Review: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

September 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

Star Rating:

Date released: 7th March 2007 
Publisher: Ace
Author’s website:
My source: Amazon Kindle Store
Part of a series: Yes, #1 Kate Daniels series
Find it at: GoodReads | Amazon | B&N




GoodReads synopsis:

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…

What worked for me:

  • Kate, as a character. She’s so badass, so cynical and possesses razor sharp wit and sarcasm, I loved her from the start. She’s independent, determined and stubborn to boot – all personality traits I identify with Alpha Females. I love that she can take care of herself and doesn’t go overboard with the “I’m badass, don’t even think about it” attitude. She talks big, but she can back it up.
  • The little folklore and mythology stories interspersed between the big picture. I loved learning little tidbits about other cultures and their mythos and I admire the amount of research that Ilona and her husband Gordon put in to give the book a bit more juice and credibility.
  • Curran. Oh my, Alpha Male personified. He was hot, and I loved the way his part was written, just fantastic.
  • The range of interesting characters. Saiman the metamorph, Jim the werejaguar and Derek the werewolf. They all added great elements to the book. The only one I’m not too keen on is Ghastek, but eh.
  • The dialogue. I’m big on dialogue and the snappy banter between Curran and Kate was swoon-worthy. And Kate’s thoughts were great too, one of my favourite quotes from the book:

He was describing that moment when you realize that you are lonely. For a time you can be alone and doing fine and never give a thought to living any other way and then you meet someone and suddenly you become lonely.

  • The relationship (or, the laying of bricks for the eventual foundation of a relationship) between Curran and Kate. It was torture, because we knew (probably from the very beginning) that Dr. Toothpaste wasn’t the man for Kate and that it was Curran she was heading for the entire time. You can’t help but root for the Beast Lord! The suspense Andrews was building towards an eventual get together between Kate and Curran was amazing, tiny little flickers here and there, so subtle.

What didn’t work for me:

  • The flow of the story. Even after reading it a second time, I still felt like the events of the story are disjointed, and Kate makes illogical leaps of intuition. The plot stumbles a lot, and I feel like the only reason why I liked reading this book in the first place is the isolated, personal scenes between Kate and other characters when she goes off to investigate.
  • Some elements of the world: i.e. ‘the magic fell’ and ‘tech was up’. It was just… strange. There was a logical explanation of it within the confines of the book, but it just didn’t work for me.
  • The upir. I just didn’t feel like there was enough juice behind this villain, and it seemed so… flashy? I’m not sure what word to use. Is it possible to say that the mystery and the eventual reasoning behind the upir’s crazy massacre was over the top and ridiculous? Anyway, I didn’t like it. Bono seemed too over the top, and the ‘final battle’ with the dragon and Nick from the Order almost had me dropping the book because it was just too much.

As the first book in a series goes, this one didn’t actually impress me as much. I was confused throughout most of it but lived for the action sequences, and the tortuous scenes between Kate and Curran because in my heart I knew they were destined. Kate is a character I can admire, most definitely. She’s a woman who feels comfortable in her own skin, knows how to relatively deal with her demons and isn’t shy to stand up for herself and others.

I felt that since it was the first in the series, Ilona Andrews tried too hard to make the plot epic when it didn’t really need it. The uniqueness of the heroine and her history, the world, and the other major players in the series kept the reader interested enough. Just by throwing the reader through a dozen twists and turns to make the plot development ‘exciting’ just served to confuse.

Kate and Curran are one of my most favourite couples in fiction and they made my Top 10 Fictitious Couples list and the Kate Daniels series made my Top 10 Paranormal Series list.


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