Backlist Burndown Review: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #1
Published by Ace on April 1st 2007
Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for magic…
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 onslaught of magic; werebears and werehyenas prowl through the ruined streets; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds.
In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she 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 pursue his preternatural killer. Hiding is easy, but the right choice is rarely easy…
So, I have not read a ton of urban fantasy, but given how common strong female characters seem to be in it, I do occasionally like to delve in. The Kate Daniels series is one that I have heard recommended, so when I saw the audiobook for the first one go on sale, I decided to grab it as it seemed a perfect choice for Backlist Burndown (despite the hideous cover – sorry!) and I guess I was right.
Kate Daniels is fierce. I’ll be honest, after this first book, I am not entirely sure what all she is capable of. But I do know she can kick ass and carries a sword (she is a mercenary after all). So she’s on my good side already. If I learn more in the future my guess is it will just reinforce this. I like her determination and charisma. She also has to keep aspects of herself secret, which you know, is always kind of fun too. Living dangerously and all that. I can’t say I found anything uniquely awesome about her, but I can’t deny she is fun to read.
The world building in this is interesting. It’s set in the future and since an event called The Shift, magic has returned. Mythical creatures are now real and part of the world. The catch? Magic and technology don’t like to play nice. So when magic flares up (because it’s evidently not at a constant level), then technology fails. But not just electricity and devices and cars, but also things built with the help of technology like skyscrapers. I have to admit, I found this last addition a bit odd. I can buy into technology failing, but making a structurally sound building that is not actively using technology of any kind to remain standing kinda took a bit of effort to retain my suspension of disbelief. Maybe I missed something. Maybe the technology using components of the building blew up and that is what made them crumble? Not sure. But I managed. I wouldn’t say it bothered me, but I also wouldn’t say I loved that aspect either. I might just be nit-picky. Maybe there is more information in future books, maybe I am just thinking harder than I should about it.
The story unfolds as Kate is determined to hunt down whoever murdered her guardian. Enter vampires, shapeshifter and other fun characters as suspects or allies, it is hard to discern at times.
Over all, I did enjoy this. I may have left this book feeling like there are some aspects of Kate Daniel’s character as well as her capabilities that could maybe be fleshed out a bit. And I can’t say I completely/willingly bought into everything with the magic system. But then, I also have to admit I tend to turn to this type of UF for fun and action and girls that kick ass. For those three traits, the book absolutely delivered. This is a fun series with action, magic and some great interplay between characters. I do plan to read on.
I have challenged and committed myself to reading at least one book from my backlist every month and posting the review on the last Friday of the month. I invite anyone interested to join me and link up their own Backlist Burndown reviews. I will offer the link at the bottom of my monthly Backlist Burndown reviews, and also will keep a running record of the reviews on my Dracarys! Backlist Burndown page available from my top menu.