Pros: High-stakes plot with plenty of danger to go around; love the characters
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Julie’s mother wanted to gain power through being a witch. Unfortunately, since magic returned to the world, being an amateur just isn’t healthy. It’s all too easy to end up angering the wrong deity, praying to something dangerous, or setting loose a monster upon the world. Julie’s mother and her wanna-be coven seem to have managed all three. Kate reluctantly takes Julie under her wing, protecting her from undead monsters that are chasing her down. Kate’s investigation into the whereabouts of Julie’s mother takes her into the sights of a mysterious bowman who can teleport and brings her back into contact with the Pack of shapeshifters. Once again Kate is going to need help from all sides–Pack, Masters of the Dead, and witches–if she wants Atlanta to survive the coming trials.
Magic Burns is book two of the Kate Daniels series; Magic Bites is book one. Naturally my first experience with the series came from book six, Magic Rises; by comparison the narration of book one felt clunky and overwrought. As things picked up, however, the pacing and tone seemed to click into place. Now, in Magic Burns, I feel more of the smoothness I associated with that later book in the series.
One of the things I love about Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels is that she’s definitely flawed. She has a big mouth, and often she realizes just a moment too late that she really shouldn’t have said something. It’s a nice offset to the fact that Kate’s incredibly badass with knives, swords, and magic. Also, it’s made better by the fact that even by book two the reader can see Kate starting to learn and grow. She still does stupid things, but she’s quicker to realize it now, and it doesn’t happen as often. She even manages to keep her tongue in check a few times. She still retains her stubborn personality, but she grows and changes organically through the events of the stories.
The plot built up fast and hard in this installment of the series; I felt quite glued to the page as I waited to find out what would happen next. The secondary characters have a fair amount of depth to them. Julie has more to her than the standard random street-kid. Curran, the Beast Lord, has a unique relationship with Kate that I love. They come close to killing each other on multiple occasions, and they’re only reluctantly starting to realize there might be something else between them–very reluctantly! We still get to see many of the faces from book one (Jim, Derek, Saiman) while also getting to see a few new faces (such as Andrea, Kate’s new friend from the Order).
The plot and events of Magic Burns swept me along like a fast river current, and I’m itching to read book three in order to find out what happens next!