for other cultural interpretations. There are so many possibilities and yet the world that Andrews has created is not confusing. It works.

Things I didn't love so much: There isn’t a whole lot that I can complain about here. The plot is engaging, secrets revealed, earlier plots continued and I laughed, almost cried and sat clamoring for an encore once it was all over. There is a reason why this series is in my top 10 favorite series. The fight scenes are believable, the action a joy to read and envision and the new questions posed making me hungry with anticipation. I cannot wait for the nest installment.

Buy or Borrow: Definitely buy. In fact, if you haven’t read the series, please do…now. While it is not essential to read the first two, it is always better to start at the beginning so you can enjoy the journey so far.

Part of: The Kate Daniels series.
Magic Bites (Book One)
Magic Burns (Book Two)

Also Recommended: The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs

4 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

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