Saturday, July 25, 2009

Magic Strikes

I liked the first book in this series. I loved the second one. And with this one, I am officially hooked. I am now in that most annoying state of waiting impatiently for the next one to come out - and that, unfortunately, won't be for almost a year, sigh.

The fantasy world has an interesting premise that works very well: the world is in a state of fluctuation between times when magic overcomes technology (forget using a car, or computer, or even electric lights), and times when technology overcomes magic. This installment opens with Kate making a promise to Derek, a werewolf and one of the very few people she calls a friend, to deliver a note to someone -without reading it first. This seemingly innocuous task ends up putting several lives at stake, including Kate's and most definitely Derek's. He ends up almost dead, with so much damage it is doubtful he will survive.

In order to track down his attackers, Kate goes undercover together with Curran, the insufferable but extremely handsome beast lord, at the Midnight Games. The Games are a deadly tournament that involves teams of supernaturals fighting in ancient Roman Colosseum-style battles with bloodthirsty, roaring crowds as the audience. She suspects something odd is happening, particularly when she meets the team known as the Reapers, who appear to be human yet fight like something supernatural - but it soon become apparent that the members of that seemingly invincible team are involved in a plan that is farther reaching than she could have possibly imagined.

In previous books, there have been hints about Kate's past, but only hints. We know that she always burns anything she might happen to bleed on, because her blood is proof of something that, if anyone should come to learn of it, will get her killed. Sometimes when there are hints of a hidden but important past, particularly in books with first-person narrators, it can feel irritatingly coy. But in this series it feels natural, as though Kate simply can't bear to think on these things. When she is standing in the sand of the tournament ring, it brings back strong memories of her childhood, of being trained by her father, fighting battles in just such a sand-covered ring, the memories are too powerful to avoid. Eventually, as the plot unfolds, we learn much more about Kate's past, as well as the Big Bad who's been looming on the horizon since the very first book - not to mention what is at stake because of exactly who Kate is.

One of the reasons I enjoy these books so much is the continuing development of characters and their relationships with each other. There is the increasing heat between Kate and Curran, of course, which involves some truly hilarious scenes, as Kate suspects Curran is only attracted to her because she hasn't fallen immediately into his arms like every other woman he's ever looked at - something she hasn't the least intention of doing, ever. As we learn about her past, that father taught her to avoid personal connections with people at all costs in order to stay safe, we see her struggling as she finds she actually has made some friends. And yes, they do make her more vulnerable - but who would have thought they could make her stronger at the same time? Favorite secondary characters return, and a few intriguing new ones are introduced. Humor, action and adventure, very cool and surprising magical world, relentless pace, tight writing, an intriguing mystery, a touch of romance, and likable characters - it's all here.

If you are hesitant to start a new series, or are worried this is another run-of-the-mill paranormal fantasy, don't worry. This one will not disappoint.

Books in the Kate Daniels series
1. Magic Bites
2. Magic Burns
3. Magic Strikes


Magic Strikes (#3 in the Kate Daniels series) by Ilona Andrews (Ace Books, 2009)

Also reviewed at:
Angieville: "I continue to love the subtle humor in this series. By the third book I'm utterly invested in these characters and the complicated give and take of their relationships that so perfectly mirror the ebb and flow of magic and technology in Ilona Andrews' Atlanta."
Lurve a la Mode: "From start to finish I was entertained by nothing but good urban fantasy times, and all of it important in some manner."
Nooks and Crannies: "I adored Magic Strikes!! BUT I found out that the next book doesn't come out until June or end of May 2010 nooo!!! "

9 comments:

  1. Oh, this sounds really good!! Dang. Just what I need is another series to start!! You are killing me!

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  2. Oooh I want to read too! I was looking at this book and thinking "should I"? Now that I know it has the Darla stamp of approval I know I should :P

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  3. So good to hear you enjoyed this book. This series has been on my paranormal TBR list for awhile but just haven't gotten around to picking the up.

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  4. I feel the same way..I liked book one, but book two and three are two of my absolute favs! The development of Curran and Kate's relationship is awesome...Ilona Andrews has posted the prologue of her next book, which explains what happens during the dinner (which is mentioned at the end of book 3:) on her site.

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  5. Stephanie - I feel your pain! You won't regret it, though. Honest.
    :-)

    Margo - Yes, I think you'll be a fan of this series. On the bright side, there are only 3. On the down side, there are only 3.

    Stephanie - I hope you'll be able to get to this series soon! I'll be interested to hear what you think when you do.

    Mandi - I love the dynamics of their relationship, too. I saw that she had posted the prologue, but I thought it might make the waiting even harder, so I didn't go read it. But...it describes the dinner, you say? THE dinner? I think I'll have to go check that out! :-)

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  6. Oh, that is so interesting that hints of a secret past in first person narrators can feel coy to you. I totally see why, though. But you're right, I read the first book of this, and I didn't have a problem there.

    Like you, I liked book one. Clearly I really do need to get on the second and third!!

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  7. CJ (or do you prefer Carolyn?) - If you liked the first one in this series, just wait till you read the next ones!

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  8. You know me and series! I do have these but haven't started them yet. I do want to get up to date on a few of the ones I am currently reading, but I will bump these up my list.

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  9. Rhinoa - I know - you're as bad as I am with series! :-) I have tons to get back to, too, and I still find myself starting new ones, sigh. You're a stronger woman than I am. :-p

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