Wednesday, 1 May 2013
Review: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
Released: September 9th, 2010
Future Atlanta is an interesting place to live: one moment magic dominates, and cars stall and guns fail. The next, technology takes over and the defensive spells no longer protect your house from monsters. Here skyscrapers topple under the onslaught of magic; the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, prowl through the ruined streets; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst for knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds. Kate Daniels likes her sword a little too much, and she has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she's spent most of her life hiding in plain sight. But when Kate's guardian is murdered, she must choose to do nothing, and remain safe, or to risk her life by pursuing his preternatural killer. Hiding is easy, but the right choice is rarely easy...
Okay, so Magic Bites is an adult book. *Gasp* I know - another adult book, what's going on?! Basically I've felt like reading some good urban fantasy recently - YA or adult - and this series has been recommended to me time and time again (Yes, Carla, I'm looking at you). I decided to give it a go inbetween my usual YA awesomeness, and I'm really glad I did. It isn't an adult urban fantasy book full of gratuitous sex scenes and cringey male characters, and instead it's a well thought out story that I think will appeal to older YA readers (there's some swearing and gory scenes) and lovers of all things paranormal.
Kate Daniels is what you'd call a kick-ass heroine. She lives in a magic-infused future Atlanta, where shapechangers and vampires are just part of the norm. When the magic hits, technology fails but, when magic disappears, technology works again and spells are a no-go. Kate's a mercenary, and makes her money by smoothing over magical problems and mishaps. She has a kick-ass sword called Slayer, and she's quick with the one-liners. To put it simply, I loved her.
When Kate's guardian, Greg, goes missing, she's thrown into the world of shapechangers - werewolves, werecats, wererats etc. - and necromancers who control ugly, disgusting vampires. She gets into many a fight, both verbal and physical, and shows pack-leader-turned-friend Curran that she's no pushover. Their chemistry and character dynamic is brilliant, and I'm eager to see where Andrews takes their relationship next. I'd buy book 2 just to find out... that's how much I like them!
I'm no expert when it comes to adult UF, but still I don't think Magic Bites is perfect. The chapters are long and sometimes too drawn-out, and I lost concentration a few times. I'm used to fast-paced novels, so perhaps my complaint is just an indication that Magic Bites is indeed outside of my comfort zone. I really enjoyed it though, and I read it in a day. I'll be buying the next book ASAP, and I think that's really the best way to say how much I liked this first book. I'm intrigued enough to know what happens next, and Kate is exactly the kind of character I like to read about. She ain't Buffy Summers, but she isn't too far away on the rockin' ladies chart. All I can say is: Magic Burns, here I come!