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Friday, June 3, 2011

MAGIC SLAYS by Ilona Andrews

May, 2011, Ace
320 Pages
Personal Copy (Kindle)

Important Stats
Genre Urban Fantasy
Re-Readable Yes
Recommend to a Friend With Qualifiers
If This Book Were a Movie it would be the summer blockbuster that everyone was talking about with a special effects budget the size of the national debt. Curran would be played by some previously unknown non-American actor who would have a meteoric rise to stardom and magazine covers with Beast Lord themes.

The Blurb
Plagued by a war between magic and technology, Atlanta has never been so deadly. Good thing Kate Daniels is on the job.

Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, but she's still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be-now that the Order is disparaging her good name. Plus, many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate's mate.

So when Atlanta's premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. But it turns out that this is not an isolated incident. Kate needs to get to the bottom of it-and fast, or the city and everyone dear to her may pay the ultimate price...

My Thoughts

I'm torn on this one. I love the Kate Daniels series. What the writing team that is Ilona Andrews has done with their vampires and weres is phenomenal. They created a whole new world, and a whole new playbook. It's hard not to love that.

Still, I don't think this is their strongest offering in the series.

-- The Good --
The actions scenes and plot are tight. As always, the book opens with a bang. There are no easy answers. Kate gets hurt, and I'm glad to see Ilona Andrews didn't fall into the trap of making Kate a super woman who heals without a blink. The knee injury hold over from the other books is a good touch, and it keeps Kate real.

I was also impressed by how well this book fits into the over-arching series. There were some points where this looked like a very awkward edition to the Kate Daniel's omnibus. The major antagonist isn't around, neither are his minions. For a weaker author, this would mean a weak book that feels like a fill in, and would probably get overlooked in the grand scheme of things.

Instead, you can see how MAGIC SLAYS fits in. It's not a pivotal book by any means, but it's setting the stage. Ilona Andrews had to get the board set somehow. This is a better option than a chapter of filler telling us how Andrea came back and why The Order is probably right next to Roland on the list of People We Don't Trust.

--The Bad--
The problem with professionals is that they hit the right notes so often that the wrong notes stand in neon. Here's what I thought went wrong as a reader...

~ The scenes were too short. Even the action scenes weren't on par with some of the epic scenes of previous books. Everything felt short and segmented. I'm not sure if that was because of the timeline, or what happened, but it wasn't the best pacing in the canon.

~ The formatting on the e-book was off for pages 48 and 50. I know this because the author's name and page number appear in the middle of the text on those pages. This isn't the author's fault, but it is annoying.

~ The relationship between Kate and Curran was flat. I loved watching this relationship build over the past four books. In MAGIC SLAYS Kate falls back into the same whiny relationship pose she used in book two. Granted, she got over it quick enough, but it felt like a cop out. I hated that Ilona Andrews chose to end the book on a relationship note of, "If you ever do that again, we're through." For two people who have fought this hard to be together I don't find it believable. And if Ilona Andrews plans on breaking Curran and Kate apart there will be a rebellion.

Who Should Read This Book?
I'd recommend this to anyone who is already familiar with the series. Fans will be happy to see Andrea and Julie return full time, as well as revisit the familiar Atlanta they've come to know and love.

For readers new to the series, I'd recommend starting at the beginning - MAGIC BITES - so you can be introduced properly. This is a good book for fans of urban fantasy, fantasy, swordplay, steampunk, or light romance.

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