Book Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Book Review: Uprooted by Naomi NovikUprooted by Naomi Novik
Published by Del Rey on May 19, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 438
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
4 Stars
“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Book Review:

UPROOTED’S description likens the book to a Grimm fairy tale, and that’s a comparison I’d agree with. The scariest thing in the book isn’t a particular bad guy, but an entire forest: the Wood. It’s malevolent and corruptive, and if you venture inside, you won’t come out the same.

Agnieszka lives on the edge of the Wood. Her valley is protected by the Dragon, a great wizard who demands a girl every ten years to serve in his Tower as payment. Everyone expects that Kasia, beautiful and talented Kasia who’s prepared all her life for this indenture, will be taken. Agnieszka’s devastated about it, because Kasia’s her best friend. But when she herself is chosen, everything Agnieszka knows changes.

UPROOTED has an Eastern European folk tale feel, and since so many fantasies are set in pseudo-Western European countries, I appreciated that. I also liked how different types of magic were presented. Agnieszka’s chosen because she has magical ability, but when the Dragon tries to teach her his spells, they don’t work and tire her. Why? Because her magic is intuitive; she feels her way through spells rather than commands them.

I really liked the Wood in UPROOTED. It’s delightfully creepy, and I liked how the author slowly revealed information about it. The Wood was my favorite part of the book; I especially liked the ultimate reveal about its creation. Agnieszka’s stubbornness also endeared her to me, because I felt her attitude and reactions to events were quite realistic (and probably ones I’d have myself).

UPROOTED did have a couple of downsides for me. At times, I thought the pace was really slow, and my attention would wander while reading. I also wasn’t a fan of the relationship that develops between Agnieszka and the Dragon. Thankfully the romance isn’t in your face, but I just didn’t see why they were attracted to each other. Lastly, I wanted more character development for the Dragon and Kasia. A lot of development was put into the Wood; I wish even a bit of that had been given to the Dragon and Kasia, since they are important characters.

As far as I can tell, UPROOTED is a standalone, and I did like the way it ended. It’s always nice to get a complete story in a book, rather than have to wait 2-3 years or more. But at the same time, I wouldn’t mind a return to this world.

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Naomi Novik:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell

Book Review: Mechanica by Betsy CornwellMechanica by Betsy Cornwell
Published by Clarion Books on August 25, 2015
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
4 Stars
Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn't want a fairy tale happy ending after all.

Book Review:

I really like the idea behind MECHANICA. While inspired by Cinderella, MECHANICA is more than a fairytale retelling. Nicolette is determined to make her own way in the world by becoming a successful inventor just like her mother. But with both of her parents gone, Nicolette’s been turned into a servant for her Stepmother and step-sisters. On her sixteenth birthday, she receives a letter from her long-dead mother, informing her how to get into the workshop hidden in the cellar.

Having the workshop changes everything. Suddenly Nicolette’s able to invent her own machines, rather than just fix the ones left from her mother’s day. Nicolette comes up with a plan for independence, working very hard to perfect her projects and find ways of making money. Unlike many fairytale princesses, she doesn’t sit around and mope while waiting for a prince to rescue her.

I was a little wary at first when she met Fin and Caro, and warier still when she had such strong feelings for Fin. But. BUT. I love how the author handled the whole thing in the end. Nicolette thought about her feelings for Fin quite a bit, and a lot of the time, he was like an imaginary friend, someone to talk to during the long, rough days. And when there’s a chance for them to be together, she thinks about what she wants, not what everyone else wants. MECHANICA doesn’t go the usual route of romance in YA, and I was so, so, SO happy about that. I also liked that the author mentioned how the Fey have friend families instead of spouses.

MECHANICA did have a couple of things I have to nitpick. Is there another book coming? I can’t find any information so far, but I sure hope so. There were some unresolved things that were really built up, like the Ashes. I also hoped for more information on what happened during/after the Exposition, since attending it was so important to Nicolette. I didn’t find MECHANICA to have a real big climax, just a kind of whimper at the end, regarding both the Exposition and the Steps.

Overall, however, I quite enjoyed MECHANICA and Nicolette. I really do hope there is a sequel, so I can watch her continue to grow and find out more about the fascinating world the author created.

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Betsy Cornwell:
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– leeanna

Book Review: The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy

Book Review: The Creeping by Alexandra SirowyThe Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on August 18, 2015
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
2 Stars
Eleven years ago, Stella and Jeanie disappeared. Stella came back. Jeanie never did.

Now all she wants is a summer full of cove days, friends, and her gorgeous crush—until a fresh corpse leads Stella down a path of ancient evil and secrets.

Stella believes remembering what happened to Jeanie will save her. It won’t.

She used to know better than to believe in what slinks through the shadows. Not anymore.

Book Review:

THE CREEPING has an interesting premise. When they were six, Stella and Jeanie were in the woods. Only Stella came back. Jeanie disappeared, never to be seen again. Stella has no memories of that day or any before it, so she wasn’t able to help the police. Years later, Stella’s put all that behind her, and now she’s a popular girl, concerned with kissing hot boys and having a great senior year. But then she finds a dead little girl, a girl who reminds her of Jeanie.

THE CREEPING is one third creepy and two thirds boring. A huge part of the book is Stella and her monologuing on being popular and boys. For a book titled “THE CREEPING,” I expected more creepy stuff. I mean, there’s some there, but really, a lot of the focus is on Stella and guys and her friends. Stella’s somewhat of a bitch at first, but I didn’t really mind that. I found her attitude and the attitudes and behaviors of her friends to be realistic. It was just a bit much for me, especially all the “There’s no way he’ll help me. I was a jerk to him. Oh he’s cute. Why do I like him? He’s geeky.” etc. over and over.

He refers to Sam, Stella’s childhood friend. I quite liked Sam, as he’s sweeter and more helpful than a lot of the guys you find in YA books. He’s always there for Stella, even when she’s a complete bitch to him. I did wonder why he was so loyal.

Okay. The creepy part of THE CREEPING. I won’t spoil it, but the author did surprise me with the final reveal. I just wish that more of the book had been, well, creepy! By the middle of THE CREEPING, I wanted to skim the teenage angst bits and get to the creepy sections. I do think the book is too long — 400+ pages of teenage angst and only a bit of mystery was about 150 pages too much.

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Alexandra Sirowy:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman

Book Review: Legacy of Kings by Eleanor HermanLegacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman
Series: Blood of Gods and Royals #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on August 18, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
3 Stars
Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancée, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Weaving fantasy with the salacious and fascinating details of real history, New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known: Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.

Book Review:

I love historical fiction, especially historical fiction that covers less popular time periods than Tudor England or WWII. There’s nothing wrong with those periods, but there are thousands of years of stories to tell rather than rehashing the same thing over and over. So, I was obviously excited to start LEGACY OF KINGS. Alexander the Great as a boy? Bring it on!

LEGACY OF KINGS is the first in the Blood of Gods and Royals series. It’s over 400 pages, and for the first book in a series, it felt about a hundred pages too long. Part of the reason why I felt it was too long is there’s a huge cast of main characters. There are seven! The author had to spend a lot of time introducing everyone and setting up their arcs. I’m sure all the characters are important in their own way, but a few were boring for me, because they didn’t get a lot of page time and I didn’t know enough about them. Yes, I know that’s contradictory, but I wish the author had slimmed down her cast and really focused on characters such as Alexander and Cynane.

Due to the large cast, LEGACY OF KINGS has a slow start. It takes the book a while to get going, and switching perspectives didn’t immerse me in the time period at first. But I kept going, and after I’d gone through everyone’s perspectives at least once, the book got better. I swore I was reading a historical soap opera — but in a good, really entertaining way.

I think the author did a great job of showing life in ancient Macedonia. I really liked the little details, such as how there’s a bucket of sand in most rooms in case of fire. I also like how there’s some magic in LEGACY OF KINGS, and hints of more to come. It’s the end of the Age of Gods … or is it? I don’t know, and I can’t wait to find out.

I wavered between three and four stars for LEGACY OF KINGS. It’s a book I liked because of the time period and the story. But I didn’t love it, due to the large cast of characters and the slow pacing. Based on the ending, I think the author’s going to really amp things up in the next book, EMPIRE OF DUST, so this is a series I’m eager to continue.

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– leeanna

Book Review: Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews

Book Review: Magic Shifts by Ilona AndrewsMagic Shifts by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #8
Published by Ace on August 4, 2015
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 342
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
5 Stars
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, Curran misses the constant challenges of leading the shapeshifters.

So when the Pack offers him its stake in the Mercenary Guild, Curran seizes the opportunity—too bad the Guild wants nothing to do with him and Kate. Luckily, as a veteran merc, Kate can take over any of the Guild’s unfinished jobs in order to bring in money and build their reputation. But what Kate and Curran don’t realize is that the odd jobs they’ve been working are all connected.

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…

Book Review:

MAGIC SHIFTS is the eighth book in the super awesome Kate Daniels series. I just read the entire series to get caught up to MAGIC SHIFTS, and this is one series where the books get better and better. I can’t recommend this series enough if you like a snarky, kick butt heroine, solid and creative worldbuilding, and villains and bad magic from all over the globe.

In MAGIC SHIFTS, Kate and Curran are trying to live a normal life. As normal as life can be when Kate’s the daughter of the most powerful man alive and Curran’s the former Beast Lord. Thanks to Kate’s agreement with her father in the previous book, MAGIC BREAKS, they’ve left the Pack. But instead of settling into their new house, they’re catapulted into a confusing investigation when Eduardo, a werebison, goes missing.

THE GOOD:

♥ I was a little worried when I started MAGIC SHIFTS, because one of my favorite things about this series is the Pack. I liked watching Kate manage the shapeshifters, and seeing them bicker and politic their way around the Keep. But many of the characters I liked in previous books are still in the series, and you know what? Kate and Curran shine even outside of the Pack. Their relationship is solid but still growing, and seeing Curran try to behave for the neighbors was hilarious.

♥ At last, there are some real consequences for Kate throwing herself headlong into danger. I enjoy how Kate never hesitates to draw her sword and rush into a fight, but with the amount of abuse she puts her body through, you start to wonder how she’s still alive, even with magic. I won’t spoil things, but I loved what happens to her in MAGIC SHIFTS.

♥ Three words: Roland. Likes. Applebee’s. Those three words lead to what has to be one of my favorite scenes in the whole series. Again, I’m not going to spoil the fantasticness, but I like where the author’s going with Kate and Roland.

♥ As with the bad guys in other books, the author doesn’t go with the traditional Western European supernatural creatures. I’ve seen the creature in MAGIC SHIFTS before, but this time it was scary. Yet again, I don’t want to drop spoilers, but I will say I’ve never read such a cool theory on ghouls.

THE BAD:

Nothing. Nothing at all.

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Ilona Andrews:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

Book Review: Magic Breaks by Ilona AndrewsMagic Breaks by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #7
on July 29, 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 348
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
5 Stars
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…

Book Review:

Daaaaamn. I just finished MAGIC BREAKS, and I’m at a loss for words. I’ve said this in almost every review I’ve written for the Kate Daniels series, but this is a series where the books just get better and better.

I’ve been looking forward to Kate’s confrontation with her father for seven books now. I had absolutely no idea how the author would handle it, since Kate’s always known that Roland has a gazillion times more magic than she does. I’m not going to spoil what does happen, but I like how it all went down. It makes sense and shows how much Kate has grown over the series. Because you know if she had met Roland in book one, she would have stuck Slayer in his heart, and he would have killed her, and that would have been it. But now that Kate has lots of friends, fiancé Curran, adopted street kid Julie, and the welfare of the Pack to worry about, she can’t go in sword point first.

In other books, I liked seeing lots of the Pack, but I also missed the Kate from the first few in the series, where she was more on her own. In MAGIC BREAKS, Kate’s separated from Curran and the Pack, and she has to rely on every bit of training from Voron to stay alive. I loved it. I had absolutely no idea where the story was going in this book, and I loved that, too. It was also great to learn even more about Roland and Kate’s powers, which is something I enjoy in every installment. The author has some super creative ideas for magic.

I’ve been binge reading this series, but if you’ve been following it all along and need a refresher, the author includes a handy list of characters and summary of events by Barabas, Kate’s bouda nanny.

One of my favorite things about the Kate Daniels series is how talented the author is at making me feel about every single character. Lots of old faces are back in MAGIC BREAKS as well as some new ones. Even though I’ve never really liked Ghastek before, I felt for him in this book. Same with the alpha wererat couple, Robert and Thomas. Christopher, the insane guy Kate rescued in MAGIC RISES, shows up too, and I felt for him. Seriously. These characters tug on my (mostly nonexistent) heartstrings.

And the last page of MAGIC BREAKS? As Kate would say, “Why me?” I’d have screamed that if I had to wait a year for the next book, MAGIC SHIFTS.

Socialize with the author:

Ilona Andrews:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

Book Review: Magic Rises by Ilona AndrewsMagic Rises by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #6
Published by Ace on July 30, 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 355
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Goodreads
5 Stars
Mercenary Kate Daniels narrates a surprising trip with her bite-me humor. The pack of her mate Curran, werelion Beast Lord, need rare medicine from Europe to save children who die from stuck shapeshifting. Europe offers them barrels of the drug if they guard a spoiled princess. Knowing the invite is a trap, of course they sail right in.

Book Review:

MAGIC RISES is the sixth book in the Kate Daniels series. This is the first book where we get to see the rest of the world Post-Shift, as Kate and the Pack travel to Europe to guard a pregnant shapeshifter. They know it’s a trap, but they go anyway, because the promised payment is panacea, a medicine that can reverse loupism.

I really liked getting to see more of the world than just Atlanta. It’s good to see how other countries cope (or don’t) with magic, and who has come out on top. You won’t believe who the lord of the castle is in MAGIC RISES — but he’s an excellent pick. MAGIC RISES has a lot of Pack dealings, but it also moves Kate’s arc towards her inevitable confrontation with her father. I appreciate that the author isn’t making Roland a one book enemy, and I like how we’ve learned more about his background and Kate’s powers as the series progresses.

I wasn’t super thrilled with Curran in this book; it felt like Kate and Curran’s relationship took a step backwards. There are a couple of inconsistencies with how they act, and I wanted to slap Curran for a good portion of MAGIC RISES. I didn’t buy his excuse for the whole thing with Lorelei, and with the sheer amount of important stuff happening, I could’ve done without the relationship problems.

Otherwise, I really enjoyed MAGIC RISES. As usual, I can’t believe how much the author packed into the book: a bodyguard case, the lord of the castle, mysterious new shapeshifters, Kate/Curran, and some big important battles. There were a few scenes that made my eyes sting, because I care so much about the characters in this series.

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– leeanna

Book Review: Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

Book Review: Magic Slays by Ilona AndrewsMagic Slays by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #5
Published by Ace on May 31, 2011
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 308
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Goodreads
5 Stars
Plagued by a war between magic and technology, Atlanta has never been so deadly. Good thing Kate Daniels is on the job.

Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but she's still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be now that the Order is disparaging her good name, and many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate's mate.

So when Atlanta's premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. Turns out this is not an isolated incident, and Kate needs to get to the bottom of it fast, or the city and everyone dear to her might pay the ultimate price.

Book Review:

MAGIC SLAYS is the fifth book in the Kate Daniels series. I say this every review, but the books in this series just keep getting better and better! I’m a latecomer to this amazing urban fantasy series, but that’s good in a way, because I can’t imagine waiting a year between installments.

If you thought Erra was bad in the previous book, MAGIC BLEEDS, the bad guys in MAGIC SLAYS are even worse. Kate’s case this time spotlights a danger to the entire city of Atlanta. It’s something she can’t handle herself, even though she’s quit the Order and doesn’t have them holding her back anymore. I really liked the big fight in MAGIC SLAYS, because lots of different groups come and fight together — it felt epic in scope.

My favorite things about this series include Kate, Kate and Curran, the Pack, and the other characters. The author continues to deliver on all of those points.

♥ Kate has grown so much from the first book in the series while staying true to herself that it’s incredible. She’s still snarky and bad ass, but now more vulnerable because she’s formed attachments and friendships with people.

♥ Kate and Curran — their relationship has become one of my favorite in an urban fantasy series. They bicker and have to work to develop their relationship and support each other. It’s realistic, which is always important to me.

♥ I do so enjoy the Pack. It’s great to see Kate act as the Alpha, showing the shapeshifters that she can act like them without going furry, and that she’ll protect them just as much as Curran does.

♥ I love Kate and Curran, but I also love all the other characters in this series. The author’s really good at making you feel for everybody, if they’re in one scene or multiple books. Andrea is back, which was great, since I like her friendship with Kate. Julie’s also back, yay! Although maybe not yay, because the poor kid goes through some rough stuff. The new bouda Ascanio’s a hoot, and the attack poodle Grendel is back. Seriously, there are some great characters in this series, and I’m greedy enough to want novellas about all of them.

MAGIC SLAYS slays it.

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Ilona Andrews:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews

Book Review: Magic Bleeds by Ilona AndrewsMagic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #4
Published by Ace on May 25, 2010
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 349
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Goodreads
5 Stars
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 that there's a new player in town. One who's been around for thousands of years - and who 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.

Book Review:

MAGIC BLEEDS is the fourth book in the Kate Daniels series. I’ve been binge reading this series, and each book is better than the last, which is rare in a series. Kate Daniels has a spot on my favorite kickbutt characters list. She’s just plain awesome.

MAGIC BLEEDS digs deeper into Kate’s background than previous books have. Kate’s case starts out as a typical Order investigation — as typical as something involving magic, death, and deadly diseases can be. Which, of course, is pretty typical in the author’s version of Atlanta, where magic and tech alternately rule supreme. But the case becomes something more when she finds out the true identity of the Steel Mary who’s been infecting corpses with diseases like syphilis and cholera.

As with the other books in this series, I enjoyed the lore of the bad guy, which was inspired by Babylonian mythology. I never know what’s going to come next, or how Kate will save the day, which is something I love. It’s never fun when books are too predictable. I was scared for Kate and Curran and Atlanta, because there were some nail-biting action scenes where it looked like the end was about to come.

Kate and Curran’s relationship takes a huge step forward in MAGIC BLEEDS. I’m usually picky on romances, but I like the way the author’s developed theirs over the course of the series. I thought what happened between Kate and Curran was realistic, which is really important for me with romances. They act as they’ve been characterized — they don’t change personalities as things heat up or cool down.

I also liked getting to see more of Pack politics. How well do wolves, rats, cats, hyenas, and other shapeshifters get along? Not very well. The Pack, its structure, and politics are just one more thing I enjoy about this series. I like how the author’s given each clan a distinct personality and place in the hierarchy, because I love seeing Kate come in and totally ignore everything.

MAGIC BLEEDS is full of everything I like about the Kate Daniels series: inventive magic, a scary world, well-developed characters, creative use of mythology and supernatural creatures, and too many other things to name.

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– leeanna

Book Review: Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

Book Review: Magic Strikes by Ilona AndrewsMagic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #3
Published by Ace on March 31, 2009
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 310
Format: Paperback
Source: Own
Goodreads
5 Stars
When magic strikes and Atlanta goes to pieces, it’s a job for Kate Daniels…

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

Book Review:

MAGIC STRIKES is the third book in the Kate Daniels series. I highly recommend this series if you like creative urban fantasy with a side of kickbutt heroine, sizzling chemistry, and non-stop action.

In MAGIC STRIKES, we at last learn more about Kate and her background. Previous books in the series had some clues, but here we get the full story. Why Kate is so careful about never leaving her blood or any traces of it around. Why Kate knows so much about the powerful, mysterious, and secret leader of the People. And why Kate is a loner, which might be the most important information of all, since she bucks all of her life experience and training to help her friends.

Kate doesn’t have many friends, you see, so when Derek ends up nearly dead, she’s willing to take part in a deadly tournament to get revenge on his attackers. The bad guys in MAGIC STRIKES are inspired by Hindu mythology, and damn, they were creepy and scary, but also cool. I like how the author never sticks with the traditional Western European baddies, but draws inspiration from all over the globe.

I enjoyed every aspect of MAGIC STRIKES, from watching Kate’s protective side come out again to seeing her growing friendships with a variety of Pack members. Julie from MAGIC BURNS even makes a cameo appearance; I was happy to see her again. And I can’t forget the romantic relationship developing between Kate and Curran. I’m not always a fan of romances, but I appreciate that this one hasn’t been rushed, and that Kate doesn’t lose herself whenever Curran shows up. She admits she’s attracted to him, but she doesn’t let that attraction override her brain.

The ending made me snort with laughter. I’m not going to spoil, but it’s good. That’s just one more thing I like about Ilona Andrews’ writing — it makes me laugh all the time, even in the middle of a dangerous action scene or when Kate’s just sitting in her apartment.

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– leeanna