Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Review: Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews

Magic Shifts
Author:  Ilona Andrews
Series:  Kate Daniels 8
Publisher:  Ace, August 4, 2015
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
List Price:   $25.95 (print); $12.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780425270677 (print); 9780698136779 (eBook)
Review Copy:  Reviewer's Own

In the latest Kate Daniels novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews, magic is coming and going in waves in post-Shift Atlanta—and each crest leaves danger in its wake…

After breaking from life with the Pack, mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate—former Beast Lord Curran Lennart—are adjusting to a very different pace. While they’re thrilled to escape all the infighting, Kate and Curran know that separating from the Pack completely is a process that will take time.

But when they learn that their friend Eduardo has gone missing, Kate and Curran shift their focus to investigate his disappearance. Eduardo was a fellow member of the Mercenary Guild, so Kate knows the best place to start looking is his most recent jobs. As Kate and Curran dig further into the merc’s business, they discover that the Guild has gone to hell and that Eduardo’s assignments are connected in the most sinister way…

An ancient enemy has arisen, and Kate and Curran are the only ones who can stop it—before it takes their city apart piece by piece.

Doreen’s Thoughts

This is the eighth book in Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series, and the stories just get better and better. From the writing team of Ilona and her husband Gordon, Kate Daniels is a kick-ass warrior in a post-apocalyptic Atlanta, Georgia, where magic fluctuates with technology in unpredictable waves. In the former stories, Kate and Curran flirt and fight beside each other before becoming partners and mates. In the last novel, Kate claimed the City of Atlanta as hers against her father, Roland, and Curran was forced to step down from his role as the Beast lord of the Pack if he wanted to remain with Kate.

Magic Shifts starts several months after the last book, with Kate and Curran setting up their new life in a new home and separating their business lives from the Pack. They work together in the Cutting Edge business eliminating unwanted magical predators and solving magical mysteries. Their friend and comrade, Eduardo, apparently has disappeared, and Curran’s step-sister, George, hires them to track him down since no one in the Pack will bother.

I love the interaction between Kate and Curran and their overall irreverence towards the many problems that face them. In the first chapter, Kate is teasing the Master of Vampires Ghastek by implying that they will face Curran’s wrath for meeting secretly without him. Poor Ghastek is not amused, not only by Kate’s gentle ribbing, but by the knowledge that the God of Vampires, Roland, is actually Kate’s father.

As part of separating his finances from those of the Pack, Curran receives an offer to take over the Mercenary Guild, which has been in major disarray for several novels. While everyone agrees that the Guild is currently a bad bet, when Curran and Kate visit them for the first time, Curran is challenged by the various mercenaries who have no interest in letting anyone run their business. You can almost see Curran drooling over the challenge that they offer him because he thrives on taking a poorly run business and making it over into a thriving one. You just know that running the Guild will be a major topic in one of the two remaining books in the series.

I also appreciate the research that the writers do in obscure mythology from different parts of the world. While they have addressed Russian and Egyptian myths in past stories, this time they face Arabic creatures and mythology – as from Ali Baba stories. These are not just the lamps and genies that you might expect, but rather flesh-eating unicorns and giant sand scorpions.

Kate started out as a solitary character who had been raised to avoid any and all extraneous relationships. Now she has a mate as well as a foster child, and a whole group of friends willing to leave the Pack in order to continue to work with her. She also has a complex relationship with her father, Roland, who actually killed her mother in an effort to prevent herself from living. Now, Roland seeks a relationship with the only other godlike entity in the world, Kate herself. She has grown and evolved in relation to her friends and family, and it has made her a stronger character.

What has not changed has been her willingness to sacrifice herself for others. In this particular story, she injures herself more seriously than she ever has before and there is some question about what damage, if any, might remain after the intense healing that may or may not work. I appreciate a character who is willing and able to change in most ways, but stubbornly refuses to lose that one characteristic that may ultimately be the end of her.

I cannot recommend the Kate Daniels series enough. I love the characters, the stories, and the mythology – everything about it. The week of August 4th was a great book week, with Magic Breaks being one of my favorite books published!


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