My rating: 4 of 5 stars
You know how last week, I told you that the Mercedes Thompson series was my favorite paranormal series? Well, if that is #1, then the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews is #1.2
I love Kate. I love that she can kick just about anyone’s ass. I want to get a (magic) sword and learn how to use it. I also really want to be able to kill a person with my bare hands. Not that I would, of course. I just want the ability to do so.
Magic Slays is the fifth in the series, and I had been looking forward to this for ages. I was so excited when I opened my Nook on May 31 and found it waiting for me! I’d read the teaser chapter (which turned out to be the prologue) and was ready to pick up where the last book had left off.
**mild spoilers if you haven’t read the first four**
I was curious to see how the tension between Kate and Curran (the were-lion Beast Lord, which totally makes me think of that show Beastmaster, but it’s not the same at all I promise) was now that they’ve mated. The first books were all “will they or won’t they” with the smart money being on “they will.”
The book opens with them in bed (sleeping, you pervy monkey) and a phone call. Julie (Kate’s orphaned ward…I also would like a ward. Sounds kinda cool. Especially if I can send them to boarding school.) has run away from school again. Kate is pissed. Kate does not have a lot of times when she’s just Zen. She is an angry person. AND, as we discover later in this book, that’s perfectly normal considering her upbringing.
In addition to the runaway ward, there is the problem that Kate’s new business doesn’t have any clients, the drama with her best friend Andrea (a former Knight of the Order, current beastkin [born an animal to a shapeshifter mother; she shifts to a hyena], the missing shapeshifting warrior, and oh, yeah, the magic machine that might kill us all!
Again, as with the Mercedes Thompson book, my major problem is the violence, more actual that implied with Kate & Curran, between partners. There is a lot of “you can’t talk to him, I’ll kill him” type stuff, and I know that it’s the whole “I’m a violent shapeshifter with lots of pent up rage, etc.” mythology, but it really, really bothers me that controlling behavior, jealous rages, and kicking each other in the face is how the relationship plays out. Not that this is new to this book – Kate and Curran have been choking, kicking, punching, and all around beating the crap out of each other from the moment they met. I can generally move past the “this is not healthy” instinct and enjoy it (much like that whole Buffy & Spike scene in season six episode 9…violent but hot). Just throwing that out there for any impressionable folks – do not kick your sugar woogums in the face. That is not nice.
There were unexpected twists, and the plot was very well constructed. I enjoy the writing of Ilona Andrews (a husband & wife team that apparently lives in my town! I would stalk them if, a) I was a psycho and b) I knew where to start looking).
I was pleased that the sexual tension still existed between the newly mated beast lord and his mate, and was glad that Kate was still kicking just as much ass as before. (Seriously, where do I get my hands on a magic sword and some sword-using lessons?)
I was a little disappointed in the ending, but not because it was BAD, just because I wanted things to work out a little differently. I can see, however, how it was necessary to further the plot.
The epilogue cliffhanger is great & I can’t wait for the next book in the series to find out how Kate will deal with the next challenge.
And the score!
Romance/Sexytimes: A- Still with the tension, which is good. Not as hot as the last one, but that’s to be expected, really. Once you’ve crossed a line, it’s hard to recreate the heat that existed before.
Writing: A- I think this series is fairly well done. There were a couple typos, but that’s hardly the fault of the writers – everyone makes mistakes!
Paranormality: A I really like the way the magic shifts are explained, and everything is very consistent with the world that’s been created. There were a couple of times I had questions about things that I thought had been put differently in earlier books, but by the time I finished, I couldn’t remember the specificities, so I guess it was not that big of a deal!
Book Overall: A
Series Overall: A (I really, really like Kate. And kind of want to meet Jim (the were-jaguar). Even if he is taken.)