Magic Burns picks up three months after Magic Bites. Atlanta is about to experience a flare - a time (every seven years) when magic runs rampant. So things in Kate's life are even crazier than usual. A simple job for the Pack (Atlanta's paramilitary clan of shapeshifters) to retrieve some maps, puts Kate in the path of two Gods fighting a battle of power. The price for stopping this war is going to be high.
Whilst I could just quote and quote from this book, the dialogue is sparky, witty and compelling, I will restrain myself so you can read the best bits for yourself.
Julie stared at me from the crates. "He went poof."Kate is a spunky, smart-mouthed heroine, who doesn't always think before she opens up her mouth, but is usually able to think fast enough to get herself out of any trouble her mouth gets her into. Though she should really know better than to preface a visit to anyone in Atlanta with the comment "...he's harmless." (That has to vie with "I'll be right back" as the top thing not to say in a dangerous situation.) Although a lot of this book will have a smile on your face, or have you reading faster to keep up with the action. It's intercut with moments of seriousness and sadness - a bit like real life in that way, but without the shapeshifters and the vampires and the impending apocalypse.
"Yes, he did."
"He likes you. He grabbed your butt."
"Next time I see him, I'll cut his arm off..."
Retrieving the maps is not as easy as it sounds. Whenever Kate gets her hands on them, the thief steals them back. Bran is a character you can't help but like. He's such a rascal. :)
'"Hello, dove." He grinned at me. "Look at that: you don't have your pretty knife and I've got your hands. What are you gonna do now?"The relationship he has with Kate is both funny and sad, though I think at the end of the book he is her champion.
I rammed my head into his nose.'
There are some nice set pieces in this book. At the beginning Kate summarizes the attitudes of the police, the guild and the order to supernatural problems. A great catch-up for anyone who missed the first book. Probably my favourite section is when Kate has to visit the werehyenas, not only for the stuff we find out, but also because the characters of the hyenas are just so hyena-like. I read that bit and I've got the trio from the Lion King in my head.
In some ways this book is more fantastical, and I wonder how much of that can be attributed to the flare. The number and variety of supernatural creatures on display increases - salamanders, stymphalean birds, giant tortoises - as does the strength of magical activity. It gives you an idea of what Atlanta would be like if it ever tipped completely over into the magical world. (Slightly reminded me of Simon R. Greens Nightside).
We get a lot more hints about Kate's secret. Some whacking big clues. I'm pretty sure I know what it is but it doesn't really annoy me that we still don't know for sure. I like that it's slowly unfolding with events.
The chemistry between Kate and Curran increases. Phew!
Quibble - On page 26 when Kate comes across a chasm in the ground she 'estimates' it's size as at least a mile wide, close to a quarter mile deep and stretching forth for a good two miles! And I just don't think you can put quantities on a hole that big. But hey, when that's the only complaint you've got about a book, you really shouldn't be complaining.
Any book that can make you laugh and cry is a keeper. My major gripe is that 2009 is too long to wait for the next book.