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review 2017-03-17 00:00
Magic Bites
Magic Bites - Ilona Andrews Magic Bites - by Ilona Andrews

While this book did have some continuity problems, it was not anything I really can't handle. I loved this introduction to this series. The witty *rolls eyes* banter between the protagonists is a hoot. And it is especially wonderful if you read the companion piece, which will give you the point of view of some of the story from Curran.Curran: Volume I (Curran POV) It will also help with some of the other books also. It makes it easier to see how the series is going to move.
I have read the entire series and short stories, etc and I can tell you that the writing team that prints under the name of Ilona Andrews is by far one of the best out there.

They took what is now an overly-saturated genre and brought it back to life - each book holds more kick-butt action than anything else. There is romance but at this point in the series, it is merely hinted at and will build gradually like a real relationship. There is mystery with each book, flawed but wonderful characters. These are characters that you might want to have as real life friends. *sigh* If only I really could have them as pal.

This is an Urban Fantasy...NOT a romance, so please expect a LOT of action, a LOT of fighting and a LOT of bodily fluids. When this team writes a `bad guy' character, they really do an excellent job of it. The character becomes one you love to hate and hope that they get everything that is coming to them!

I don't think that you will regret starting this series, especially now with the 6th full book about Kate Daniels coming out on the 30th! There is still just enough time (maybe) to read all the preceding books!

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, Book 1)

Magic Burns (Kate Daniels, Book 2)

Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, Book 3)

Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels, Book 4)

Magic Slays (Kate Daniels, Book 5)

Magic Rises (Kate Daniels Book 6)

Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels, #7)

Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels, #8)

Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9)

Untitled (Kate Daniels, #10) May 2018
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review 2017-02-07 18:14
Magic Bites
Magic Bites - Ilona Andrews

I don't read a lot of urban fantasy, but I loved Magic Bites! The action is fantastic and it features a badass heroine. Mix that with a ton of paranormal lore and mythology, and it is a truly engrossing read.

 

The world of Kate Daniels is a post-apocalyptic one, but different from most in fiction. The apocalypse wasn't the fallout of war, famine, or strife. It was the downfall of technology. A wave of magic came over the world and changed everything. Now it comes and goes, leaving technology sketchy at best. But more than that, it has left the world teeming with new creatures and new battles.

 

The paranormal aspects of this world are fantastic. There are a lot of the usual suspects of the paranormal world, but they are given a new spin. Vampires are not sparkly, but piloted by necromancers. And the world of shapeshifters is expanded and fascinating.

 

Kate is a mercenary in Georgia and it is her job to fix these magical problems, whether it be something dangerous, or just something messy and inconvenient. It's a thankless job, but it's one she's very good at. And it lets her be what she wants.... alone.

 

She is a fantastic main character. She's strong and badass, but smart and witty, too. For a book with so much action, there is a lot of humor. Her one-liners and her inner dialogue had me laughing more than once.

 

Overall:  This is a book with a smart, kickass female lead and I definitely recommend it! Tons of action and an amazing world!

Source: thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12567
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review 2016-10-06 03:13
Sick Reading: Ilona Andrews
Burn for Me - Ilona Andrews
Magic Bites - Ilona Andrews

I got super sick last week and read a half dozen trashy and less trashy PNR/UF books to salve my soul. Also, I managed to tear through all of the Mercy Thompson books, so I'm a little at loose ends as far as light reading goes. I hit a lot of different series to try them out, and next up is Ilona Andrews.

 

Turns out, Ilona Andrews a husband and wife writing team, which is fascinating, because they do an amazing fucking job. I started with Burn for Me, because it was on my ereader for some reason (see, a theme!) Burn for Me is the start of a new series, different from the Kate Daniels series that put them on the map. In this world, people who took a serum to activate magical talents a hundred years ago have been intermarrying to shore up the money and power amongst themselves. They are basically unaccountable to anyone, for anything. You know, like our world, but slightly more metaphorical. The main girl is a PI, who is called in to take the fall for a son of wealth and power gone rogue. 

 

I rarely actually laugh while reading, because I have a black black heart, but I did here, multiple times. Andrews is clever and funny, and utilizes a vocabulary typically unseen in urban fantasy. Burn for Me is definitely more on the urban fantasy end, so the growly love interest person isn't anywhere near the most important character, more's the better. The PI has a complex, loving, and exasperating family who are in the business with her, and they get in the way and help out in equal measure.

 

I'm also fairly confident that Burn for Me pretty much smashes the Bechdel test, which is also notable for a lot of paranormal romance (or actually just regular romance.) So, the Bechdel test is this thing where you ask if 1) there are two women with names and 2) if they talk to each other 3) about anything other than a man. There's a lot of problems with how the Bechdel test gets used, not the least of which is that of course failing the test is not an indicator of either poor quality or anti-feminist writing. I think its main utility is in broad genre statistics: how often does a particular set of writings tell the stories of women that do not hinge on the men in their lives?

 

PNR fails this test a lot, a lot, partially for the very obvious and understandable reason that mainstream romance by its very definition deals with romantic relationships mostly between heterosexual couples. (Of course there's M/M romance, but that has its own issues I'm not getting into right now.) So of course ladies talk to dudes, and when they talk to their lady friends, they talk about dudes. So far so good.

 

But really, PNR often takes this one step further, where there is often only one female character in dozens of guys (which you can see in everything from Mercy Thompson to the Black Dagger Brotherhood). If there is another female character, she's slagged as a slut or something, in opposition to the shiny, shiny perfection of the heroine. So it was just lovely to see a family unit of mostly women enacting real relationships that didn't necessarily have anything to do with the love interest. They had money problems and argued about who got the car and who was going to set the table. About how they were going to do their jobs. Just, my heart swells. 

 

Next I hit Magic Bites, which has to be one of Andrews's first novels (weirdly, a theme in my reading recently: start with later stuff and work back.) Not as accomplished as Burn for Me in terms of prose style, but still a damn fine novel, with an absolutely dynamite world to play around in. Kate Daniels lives in an alternate present where magic is swinging back into dominance, and the ascendance of either tech or magic happens randomly and without warning. The vacillation toward magic in the last 15 whatever years means that skyscrapers are falling down, and all of our magical technology is going dark. It's technically a mid-apocalyptic world, which O, baby. 

 

Kate is something between a PI and a bounty hunter, magically inclined. A father figure from her childhood, who works for the magical Order keeping magical shit in check, turns up dead, and she drives into a crumbling Atlanta to find his killer. It's one of those stories where she keeps getting the shit kicked out of her and running down blind alleys, but her general competence and grit gets her through. Something like magic noir. Reader, I enjoyed it greatly. I'm definitely gulping down the rest of this. 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-09-23 00:23
I liked it better this time
Magic Bites - Ilona Andrews

During the first read I was too annoyed by Kate's obliviousness. This time, since I already knew and was just paying attention to the surrounding details while I waited for her to catch up I got several thing from it:

 

Darek says Crest wouldn't be good for Kate because he wouldn't be able to say no to her. She answers that not many people do. Having just read vol 9, it makes it a very insightful judgement on Derek's part. And an awesome backwards echo to Barrabas.

 

The Order are heartless monsters. And I'm not talking of future events here. They send not only the adopted daughter, but HIS OWN SON to investigate Greg's death.

 

The final interesting bit:

 

 “If I were on my own, packing some power, and for some reason not wanting to be found, I might lay low for a while. But I’d know that sooner or later I’d have to come out and play, because whoever’s looking for me would eventually find me. I’d start building some connections. The thing about a lone wolf? Once you corner it, it has no one to turn to.”

 

NICK starts her on the human and relationships path. He makes it a logic and survival  thing, but he basically gives her permission to make friends. There is some heavy irony to it, I'm sure, but that quote alone justifies any filial affection Kate feels later on.

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review 2016-07-07 02:56
Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1) (Audiobook)
Magic Bites - Ilona Andrews,Renée Raudman

This was a pretty decent introduction to this world. It's well-written and doesn't clock you over the head (too much) with the world-building. You learn only what you need to know for the story, but it still sets things up for future books and leaves room for expansion as the series goes on. 

 

Kate Daniels is, in a lot of ways, the female counterpart to Harry Dresden. She's tough, magical, and investigates things. She's also a mercenary who is working a case pro-bono for the wizard order that her mentor belonged to - her dead mentor whose murder she is investigating. She's out for herself, but she's not selfish or arrogant. What I like about her most so far though is that she's allowed to be emotional without having her emotions define her or cloud her judgement, and she's comfortable with herself and her body even though she doesn't meet the "classic beauty" checklist requirement. She's not very good with the big picture, and she sucks at relationships. She's a well-rounded protagonist who isn't squeaky clean boring but not also a glorified anti-hero. She's complex and the main driving force of this book.

 

The mystery was pretty well constructed. I lost track of some of the characters at one point (long holiday weekend without any time to listen sometimes will do that), so I had to go back and relisten to sections of it and even then, knowing what the clues were, I didn't pick out the whodunit. The creature is one I haven't encountered before in my admittedly limited exposure to urban fantasy, and it was sufficiently creepy and gross.

 

The narrator does a great job bringing Kate to life. Her range for the male voices isn't that great, but it's good enough that I knew who was talking, and she was consistent with the voices throughout. She really puts her all into every character, and she gets the humor and emotional beats down pat. 

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