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 anyway? What was the thinking behind that? “Here is a bar full of psychotic killers who grow giant claws and people who pilot the undead for a living. I think I’ll go wreck the place.”
— I said, out loud, “My girl’s back!”
Kate goes to the aforementioned wrecked bar to investigate, and finds a scene of horror. Someone incited a bar brawl, then murdered one of the regulars and loosed a potentially devastating plague. Kate must figure out who has done this and why, then eradicate the threat. The solution, when it’s revealed, is really clever. I’m even more impressed with it now that I’ve looked up the myth on which it’s based.
(She also finds a dog. Every scene involving the dog is wonderful. And just wait till you find out what Kate names the dog and why she picks that name.)
Magic Bleeds is bursting at the seams with plot. In addition to the mysterious disease-spreading entity, Kate has to deal with shapeshifter politics, the slick machinations of Saiman, and plenty of upheavals in her personal and professional life.
And Curran. Kate tries so hard to put Curran out of her mind, but he’s prominent enough in supernatural Atlanta that she keeps running into painful reminders of him. When the two finally speak again, it’s explosive. These two are infuriating, frustrating, and perfect for each other. I kept wanting to reach into the book and knock their heads together! So. Much. Pride. So. Much. Stubbornness. It’s great fun and incredibly tense at the same time.
All of this is narrated in Kate’s snarky voice. Her voice feels like an old friend at this point and adds some comic relief to a pretty dark story. Magic Bleeds has about the same level of gore as Magic Bites, which is to say a lot. It’s just violence violence this time rather than sexual violence, though, so many readers may find it more palatable.
I liked Magic Strikes just a little bit more than Magic Bleeds, but that’s like saying I like the raspberry Ghirardelli chocolates better than the caramel ones. Magic Bleeds is a terrific urban fantasy novel and a worthy addition to a great series. If you’re new to Kate Daniels, you’ll want to start with the earlier books; the events of this book are much more affecting if you’ve read the build-up. If you’ve been following Kate’s adventures, don’t hesitate to pick this up!