Friday, 14 August 2009

Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

Magic Strikes is the third Kate Daniel's novel. When Kate's werewolf friend, Derek, is discovered nearly beaten to death she determines to find who did this to him and make them pay. However, this means going against the law of Curran, the Beast Lord of Atlanta and takes her undercover into the world of the Midnight Games. This time she'll be at greater risk than ever before and the reader will finally have her secret confirmed. (Did anyone else wonder why Kate has got such a nasty bruise on her arm on the cover?)

I admit this one took me a while to get round to - which I'm sure amazes a lot of people. It's just underground fighting rings - not really my cup of tea. I still don't think I'm wrong about that, lol, but I do think I made a mistake leaving it so long to pick this up. Mainly because the Midnight Games are more of a backdrop allowing the plot to happen rather than taking over the book. What's more interesting is the interaction between the characters and how relationships develop here as Kate and friends have to fight in the games to find not only Derek's killer but also to prevent a catastrophic shift in power in Atlanta.

As always the banter between Kate and Curran is worth the price of the book alone. I love how their relationship develops here. Particularly further evidence of Curran's courting technique.
"I thought you were some sort of maniac!" I growled.
"I am."
If I had to single out a favourite scene it would be the discussion between Raphael and Kate about different alphas courting rituals. Robert the rat alpha and the M&M's, the courtship of the Hyena alpha and the incident with the cat. It's these little titbits that make the Kate Daniel's books required reading for the urban fantasy fan. It's what makes the characters come alive and the worldbuilding seem so real.

We finally get confirmation of what Kate's secret is. I say it this way because I'd pretty much guessed what it was - mainly to do with the ritualistic way she disposes of any bandages she has to use. It makes me very interested in the next book in the series - Magic Bleeds.

I like the individual development of Kate and Curran here. We find out much more about their back story (and also Saiman's). And it's interesting what Kate says about how she puts her friends into danger
"Everyone I dared to care about died, violently and in pain."
(also thinking back to the first book when she was something of a loner), and now she seems to have an expanding circle of people that she cares about. Which makes her life more complicated and makes her personally more vulnerable.

Favourite new character is Dali. The description of her - the vegetarian, cross-eyed were-tiger - is so endearing. And am I alone in sensing chemistry between her and Jim?

In a way I'm glad I left it so long before picking this one up, because it means the interminable wait until the next book will be that much shorter. And predict I'll be tearing into that one rather than let it linger on the shelf.


Kris said...

I liked this one much more than the second, even though I did find that a good read too. The reason for this was exactly for what you describe as 'the interaction between the characters and how relationships develop'.

I was also very excited by the insight you got into Kate's background. Can't wait for the next book to find out what happens next. :)

Then, of course, there is Curran. *sigh* Love him muchly.

Christine said...

Hi Lesley.
I just knew you were going to love MAGIC STRIKES! I think Ilona Andrews gets better and better with each subsequent novel. I think her story telling and characterizations have steadily improved... or maybe that's just the nature of developing a UF series. In any case, this is a fantastic novel. I really love the way the romance between Kate and Curran is developing slowly, yet the reader can feel the undertow of their attraction from the first book.

LesleyW said...

Kris - I am absolutely impatient for the next book now! And Curran - one of my favourite UF heroes. :)

Christine - I love how in each novel they circle a little closer to each other. Though I'm not sure we'll get to see the naked dinner.