Geri’s Review: Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

MAGIC BREAKS
Series: Kate Daniels #7
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Author: Ilona Andrews
Release Date: July 29, 2014

No matter how much the paranormal politics of Atlanta change, one thing always remains the same: if there’s trouble, Kate Daniels will be in the middle of it…

As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers.

Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.

As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer.

And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear…

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This book was fraught with tension from beginning to end. Kate’s courage and mettle has been tested in the past and she always triumphed. But this might be the toughest test she has to face yet. It’s personal and it threatens everything and everyone she worked so hard for.

I was in pins and needles while reading this book. Kate seemed to be vulnerable in this book. She seemed to be floundering. Kate has always been tough so there were some moments in the book where it’s hard to see her so down and helpless, and feeling defeated. It’s hard to read. And I understand why some reviews feel that this was uncharacteristic for Kate especially since she seemed to be waiting for Curran to rescue her. And that somehow, she’s not a badass anymore.

Fortune favors the brave,” I told her. It also kills the stupid, but I decided to keep that fact to myself.”

I admit at first, I was taken aback. But the more I read the more I realized that this is the reason why Kate is special. She’s not the typical “badass” who doesn’t need anybody or feel vulnerable or doesn’t experience self-doubt. She experiences all these things and come out of it stronger and more resolute. I love that Gordon and Ilona showed us that sometimes our heroes feel helpless and that it’s okay for them to need someone come through for them. That’s what makes me root for them.

In Magic Breaks, Kate and Curran are both pushed to the absolute limits. I feared for their lives and the lives of the other characters in this series. I was still traumatized by a major character’s death in the previous book that I was worried for everyone! Yes, even the ones that we can technically consider the bad guys.

That said, I did want to kill Hugh myself. I still hated his character. Ugh. Out of all villains so far, save from the villain of season 1, I find Hugh the most punchable. I just find his character very grating. His backstory is interesting enough but his motivation was too obvious that there is no way Kate would even be tempted to join him like he wanted.

And his constant flirting with Kate wasn’t cute. It was annoying. He’s like that married boss you had right out of college. Handsome, predatory, and predictable. I’m so glad Curran beat his ass twice now!

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Roland was exceptional as a villain, mainly because you can’t quite put your finger on his motivation. Some of his decisions and actions made me question if he’s the big baddie of the series or just a misunderstood father who wants to get to know his estranged daughter. Plus, he’s just so damn likable.

Magic Breaks marks the end of some major story and character arcs in this series. In the first seven books, it was about Kate hiding her identity from her father, Roland. Everything is out in the open now. Every major players in the series knows who she is and they’ll be gunning for her. This book also marks the end of some of Curran’s arc.

Although you can consider this an ending, it’s hardly THE END because some of the decisions that Kate and Curran made will have repercussions. Not to mention there are some loose ends still that needs to be tied. I’m really excited to get to know more about Roland.

All that was missing was a neon sign that read EVIL AND CONFLICTED ABOUT IT with a flashing arrow pointing at his head.”

Overall, this was another solid installment. The humor, the excellent cast of characters, the plot, everything work seamlessly together. And although I must admit that I was expecting a bigger battle set piece especially during Kate and Roland’s confrontation. But I do understand that they might be saving the big battle towards the end of the series. Roland still holds all the cards here, and we really haven’t seen what he’s capable of yet.

If I pass out face down in this water, will you fish me out?”
“Will you promise to call me Your Majesty?”
“Hell no.”
“Then I’ll have to think about it.”

Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army.

Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Oregon with their two children, three dogs and a cat. They have co-authored two series, the bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge.

 

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Geri’s Review: Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews

MAGIC BLEEDS
Series: Kate Daniels #4
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Author: Ilona Andrews
Release Date: May 25, 2010

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic. 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.

Kate Daniels works for the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, officially, as a liaison with the mercenary guild. Unofficially, she cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to handle—especially if they involve Atlanta’s shapeshifting community.

When she’s called in to investigate a fight at the Steel Horse, a bar on the border between the territories of the shapeshifters and the necromancers, Kate quickly discovers there’s a new player in town. One who’s been around for thousands of years—and rode to war at the side of Kate’s father.

This foe may be too much even for Kate and Curran, the Beast Lord, to handle. Because this time Kate will be taking on family…

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^^Me every time I finish a Kate Daniels book!

I can’t give you the white picket fence, and if I did, you’d set it on fire.”

What can I say? AnotheramazinginstallmentintheKateDanielsseries!!!

Kate Daniels, mercenary and psuedo Knight of the order gets to meet a long lost family member. It should’ve been a happy family reunion but this is Kate Daniels we’re talking about and to say that her family is just dysfunctional is an UNDERSTATEMENT!

The stakes just keeps getting higher and Kate is confronting bigger and more powerful beings. Man, the action in this book is top notch. There are so many moments where I don’t even know if Kate and Curran would come out of it alive.

Don’t die on me, you stupid sonovabitch. You goddamn fucking idiot. I told you to stay out of the damn fight! Why the hell don’t you ever listen? I fucking hate you. I hate you, you hear me? Don’t you dare die on me, because I need to kill you with my bare hands.”

There’s also politics and intrigue added to the mix. In the hands of less skilled writers, this book would’ve feel bloated but Gordon and Ilona have proven themselves adept at juggling storylines. But where they really shine is with their characters.

Again, we see growth with each and every character in this series. Kate has changed. She’s still Kate but with each and every book, we get to see her make tough decisions. There’s a really powerful scene in this book where we see Kate struggle with a decision between doing what she was taught to do and doing what was right. That scene was so powerful to me because it speaks of who Kate is and I know I sound like a broken record here but man, she’s such an amazing hero.

The stairs ended. I wished I knew the jackass who’d made the staircase so short. I’d throw him down the damn steps so he could count them with his head.”

But what really makes this book special is the romance department. Look, I’m not one of those people who thinks that a badass heroine becomes less of a badass because she wants love or falls in love with the hero. Nope. I’m firmly in the “heroines can fall in love and still be a badass because we can do whatever the fuck we want” camp. And Kate does what she wants. And she wants the Beast Lord. And I can totally get behind that because while Curran might be overbearing at times, he is learning and making comprises with Kate.

You might want to decide fast. We live in a dangerous world. If you see a chance to be happy, you have to fight for it, so later you have no regrets.”

I love how they negotiated and compromised with each other. They are both stubborn. Both are alpha. Kate has baggage, so does Curran and they both have identities outside of each other. Curran’s life is with the pack, while Kate was a loner. She doesn’t belong to anyone. It would’ve been a disservice to Kate’s character if she suddenly becomes subservient to Curran and vice versa. But somehow Ilona Andrews made it work. That doesn’t mean they didn’t make mistakes. They made plenty of mistakes. They had their share of jealous fits and misunderstanding but the way the authors handled their conflict was wonderful.

Mad gold eyes stared into mine. “Do you miss me, Kate?”
I closed my eyes trying to shut him out. I could lie then we would be back to square one. Nothing would be resolved. I’d still be alone, hating him and wanting him.
He grabbed my shoulders and shook me once. “Do you miss me?”
I took the plunge. “Yes.”

I’ve never read 4 straight books in a series before. Never. I tend to get bored easily even with series I love. But this is just too good to put down. So I’m off to read book 5.

I gave him my hard stare. “You’re a control freak and I fight all authority. And you want us to mate?”
A wicked spark lit his eyes. “Many, many times.”

 

Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army.

Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Oregon with their two children, three dogs and a cat. They have co-authored two series, the bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge.

 

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Geri’s Review: Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels #3) by Ilona Andrews

MAGIC STRIKES
Series: Kate Daniels #3
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Author: Ilona Andrews
Release Date: February 20, 2009

When magic strikes and Atlanta goes to pieces, it’s a job for Kate Daniels…

Drafted to work for the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems these days than she knows what to do with.

And in Atlanta, where magic comes and goes like the tide, that’s saying a lot.

But when Kate’s werewolf friend Derek is discovered nearly dead, she must confront her greatest challenge yet.

As her investigation leads her to the Midnight Games—an invitation-only, no-holds-barred, ultimate preternatural fighting tournament—she and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, uncover a dark plot that may forever alter the face of Atlanta’s shapeshifting community…

 

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I was conceived, born, raised and trained with one purpose in mind: to become the best killer I could be. It’s what I do.”

There are two things that I was curious about coming into this series. One, I wanted to know why Kate Daniels is so universally beloved by readers. Two, I wanted to know why the Curran-and-Kate pairing was deemed the OTP by so many who loved the series.

It becomes readily apparent why Kate and Curran are so loved by so many as the series progress. By the third book, I’m now a certified Kate Daniels evangelist.
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Yes! I love Kate’s character. She is one of my favorite heroines ever, if not my ultimate favorite. You just can’t help but love her character! If you look up “badass” in the dictionary, her picture would be in there. She’s brave, resourceful, and so hilarious. She’s also very relatable.

I had imagined our encounter a dozen times. I had constructed long conversations in my head, full of barbs and witty comebacks.
The bastard didn’t show.

And Curran is just the perfect scary, alpha, beast Lord who matches Kate perfectly. They infuriate each other and their interaction and dialogue are so hilarious and scary cute, I can’t help but fall in love with them more and more. I really get why there are so many Tumblr posts dedicated to this couple. They are amazing as individuals and as a couple.

Every time, I think you’ve reached the limit of your arrogance, you show me new heights. Truly, your egotism is like the Universe—ever expanding.”

You sure you don’t want to kiss me goodbye, baby?”
“How about a goodbye kick to the throat?”

Magic Strikes is a high-quality adult UF. It’s not just tightly plotted, with twists and turns, and enormous stakes, it’s also very character driven. Kate Daniels, our titular heroine who now works for the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid is working against the clock to find the people who attacked one of her friends. Her investigation led her to the Midnight Games, an illegal fight-to-death tournament attended and participated by powerful and magical beings. And one of them are out to annihilate Kate and the people she’s come to recognize as her friends.

From the gladiator arena type battles to the intriguing and sinister plot, Magic Strikes is a book that once you start, you can’t put down until you’ve finished it. It will consume you. I was so invested in these characters and the story that I couldn’t possibly leave them while their lives hang in a balance!

I think you’re confused as to the nature of our relationship. You and I, we don’t get along. You’re a psychopathic control freak. You order me around and I want to kill you.”

 

I love how heroine-centric this series is. And it’s not just Kate, by the way. One of the things that used to frustrate me with UF is that its heroines tend to be so special that they can’t have any other female characters in the story that might take away from the specialness of the heroine. Every guy has to be in love with her, etc. etc.

Not so with Kate Daniels. There are other female characters that are as beautiful, (if not more so), intelligent and as skillful as Kate. It makes me so happy to see female characters of color in all shapes and sizes having and exercising their agency.

We need a team name.”
“Hunters,” Raphael said.
“Valiant Knights of the Fur,” Dali said.
“Justice Group.” Jim said. “Since Justice League is taken.”

I can’t say enough about this series. If you’re a fan of urban fantasy, I highly recommend you guys read this. Even if you haven’t tried UF before, this series is definitely a great way to immerse yourself in this genre. Yes, the romance may not be central but it still very strong and swoony.

His Majesty needs a can-I girl anyway. And I’m not it.”
“A can-I girl?” Andrea frowned.
I leaned back. “ ‘ Can I fetch you your food, Your Majesty? Can I tell you how strong and mighty you are, Your Majesty? Can I pick out your fleas, Your Majesty? Can I kiss your ass, Your Majesty? Can I…”
It dawned on me that Raphael was sitting very still. Frozen, like a statue, his gaze fixed on the point above my head.
“He’s standing behind me, isn’t he?”
Andrea nodded slowly.
“Technically it should be ‘may I,’” Curran said, his voice deeper than I remembered. “Since you’re asking permission.”

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Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army.

Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Oregon with their two children, three dogs and a cat. They have co-authored two series, the bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge.

 

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