Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
Magic Bites 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 a... Read More
Ilona AndrewsIlona Andrews is Russian. She moved to the US when she was a teenager. Read excerpts of her novels at Ilona Andrews‘ website.
Kate Daniels — (2007-2013) Publisher: Mercenary Kate Daniels cleans up urban problems of a paranormal kind. But her latest prey, a pack of undead warriors, presents her greatest challenge.
Scene collections: “This isn’t a short story or a novella. This is a collection of scenes written by Gordon Andrews as a companion to our Kate Daniels series of books. These scenes illustrate the point of view of Curran, the Beast Lord of Atlanta and are provided in gratitude to our readers for all of their support. This collection isn’t meant to stand on its own as an independent work of fiction. This collection is available free on Smashwords. We’ve received so many requests from people asking to pay us for it that we finally put it up on Amazon, so you have a choice: you can pay us for it or you can download it free.”
Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews
No sophomore slump here! Ilona Andrews follows — and tops — her debut novel with an excellent sequel, Magic Burns.
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 ... Read More
Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews
After I finished the first book of Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series I was seriously worried that we were headed down the path to another of the too-powerful-to-be-believable heroines. The characters were interesting and Ms Andrews' idea for bringing magic and technology together was good, but I seriously wondered if our heroine was going to be another Anita Blake who develops new powers every other page.
But, Ilona Andrews gets a big thumb up for letting her heroine get her butt royally kicked several times in Magic Burns. She’s still a really bratty, smart-mouthed girl who happens to be really, really powerful in magic and other things. But, here’s the great part: there is a good explana... Read More
Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
I didn't know how much I'd missed Ilona Andrews' writing until I started reading Magic Strikes. 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.
... Read More
Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
Ilona Andrews has done a wonderful job of walking that fine line between tough, sassy heroine and ridiculous, overly powerful superwoman. Kate Daniels is a unique character in a genre that is largely populated with carbon copies of the same woman. Kudos to Andrews, who has once again managed to balance the qualities of power and vulnerability to perfection.
Magic Strikes doesn’t pick right up where Magic Burns left off. Time has passed for Kate and Andrews didn't feel compelled to fill in every little detail that happened off-screen. But, events have again conspired to lure Kate into situations where her loyalty to friends and fears of her past come into conflict. That tension is part of what makes these books worth reading.
An underground gladiatorial games of sorts provides the backdrop for the story as new... Read More
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. 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 Steel Horse ... Read More
Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews
Kate Daniels is a hard-as-they-come heroine with magic, swordsmanship and a very interesting history. Ilona Andrews delivers another wonderful installment with Magic Bleeds. As good as the books have been so far, Andrews takes the elements of action and personal interaction that are at the core of good urban fantasy and uses them artistically to tell another great story.
Kate is special among the glut of urban fantasy heroines because she loses fights, gets hurt, and has not compromised her standards just because she's in love. She is still a bad-ass, but you have to respect her for making tangible sacrifices in order to do what needs to be done.
In Magic Bleeds, Kate tries to balance her obligations to the many interests in Atlanta against her personal desires and we can see how she gets caught wantin... Read More
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
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, 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 that’s... Read More
The Edge — (Began in 2009) Publisher: Rose Drayton lives on the Edge, between the world of the Broken (where people drive cars, shop at Wal-Mart, and magic is a fairy tale) and the Weird (where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny). Only Edgers like Rose can easily travel from one world to the next, but they never truly belong in either. Rose thought if she practiced her magic, she could build a better life for herself. But things didn’t turn out how she planned, and now she works a minimum wage, off the books job in the Broken just to survive. Then Declan Camarine, a blueblood noble straight out of the deepest part of the Weird, comes into her life, determined to have her (and her power). But when a terrible danger invades the Edge from the Weird, a flood of creatures hungry for magic, Declan and Rose must work together to destroy them — or the beasts will devour the Edge and everyone in it …
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... Read More
On the Edge
I’m a big fan of Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series. In fact, Andrews is one of my favorite urban fantasy authors, so my expectations were high when I picked up On the Edge, and I was not disappointed.
On the Edge is set in a world like ours where magic and our reality are separated by a mixed area called the Edge. Magic works there, but so does technology, so it's an interesting blend and a real no-man's land. (I felt like I was looking into some really rural area where people knew about the outside world, but were not very interested in it.) The Edge is threatened by a force that seeks to steal all the magic, and kill everyone who has magic in the process.
On the Edge features a lot of the usual urban fantasy themes and characters. The main character, Rose Drayton, is super-talented, very pretty, selfless, ... Read More
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 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
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.
Of 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.