Review: “Magic Slays,” Ilona Andrews

Pros: Wow!
Cons: I thought it started out a little slow
Rating: 5 out of 5


Magic Slays (Kate Daniels) is book five of the Kate Daniels series by husband-and-wife team Ilona Andrews. I started with book six, Magic Rises, and loved it so much that I had to go back to book one, Magic Bites to read the whole series (followed by Magic Burns, Magic Strikes, and Magic Bleeds). Other than a slightly rocky start to the narration in book one–and in the first book of a series that isn’t a real sin–the series has been nothing other than superb. Magic Slays hooked me slightly slowly, but then I’ve been overdosing on thrillers lately, so my threshold is a little high. And it doesn’t matter anyway, because the events of the book were so spellbinding that anything else was swept away. The first thing I did when I finished the book was go out and get book seven (Magic Breaks).

[W]hen Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. But it turns out that this is not an isolated incident. Kate needs to get to the bottom of it–and fast, or the city and everyone dear to her may pay the ultimate price…

I’ve been looking forward to seeing Julie–Kate’s ward–take on more of a role in these books, and she finally does in Magic Slays. We get to see bits of her growing up and the ways in which she’s affected Kate’s life and outlook. We also get to see the delightful push-and-pull of Kate and Curran’s relationship through all of its ups and downs as they try to work out the boundaries of what they have between them. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a literary relationship quite like it, which is a joy. They’re rough and gruff and have difficulty with their emotions, and when they aren’t sparring with words then they’re either loving each other fiercely or pounding the crap out of each other–and they’re well enough matched that they can do that, which each of them needs in a partner. It’s fantastic.

The stakes are high in this installment, with the lives of every being that’s so much as touched by magic in the Atlanta area in danger. This is enough to get even the fractious groups of that area to work together, but they still bicker and squabble, and the anti-magic group has moles in a handful of places. It’ll take everyone–Masters of the Dead, Pack, witches, druids, mercenaries, and more–to track down the bad guys and penetrate their formidable defenses. It’ll take way more than that for Kate to save the lives of the people she loves.

The characters are beautiful, with depth and so much personality. The relationships are delightfully prickly, especially Kate and Curran’s. I avidly ate up the new scraps of information about Kate, her childhood, and her heritage–the authors have managed to draw that out at a perfect rate, always providing new information and a new perspective on things while leaving more to come. The revelations and action came at a breakneck pace, and I could barely set the book down once I got sucked in. At one point toward the end I had to get up and take care of something else and I just could not stop thinking about the book the entire time.

The Kate Daniels series of books by Ilona Andrews is one of my favorites. I hope the books and revelations keep coming fast!

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