Next Author: Piers Anthony
Previous Author: Jo Anderton

Ilona Andrews

Ilona AndrewsNew York Times Bestselling author 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 Portland with their two children, three dogs and a cat.

Magic Bites: A lot of points for creativity

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Magic Bites (2007) is an exciting urban fantasy with a unique premise and detailed world-building, somewhat marred by an unsatisfying twist in the story's central mystery.

I give Ilona Andrews a lot of points for creativity here. In Magic Bites' near-future setting, magic and technology come and go a bit like the weather; when magic is working, tech isn't, and vice versa. The shifts are unpredictable, but it can be assumed there will be several per day. Andrews explores all the aspects of this situation and the ways people find to cope with it (magic-powered light bulbs to back up electric ones, horseback travel, etc.).  I loved the well-thought-out explanation for why telephones occasionally work during a magic phase. Especially haunting was the image of downtown Atlanta, its skyscrapers crumbling away with every onslaught of magic... Read More

Magic Burns: No sophomore slump!

Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews

No sophomore slump here! Ilona Andrews follows — and tops — her debut novel with an excellent sequel, Magic Burns (2008).

We get some more world-building. Andrews explains, in a way that flows smoothly with the story and doesn’t feel like an infodump, the theory as to why the magic and tech have gone wonky in the first place. We also learn about magic flares, which occur roughly every seven years. During these upsurges in magic, powerful and dangerous summonings can be done. As Magic Burns begins, a magic flare has kicked in and Kate finds herself entangled in the mystery of a witch coven who disappeared after getting in over their heads.

Kate is growing as a character as this series progresses. In Magic Burns, she lets a few more people into her heart, and I don’t just mean romantical... Read More

Magic Strikes: Ilona Andrews does it again!

Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

I didn't know how much I'd missed Ilona Andrews' writing until I started reading Magic Strikes (2009). Part of it is the prose. It's vivid, it has a great streak of humor running through it, and best of all, it's smooth. The reader is never jolted out of the story by a grammar snafu or an awkward phrase.

Part of it is Andrews' continued use of a wide variety of myths. Andrews is one of the few urban fantasy authors who seem to realize folklore is a huge sandbox. The human imagination has dreamed up all sorts of things that go bump in the night; why stick to just vampires and werewolves? I won't reveal what creatures lurk within Magic Strikes, as that's part of the central mystery, but it's different from anything Andrews has done before.

Then there's the chance to... Read More

Magic Bleeds: Bursting at the seams with plot

Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews

Ever since that teaser chapter at the end of On the Edge, we Ilona Andrews fans have been dying to get our hands on Magic Bleeds (2010). Curran stands Kate up, and when she calls the Keep trying to reach him, his people give her a humiliating brush-off. Not knowing why this happened, and what happens next, has had us anxious for months! Well, fellow Andrews fans, this is the book you’ve been waiting for. And the first thing you want to know, I’m sure, is “is it worth the wait?”

In a word, yes!

Kate Daniels is my favorite urban fantasy series, yet between books, I sometimes forget just how much I’m craving this character, this voice. I don’t realize how much I’ve missed it until I can sink into it again. When I reached these lines —

Who the hell would attack the Stee... Read More

Magic Slays: If you haven’t been reading the series, you should!

Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

Kate Daniels has opened her new business, Cutting Edge Investigations, but there’s just one problem: no clients. “If things kept going this way,” she muses, “I would be forced to run up and down the street screaming ‘We kill things for money.’” It’s not that she needs the money, really; it’s more that she wants to be a successful, independent businesswoman rather than just Curran’s consort.

So when a case comes her way, Kate takes it, even though it’s not the sort of mission she’s used to. Elite bodyguards were protecting an inventor of magical objects at a remote cabin in the woods. Someone got past the guards, killed one of them, and absconded with the inventor and his dangerous project. Kate must find out where the man and his device have been taken, especially once she uncovers a terrible truth about the device’s function.

Meanwhile, Kate and Curran are toge... Read More

Magic Rises: Kate is still as much fun as ever

Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

I’ve been a fan of Ilona AndrewsKATE DANIELS series from the get-go, but didn’t really click with the spinoff Gunmetal Magic, right around the same time as I was getting burned out on paranormal urban fantasy in general. Then, the other day, I was looking for something to read, and thought, “Hey! My backlog!” I saw that I had Magic Rises on my Kindle and settled in for some magic and swashbuckling. Happily, Kate is still as much fun as ever.

In this installment, the sixth in the series, Kate and Curran are hired to protect a werewolf princess in Colchis. This princess, Desandra, is pregnant by two different men from rival shapeshifter families, and the family whose heir is born first will inherit Desandra’s father’s lands. Both... Read More

Magic Breaks: Sins of the father

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

In Magic Breaks (2014), the seventh book in Ilona AndrewsKATE DANIELS urban fantasy series, the overarching plot lines of the series takes a lion-sized step forward, with a few major surprises along the way. *some spoilers for earlier books in the series*

Kate Daniels, her mate Curran, the Beast Lord of Atlanta's shapeshifter Pack, and their group have returned from their perilous trip to Europe, described in Magic Rises, where they ran into conflict with Hugh d’Ambray, the warlord of Roland. Roland is an ancient, immortal legend with nearly godlike magical powers, and Kate has been both hiding from him and planning his death since her childhood: Kate was raised by Vor... Read More

Magic Shifts: Suburban troubles and Arabian nightmares

Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews

In Magic Shifts (2015), the eighth book in Ilona AndrewsKATE DANIELS urban fantasy series, Kate and Curran struggle with both old, ongoing problems ― in the form of Pack politics and Kate’s father Roland ― and new ones. *obligatory spoiler alert here for earlier books in the series*

Kate and her werelion mate Curran, who has resigned as Beast Lord of Atlanta's huge pack of shapeshifters, are now trying to live a more ordinary, circumspect suburban life among humans, with mixed results. Some of the neighbors are alarmed at Curran's walking around the neighborhood in his immense lion form (“He is patrolling,” Kate informs her nosiest neighbor, protecting the area), and Kate finds out that several of their shapeshifter friends, who have also separated from ... Read More

Magic Binds: Wedding planning is rough when your father’s a homicidal tyrant

Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

Note: Some spoilers for earlier books in the series

In Magic Binds (2016), the ninth book in Ilona AndrewsKATE DANIELS urban fantasy series, Kate, a mercenary with awe-inspiring sword-fighting and magical abilities, and Curran, her shapeshifter mate and the former Beast Lord, have decided to officially tie the knot. After dealing with several obstacles to get to the home of their friend Roman, the priest of Chernobog, the Russian dark god, including a pony-sized black scorpion (“If we killed his pet scorpion, we’d never hear the end of it”), they ask Roman to marry them. Roman is absolutely delighted ― as the Black God’s priest, no one ever asks him to marry them ― and in one of the funniest running gags ever, he proceeds to hound and even thr... Read More

Magic Triumphs: Wrapping up the KATE DANIELS adventures

Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews

Kate Daniels, after nine novels’ worth of fighting magical villains, romancing Curran the Beast Lord, developing her own über-magical powers and preternatural sword-fighting abilities, and magically claiming all of Atlanta as her territory (and that’s only a start), gets an ending to her story in Magic Triumphs (2018), the tenth and final book in Ilona Andrews’ popular KATE DANIELS series. Well, kind of.

Kate is married to Curran now, who’s passed his title as Beast Lord on to Jim. After a very brief prologue in which Kate gives birth, the story jumps forward in time thirteen months, when their son Conlan is a precocious one year old whose antics keep his parents hopping. He still hasn’t started shapeshifting, which is causing Atlanta’s Pack to... Read More

Gunmetal Magic: Should have been shorter

Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

This volume includes the novella Magic Gifts — previously seen as a free download at Ilona Andrews’s website this past Christmas season — and the full-length novel Gunmetal Magic (2012), a spinoff of the KATE DANIELS series starring Kate’s best friend Andrea Nash. Magic Gifts is placed at the end of the book but should actually be read first, and there is chronological overlap between the two.

Magic Gifts is sort of a “monster of the week” episode, in which Kate and Curran try to have a romantic date but end up trying to solve a mysterious death and stop a cursed necklace before it can kill again. Meanwhile, there’s a power struggle in the Mercenary Guild that also needs Kate’s attention. It’s filled with action and funny bickering, and is a short read ... Read More

On the Edge: Ilona Andrews’ protagonists are true heroes

On the Edge by Ilona Andrews

As I started reading On the Edge, my biggest question was, would lightning — or magic — strike twice? Could Ilona Andrews write something just as great as her Kate Daniels series, in a completely different universe? The answer, it turns out, is yes!

The world-building is a little more familiar, but Andrews puts an original spin on it. There’s an Otherworld full of magical beings, called the Weird, and there’s our mundane world, called the Broken. Andrews’ twist is the Edge, a realm that lies between the two. “Edgers” can travel freely among the three worlds, but are second-class citizens in the Weird and the Broken. They often have magical abilities, but these abilities are usually not as strong as those of Weird-dwellers.

The heroine, Rose, is an Edger. As an outcast teenager, she put in years of grueling practice to develop her m... Read More

Bayou Moon: Has a little bit of everything

Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

William Wolf didn’t get the girl in last year’s On the Edge, but he certainly won over plenty of us readers. In Bayou Moon, the second Edge paranormal romance by the husband-and-wife team that makes up Ilona Andrews, William gets his turn to shine and to meet his match in a scrappy Edge woman.

Cerise Mar has just become de facto head of her wild but tight-knit family after the disappearance of her parents. At first it just looks like the Sheerile clan, the Mars’ sworn enemy, are stirring up trouble again. But Cerise soon learns that a sinister organization called the Hand is behind the kidnappings. William wants revenge on the Hand’s leader for reasons of his own. On a journey through the Mire, a treacherous Edge swamp, William and Cerise’s paths (and schemes) converge.

The trip through the Mire moves a little ... Read More

Fate’s Edge: What more could you want?

Fate's Edge by Ilona Andrews

Fate's Edge is the third in the EDGE series by husband-and-wife duo Ilona Andrews. While the EDGE books feature recurring characters and plot threads and can all be categorized as paranormal romance, each book so far has a different "feel." On the Edge was a fairy tale; Bayou Moon, with the dark mad-science secrets at its heart, had something of the Gothic about it. Fate's Edge is a caper story. Sure, the protagonists have some personal demons to face, but for the most part the book is sheer rollicking fun.

The hero is Kaldar Mar, whom we met in Bayou Moon as Cerise's cousin, a gambler and something of a con artist. The heroine is Audrey Callahan, herself an accomplished thief and grifter. She's about to leave behind her lif... Read More

Clean Sweep: Urban fantasy with a galactic twist

Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Dina Demille, a young woman, runs a quiet bed-and-breakfast in a small Texas town. Her inn is a quirky old Victorian home that looks like “a medieval castle and a Southern-belle, antebellum mansion had a baby and it had been delivered into the world by a gothic wedding cake decorator.” Dina’s only companion is a small black and white Shih Tzu named Beast, aside from her single permanent guest in the inn, but Dina is hoping her inn will become more popular ― with space aliens.

The Gertrude Hunt Bed-and-Breakfast is, in fact, a house with mysterious powers and a symbiotic relationship to Dina, and it secretly caters to otherworldly visitors from all over the galaxy. It’s one of many on the planet Earth, which is a popular way station for alien travelers. The inn’s sole guest is a bloodthirsty former Galactic aristocrat who caused millions of deaths in her former life, and who is now using Din... Read More

Sweep in Peace: A not-so-peaceful alien peace summit

Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews

Dina DeMille runs a bed-and-breakfast inn that secretly caters to visitors from other parts of the galaxy. The magical, semi-sentient inn can create opulent new rooms and redecorate them at Dina’s wish, with a blithe disregard for the normal laws of physics (what I wouldn’t give to have a house like that!). But Dina is short on both guests and cash, so she’s open to the idea when George, an arbitrator of disputes between different alien races, asks her to host an arbitration aimed at ending a bitter twenty-year-long war between three species, fighting over control of the vast mineral wealth of a desolate planet.

The problem is that the three factions that have to agree to the peace accord are the militant Holy Cosmic Anocracy (i.e., space vampires), the equally aggressive Otrokars (aka the Hope-Crushing Horde), and the Merchants of Baha-char, who look like upright silver-blue foxes and have in... Read More

One Fell Sweep: The Inn under siege

One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Note: This review contains some spoilers for the two earlier books in the INNKEEPER CHRONICLES series.

As One Fell Sweep (2016) begins, Dina DeMille, the Innkeeper of the Gertrude Hunt Inn, a secret way-stop on Earth for galactic visitors, is recuperating from the life-and-death peace summit that her inn hosted in Sweep in Peace. She’s also just beginning to pick up her relationship with Sean, the werewolf warrior, when a reptilian visitor brings her a message: Dina’s widowed sister Maud is stuck on the planet Kahari and needs rescuing. Dina calls in a favor from Arland, a buff, blond vampire friend (think Chris Hemsworth as Thor, plus fangs), who takes her and Sean to this ruthless frontier planet to rescue Maud and Maud's five year old half-vampire daughte... Read More

Burn for Me: A hot urban fantasy

Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

The husband-wife author team of Ilona Andrews began their new HIDDEN LEGACY urban fantasy series in 2014 with Burn for Me.

In an alternative reality to our world, a serum discovered in 1863 unleashed people’s magical talents. As the powerful and rich sought the serum as a new way for their families to gain more power and wealth, others realized the potential it raised for chaos and destruction, and locked it away — too late. Magical talent now runs in families, with magical dynasties forming, and the strength of a person’s magic becoming a major factor in whom they might marry in these families. The most powerful magical users are known as Primes.

Nevada Baylor has magical powers — among other things, she always knows when someone is lying — bu... Read More

White Hot: Turning up the heat

White Hot by Ilona Andrews

Note: this review contains some spoilers for the first book in this series, Burn for Me.

In White Hot (2017), the second book in Ilona AndrewsHIDDEN LEGACY urban fantasy series, we return to a magical version of Houston, Texas, where some people (typically the rich and powerful) have inheritable magical powers. Nevada Baylor is from a not-particularly wealthy family that runs a private investigation firm, but she and some other members of her family have magical powers that are suspiciously strong for a family with no reputation at all as magic users. Actually, Nevada is a rare truthseeker: she not only knows when others are lying to her, but also recently realized that she can compel them t... Read More

Wildfire: Sizzling romance, wrapped in a kidnapping mystery, inside a family enigma

Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Note: some spoilers for the previous books in this series, Burn for Me and White Hot.

The smoking hot adventures of Nevada Baylor and Connor "Mad" Rogan continue in Ilona AndrewsWildfire (2017), the third book of the HIDDEN LEGACY series, set in an alternate version of our world in which a serum has unleashed magical powers in a minority of people. The magical families are organized into Houses, and typically marry to preserve and intensify the right combination of genetics so that their children will have the strongest possible magic and their Houses will stay powerful. Nevada is the head of her famil... Read More

Sapphire Flames: The siren takes the lead

Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews

Sapphire Flames (2019) is the fourth novel in Ilona Andrews' HIDDEN LEGACY urban fantasy/romance series, in which powerful magical families control most of society. (Note: You really do have to start at the beginning of this series, with Burn for Me; each book builds on what came before.) Having wrapped up the romance of Nevada Baylor and Connor Rogan in the first three books in this series, Sapphire Flames and the interim novella that precedes it, Diamond Fire, shift the focus of the series to a new main character, Nevada's younger sister Catalina Baylor, a so-called ... Read More

Diamond Fire: Wedding-related trials for the sister of the bride

Diamond Fire by Ilona Andrews

Nevada Baylor is getting married to Connor Rogan, and when Rogan’s mother Arrosa shuts down their plans for a small and simple wedding, insisting on a full-scale formal wedding, a couple of things happen. Nevada inexplicably gets incredibly fussy and controlling about the wedding details, firing two wedding planners, and her beleaguered 18 and 16 year old sisters Catalina and Arabella decide that the only feasible option is to handle the wedding planning themselves. And a large crowd of Rogan’s Spanish relatives on his mother’s side descends on Mrs. Rogan’s Texas mansion for a few weeks’ stay before the wedding. The half of those relatives who descend from her father’s second wife are already hostile, and matters only get worse when everyone is cooped up together in the same home, however large and luxurious.

Now the Rogan family’s valuable heirloom wedding tiara has disappeared from the... Read More

Iron and Magic: An exciting spin-off from the KATE DANIELS series

Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews

Since Magic Bites was first published in 2007, the husband-and-wife writing team known as Ilona Andrews has developed a devoted fan base in the urban fantasy genre with their KATE DANIELS series. But all good things must come to an end, and when Magic Triumphs, the tenth novel in that series, is published in August 2018, the Andrews team has announced that it will be the end of that series. But they’ve left themselves some welcome loopholes: their new IRON COVENANT series, beginning with Iron and Magic (2018), will be a comfort to readers who will miss Kate Daniels. It's set in the same world, and many familiar characters from the KATE ... Read More

SHORTS: Swirsky, Andrews, St. George, Otis

There is so much free or inexpensive short fiction available on the internet these days. Here are a few stories we read this week that we wanted you to know about. 

“Tea Time” by Rachel Swirsky (2015, free at Lightspeed Magazine)

A wonderfully impressionistic examination of one small cranny of Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland. In this case, the focus is on the eternal tea party held by the two lovers—the March Hare and the Mad Hatter, who speak to each other only in quotations, and who must face the possibility of slain Time being resurrected.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. First, as a sucker for structure and experimentation, I loved the non-linear nature of it... Read More

SHORTS: McIntosh, Szpara, Andrews

Our weekly exploration of free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. Here are a few stories we've read that we wanted you to know about, including 2017 Nebula nominees in the short fiction categories.

“What is Eve?” by Will McIntosh (April 2018, free at Lightspeed, $3.99 Kindle magazine issue)

Ben and several other middle school aged children are separated from their families and taken to an isolated school, to participate in a “unique program” that is supposed to be an incredible opportunity for the children. Once they arrive, Ben and the other students are given some odd instructions: wear an earbud day and night. Follow its direction... Read More

SHORTS: Carroll, Newitz, Clark, Andrews, VanderMeer

SHORTS is a column exploring some of the free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. Here are a few stories we've read that we wanted you to know about.

“For He Can Creep” by Siobhan Carroll (2019, free at Tor.com, 99c on Kindle)

This short story, told entirely from a cat’s point of view, is a must-read for feline fans! Jeoffry the cat belongs to a mad poet who is confined to an insane asylum in 18th century Great Britain. Jeoffry regularly battles the imps and demons who torment the inmates at the asylum. But when Satan himself enters the picture, planning to use the poet’s abilities to bring about the end of the world, Jeoffry just might be overmatched.

Siobhan Carroll drew me in with this whimsical and insightful tale. She tells this story from Jeoffry’s point of view, capturing the ... Read More

SHORTS: Cho, Machen, Rambo, Scalzi, Andrews

SHORTS: Our column exploring free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. Here are a few stories we've recently read that we wanted you to know about.

“Head of a Snake, Tail of a Dragon” by Zen Cho (2018, free on the author’s website)

This short story is a delightful sequel to Zen Cho's Hugo award-winning novelette, “If at First You Don't Succeed, Try, Try Again.” And both are free online, so win-win!

Jin-Dae is an imugi, a magical serpent that can — if it learns and grows in the right way — turn into a dragon. But Jin-Dae has no particular interest in becoming a dragon; she's just fine with her life the way it is. Except that there aren... Read More

More urban fantasy from Ilona Andrews

Kinsmen — (2009-2011) Publisher: Old hatreds die hard. Old love dies harder. On Meli Galdes’ home planet, the struggle for power is a bloody, full-contact sport — in business and on the battlefield. For years her lethal skills have been a valuable asset in advancing her family’s interests. She’s more than earned her right to retire, but her kinsmen have one last favor to ask. Kill the man who ruined her life. Celino Carvanna’s razor-sharp business acumen — and skills with a blade — won him the freedom to do as he pleases. There’s only one thing he can’t seem to control — his reaction to the mysterious woman who tantalizes his senses. Her eyes alone set his blood simmering, stirring ridiculous adolescent fantasies about breasts and honey. With a few words she dissects his soul. Who is she? And how does she slide so easily under his well-guarded skin? It’s almost too easy to draw Celino within the kill zone. Meli plans to revel in him. Drink him in. Wring every drop of pleasure out of every moment. And when she’s sure he belongs to her, she will finally repay a decade’s worth of pain — in a single, brutal dose of reality.
SFF book reviews Ilona Andrews Kinsmen 1. Silent Blade 2. Silver Shark SFF book reviews Ilona Andrews Kinsmen 1. Silent Blade 2. Silver Shark


fantasy and science fiction book reviewsOf Swine and Roses — (2011) Publisher: A young adult story about a girl, a pig, some magic, and the worst date ever.
Chad Thurman is a thug, who carries brass knuckles in both pockets and lays magic traps for intruders into “his” neighborhood. The last thing Alena Kornov wants to do is to go on the date with him. But when her family pressures her, she can’t say no. Now the ice-cream is absent, the pig is running for its life, and we won’t even mention the dead guy…
This story previously appeared as a free read on our website.


CLICK HERE FOR MORE TITLES BY ILONA ANDREWS.