magic bites by ilona andrews

Posted on July 18, 2009


Kate Daniels is fast with her magic sword, but Ilona Andrews is more biting with her pen.

With 500+ in my TBR mountain, I must really love a book to wish to read it again, ignoring the groaning call of my unreads. I just read Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews, for the third time—I’m really bad.

magic bitesI don’t know; there’s just something magnificent about this book. Is it the plot, the world-building, the characters, or the atmospheric story-telling? Maybe, someone can help to enlighten me a little bit here.

Here’s the gist: If it weren’t for the magic, Atlanta would be a nice place to live. It comes and it goes, overpowering technology, eating up skyscrapers, killing phone line signals, and leaving monsters in its wake. Kate Daniels, a down-on-her-luck mercenary, cleans up magic gone wrong for a living; it’s a hard and messy job, but someone has got to do it. For someone with an ultimate mission in life, to kill the most powerful man in the world, the job, I feel, has become a sort of comfort zone for Kate. But when her guardian is murdered, she has no choice but to step out, and step up, not only to get justice, but also to put a stop to a series of gruesome killings that targets young women and shapeshifters, even if it means making herself visible to this alternate universe’s powers-that-be.

Among those are the Beast Lord Curran, head of Atlanta’s paramilitary clan of werecreatures; Masters of the Dead, necromancers who ‘ride’ vampires, controlling them with magic; and the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, merciless in their merciful aid.

This is a very edgy story; full of gore, too. Kate has deep, dark secrets, which she will kill for to protect if she has too. As a self-defense mechanism, she often engages in tough-talking to match the hard-as-nails merc-fighter persona she has assumed. This has made her somewhat paranoid: burning bloody bandages and avoiding making friends. But don’t be fooled; her teeth chatter when she’s really scared; her favorite book is The Princess Bride.

I have no idea how her world manages to ‘do business as usual’ with such an unstable reality—today, cars run normally; tomorrow, mythological creatures might set up shop next door, eyeing you for dinner… rather nightmarish. It’s the rare writer who can carry this off: conceptualize, visualize, transfer this vision to readers.

I am firmly hooked by this series. The paranormal and storytelling elements simply combined perfectly to make it my-kind-of story. I loved the mystery of Kate’s bloodline and I loved the hints of a romance between Kate and Curran—thank God Andrews favored ‘tense’ over ‘steamy (it gets old fast)’. I even adored the writing: sharp dialogue, a little nonchalant, as the book would rather pull us into the action rather than waste time dotting is and crossing ts for us—and, there is action, so much action that I dare not blink in case I miss a split-second showdown.

*Ilona Andrews is actually the pen name of a husband-and-wife team.

Posted in: fantastic