I have become rather picky about the series I read these days, because there are so very many of them out there. As many of them continue beyond even a dozen installments, following a series requires a fairly substantial commitment. Anyone who visits this blog a time or two will quickly see that I have a particular fondness for contemporary fantasies, particularly those with a mystery/action adventure slant. (I'm not too fond of the "paranormal" label for these, because to me the word paranormal connotes psychic phenomena rather than werewolves, vampires and the like.)
At any rate, as more and more authors pile onto the "paranormal" wagon, it has become increasingly difficult to sort through them all to find the true gems. That's where all you excellent blog reviewers come in - your recommendations have been indispensable in steering me in the right direction (with this genre as well as with many other kinds of books). Even so, I came to Magic Bites with a bit of skepticism, but as I read about Kate Daniels' version of Atlanta, a place where magic and technology are constantly vying for supremacy, I found myself being drawn into her world, caring about the characters, and wondering about Kate's mysterious heritage.
We learn more about Kate in this second installment in the series, but at the end of the book there are still some mysteries left to explore. She is still worrying about paying the bills, but she is now working in a job that she'd never thought she'd have. When she is asked by Curran, the werelion (and alpha to the local pack of shapeshifters) to hunt down some stolen maps, she is drawn into a complex and dangerous situation involving a missing witch whose disappearance appears to be connected with ancient beings from Celtic mythology. Kate finds herself protecting Julie, the witch's teenage daughter, who is being hunted by ferocious, lethal beings Kate has never seen before. Compounding Kate's troubles is the fact that the magic phases are fluctuating at a higher, more powerful level than usual, which wreaks havoc on the magical community, particularly on the self control of its inhabitants.
Kate's relationship with Julie brings a new side of Kate's character to light, which gave the novel some humor while using Julie's perilous situation to ratchet up the tension. There is definite sizzle between Kate and Curran, and it will be fun to watch how their relationship progresses in the next book.
I loved the bizarre and evocative environment, an Atlanta that's been transformed by the phases of magic and tech, and in particular the witch's park and meeting place - what unforgettable imagery! I also find her conception of the way vampires work - mindless beasts that are controlled remotely by necromancer mages - deliciously creepy and an interesting take on an often overdone theme. I'm definitely committed to this series, and I anxiously await Kate's further adventures.
Books in the Kate Daniels series:
1. Magic Bites
2. Magic Burns
3. Magic Strikes
Magic Burns (#2 in the Kate Daniels series) by Ilona Andrews (Ace Books, 2008)
Also reviewed at:
Darque Reviews: "This fast-paced tale is vividly detailed and has the beginnings of a romance fans will be anxious to read more of in Kate’s next adventure."
Lesley W's Book Nook: "Kate is a spunky, smart-mouthed heroine, who doesn't always think before she opens up her mouth, but is usually able to think fast enough to get herself out of any trouble her mouth gets her into."
Lurve a la Mode: "The descriptions of magic waves taking over, dousing electricity, are so…well cool really. You really get the sense that something sentient is literally eating away at Atlanta and tearing it to ruins. I may never again look at Atlanta the same way during a shopping raid."
Unmainstream Mom Reads: "Packed chock full of action, myths, monsters, epic battles, sexy shapeshifters, danger, and a fast-moving plot line, Magic Burns is a very good book."