Review: “Magic Bleeds,” Ilona Andrews

Pros: Great plot progression & relationship movement
Cons:
Rating: 5 out of 5

 

I’m completely addicted to the Kate Daniels series of books by the husband-and-wife team that writes under Ilona Andrews’s name. I happened to read book six (Magic Rises) first, and went back to read the rest of the series. Magic Bleeds is book four. The narrative is smooth and compelling, neatly conveying Kate’s voice and personality in everything she does. I absolutely love all of the characters, from the complex and compelling mains to the wide variety of delightful secondaries. Even the side characters have their ongoing plots, rocky relationships, evolving personalities, and more. We don’t see much of Julie in this installment, but it looks to me like we’ll see more in the next book.

In this installment, from the back of the book:

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 there’s a new player in town. One who’s been around for thousands of years–and 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…

We’ve been gradually finding out more about Kate’s mysterious, powerful biological father as the series progresses, and now we find out she has other family as well, dangerous family she knows almost nothing about. The new, deadly force in town comes straight out of old legends, and is capable of spreading heinous diseases–although that seems to be the least of the problems they’ll face. Even the Order’s impenetrable headquarters could crumble before this onslaught, and the Guild will be brought to its knees. Without Kate and Curran’s combined forces and powers, Atlanta doesn’t stand a chance.

All of this is complicated by Kate and Curran’s on-again off-again kinda-sorta-relationship. The two come from very different worlds. Kate was taught not to put her faith or trust in anyone. Curran’s instincts and actions fulfill shapeshifter norms, which aren’t something Kate understands. The frustrations, disconnects, and clashes between these two are some of the best I’ve seen in rocky romantic relationships in books. Normally I just want to hit the characters over the head and tell them to stop being idiots and get together, but with these two it’s easy to see how hard it is for them to compromise for each other and understand each other’s way of thinking. It makes the relationship all the sweeter and hotter whenever they do manage come together.

I caught a glimpse of my smile in the wall mirror. Very little cordiality but lots of homicidal maniac. I dropped the smile before I caused an interagency incident.

Of course their problems with each other are nothing compared to the problems Kate will have with the shapeshifters under Curran’s rule. Most of the Pack sees humans as inherently inferior, and in order to hold her own as Curran’s partner she’ll have to prove herself a worthy alpha. That means killing all those who challenge her, and she doesn’t have the regenerative power they do. She’ll be lucky if she survives to hold a relationship with him.

I really felt some payoff in Magic Bleeds for the plot threads and relationship threads we’ve been following, and it’s wonderful. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, which will catch me up to where I began.

I just had to stay cool. Zen. No punching in the face. Punching would not be Zen.

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