Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
Published: first published March 27th 2007 by Ace/Penguin
Source: local library
Synopsis (Goodreads): 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, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.
Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.
The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t have it any other way…
My thoughts: The appeal of this series (at least so far) rests entirely on the main character, Kate Daniels. Ilona Andrews gives her a distinct voice and constructs a character I’m interested in following through many supernatural adventures to come.
Kate has a bit of a dry sense of humor and the sort of gumption I appreciate in heroines of urban fantasy. She hasn’t led a privileged life; she’s got integrity; and there’s an air of mystery that surrounds her. She’s my kind of heroine.
Ilona Andrews just drops the readers in this magical Atlanta without letting them know the rules of the world. It’s fun to try and piece it all together, and I always appreciate this approach to world-building. It’s a unique spin on systems of magic I haven’t yet encountered, so it was refreshing.
There’s enough intrigue surrounding Kate as a character I feel compelled to read on. What exactly is she? What is her history? I want the answers to these questions. This combination of an interesting world with its own rules and a dynamic character is what I look for in urban fantasy, so I know this is a series I want to stick with, even if the first installment didn’t blow me away.
While the magic is fresh and unique, there are so many characters to keep track of, it started to feel like work to keep up. I like my urban fantasy fun and exciting and quick-paced, which Magic Bites definitely is. But I also want well-choreographed fight scenes that are exciting to read, and the action sequences left a lot to be desired.
I like a slow burn to the romance subplot in urban fantasy series, and Kate and Curran definitely have potential, which is a large part of my continued interest in the series. I like witty banter and lots of sexual tension I (as opposed to actual sex scenes), and judging from the first installment, the Kate Daniels series is going to deliver in this regard.
Though the mystery in this first installment wasn’t all that exciting, the snappy dialogue kept me reading, and I’m eager to see how Kate navigates this world of magical surges and shapeshifters and ley lines. I’m definitely up for more supernatural adventures with Kate Daniels.
Maggie at YA Anonymous: “The verbal sparring between Kate and Curran, the Beast Lord, is fantastic. Curran is someone who demands instantaneous respect. Kate chafes at authority figures. Put them in a room together and you don’t get any insta-love. I highlighted at least one line from each of their interactions and cracked up over the rest.”
Late Nights with Good Books: “Fortunately for me, however, the main redemption of this book came in the form of its protagonist, Kate Daniels. Whenever she gets into tight binds, Kate relies on herself, her knowledge, her skills, and her determination, to make things better. Her reliance on herself makes her admirable, but just as admirable is her ability to admit that relying solely on oneself is lonely, that that’s not always the best way to live and operate. Contrasted with the sarcastic, practical, and tough-as-nails heroine are hints of a milder, more insecure one. Although Kate is good at her job and efficient, she does not completely disown her more feminine side. Those details are what truly make Kate into a three-dimensional protagonist.”
April at Good Books Good Wine: “Friends, this book, Magic Bites, is totally bitchin’. There are epic fights all over the place. There are hints at a romance that I am pretty sure will be slow burning and actually developed logically. Kate, herself, has a total attitude that I love. She is very much the get it done and take no prisoners type.”