Review: “Gunmetal Magic,” Ilona Andrews

Pros: Both the novel and the novella are delicious! I love getting to see more of Andrea.
Cons:
Rating: 5 out of 5

Ilona Andrews’s Gunmetal Magic is set in the same world as Andrews’s Kate Daniels novels. Only this time, it concentrates on Kate’s best friend Andrea, a were-hyena called a Bouda. Since she got kicked out of the Order she used to be a member of (they found out that she’s a shape-shifter) she’s been trying to pick up the pieces while working at Kate’s small detective agency. She ends up looking into a case that involves dead shape-shifters, and which throws her back into contact with Raphael, the Bouda she had a relationship with. Both Andrea and Raphael have some reason to be angry with each other, so frustrated and angry sparks fly. Naturally, their attraction to each other is still an issue.

Gunmetal Magic is a great close-up look at the Bouda. All of the Bouda seem to have a spark of insanity, and frankly with that added to the eerie hyena cackles I’d be more afraid to be chased by a Bouda than by a werewolf. Andrews does a fantastic job of portraying this. So far, Andrea hasn’t joined with the Bouda clan because she’s beastkin–her father was a hyena before he became a shape-shifter rather than the other way around. Shape-shifters traditionally kill beastkin. The local weres tend to be a bit more enlightened than average, but Andrea has additional reasons for fearing and hating other Bouda, reasons that are rooted deep in her childhood.

I love getting to see and hear everything through Andrea’s eyes, and she definitely has that little spark of insanity that is so much fun in Andrews’s novels. We do get to see a bit of Kate and Curran, but this is really Andrea’s story. I found it easy to identify with Andrea as a character and to get pulled into her story. There’s plenty of tension and danger, and I couldn’t wait to find out what happened. We also find out a bit more about how ‘gods’ work in this world of magic vs. technology.

Doolittle walked through the door. “Shouldn’t you be resting?”
“I’m saving the world,” I told him.
Doolittle looked mournful. “I’ll make us some hot chocolate.”

Magic Gifts: At the end of Gunmetal Magic, there’s a novella in which Kate is the main character. A child is slowly dying due to a magical device that Kate and the shape-shifters can’t remove without killing him. They’ll end up having to chat with nearly every mythological badass they can find to follow the device back to its creator. If anything, I got even more wrapped up in this novella than I did in the rest of the book, which is definitely saying something. I can’t go into much detail because it’s relatively short, but I can say that I found it engrossing and tension-building and could not set it down until I’d finished.

“Best date ever. Well, until people died and vampires showed up. But before that it was awesome.”

I believe anyone who enjoys Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels novels will love Gunmetal Magic.

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