Magic Rises: Kate is still as much fun as ever

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Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews urban fantasy book reviewsMagic 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 families, along with Desandra’s father and his entourage, are holed up in a castle and ready to explode into violence. Why are Kate and Curran even concerning themselves with this mess? The reward is a large supply of panacea. Panacea can cure young shapeshifters who’ve gone loup, which up until now has always been a death sentence. One of Julie’s friends has gone loup, and Aunt B is worried about Raphael and Andrea’s future children, so this is an issue close to everyone’s heart.

I was worried the plot would just be shapeshifters circling each other and growling; Kate at one point says she’s sick of shapeshifters, and I’m a bit weary of them too. It’s part of how I got burned out on urban fantasy in the first place. But the Andrewses have more tricks up their sleeves. Hugh d’Ambray shows up, and we find more layers within his character. There’s more to Desandra, too, than meets the eye. There’s an unknown and terrifying species of shapeshifter prowling the halls. And Kate encounters some of the native magical beings, which might just come in handy when all furry hell breaks loose.

Curran acts like an idiot in Magic Rises. I’d been spoiled for this plot point and was prepared for it. Because I’d been spoiled, I knew what was going on, and I wasn’t mad for the same reason Kate was. I was mad, though, because I couldn’t see the logic in it. I also felt like Kate and Curran took a step backward in terms of how bonded they were considered to be. In Magic Slays, she’s referred to multiple times as his wife. I thought it made sense in the post-apocalyptic setting — as in, let’s not stand on ceremony here, you’re married if you say you are. Here, the lack of an official marriage is constantly brought up. If it was just by the old-school European shapeshifters, I’d chalk it up to cultural differences, but it’s almost everybody. Ah, well, I’m sure they’ll have an epic wedding. Probably with casualties.

Speaking of epic, Magic Rises peaks with a spectacular battle. It’s impossible to put the book down during this sequence. There’s heartbreak, too — a lovable recurring character dies, and it’s awful. Afterward, I loved the way the ending came together. You never know what ripples an act of kindness might have.

Now I just need to figure out if I have Magic Breaks around here somewhere.

Published in 2013. Atlanta is a city plagued by magical problems. Kate Daniels will fight to solve them—no matter the cost. Mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate, Curran, the Beast Lord, are struggling to solve a heartbreaking crisis. Unable to control their beasts, many of the Pack’s shapeshifting children fail to survive to adulthood. While there is a medicine that can help, the secret to its making is closely guarded by the European packs, and there’s little available in Atlanta. Kate can’t bear to watch innocents suffer, but the solution she and Curran have found threatens to be even more painful. The European shapeshifters who once outmaneuvered the Beast Lord have asked him to arbitrate a dispute—and they’ll pay him in medicine. With the young people’s survival and the Pack’s future at stake, Kate and Curran know they must accept the offer—but they have little doubt that they’re heading straight into a trap…

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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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One comment

  1. I’m glad this was still fun for you!

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