Magic Bites (Kate Daniels Series #1)by Ilona Andrews
Mercenary Kate Daniels cleans up urban problems of a paranormal kind. But her latest prey, a pack of undead warriors, presents her greatest challenge. See more details below
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Mercenary Kate Daniels cleans up urban problems of a paranormal kind. But her latest prey, a pack of undead warriors, presents her greatest challenge.
Following in the footsteps of other contemporary paranormal fantasy authors like Laurell K. Hamilton and Kim Harrison, Ilona Andrews's Magic Bites features saber-wielding heroine Kate Daniels, a "magic-touting mercenary" who investigates the brutal murder of her legal guardian only to be pulled into a volatile power struggle between two rival groups within Atlanta's supernatural community.
Atlanta is a city immersed in magic. Like the tides, when the magic is up, modern technology fails (guns don't fire, cars don't start, etc.) and magicians and other supernatural beings rule the world. In the midst of all this are organizations like the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid whose mission it is to keep the peace. But when knight-diviner Greg Feldman -- the guardian of Daniels -- is ripped to shreds by some unknown monstrosity, the butt-kicking heroine vows to avenge his murder at any cost. Her investigation, however, places her directly between the Pack, a powerful clan of shape-changers, and the Masters of the Dead, a group of necromancers who control a virtual army of vampires…
While Andrews brings nothing particularly revolutionary to the paranormal fantasy mythos -- her characters are well developed but formulaic, the plotlines are conventional, etc. -- the strength of this novel comes from brilliant pacing and atmosphere. The narrative is as fluid as it is direct; and Andrews's dark and lyrical description of the supernatural underworld of Atlanta -- especially at night -- masterfully draws the reader into her urban fantasy realm. Though Andrews doesn't exactly reinvent the wheel with Magic Bites, she does create a story that is an undeniable stay-up-all-night page-turner. Paul Goat Allen
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Table of Contents
THE LORD OF THE BEASTS
“This is Slayer,” I said, holding the saber so they could see it clearly. The saber seethed, and luminescent tendrils of smoke clung to its blade. “It has had many names. One of them is Wolfripper. Push me and I will show you how it got that one.”
“You can’t take all of us,” a male to the right snarled.
“I don’t have to.” I lowered the blade onto the neck of the wolf. “Move and I’ll kill him.”
They became utterly still. Pack loyalty overrode their anger, but I didn’t dare push them any further.
“That’s enough,” Curran’s voice said.
The wolf shook harder, his lean body convulsing, and he whined weakly.
The lord of the shapechangers glared at me. “Release him.”
“Is that a request or an order?”
A twitch ran through Curran’s face as if the lion in him wanted to claw its way out. “It’s a request,” he said.
The wolf sagged to the floor as all strength suddenly left his sinewy legs. Curran growled, and the animal vanished in the dense mist.
Curran turned to me. “Take one of mine again and I’ll kill you.” He said it in a conversational manner, matter-of-fact and flat, but in his eyes I could see a simple certainty. If he had to, he would kill me. He would not lose any sleep over it. He would not give it a second thought. He would do it and move on, untroubled by ending my existence . . .
Ace Books by Ilona Andrews
The Kate Daniels Novels
The World of Kate Daniels
The Edge Novels
On the Edge
For my daughters, Anastasia and Helen
I’m greatly indebted to my editor at Ace Books, Anne Sowards, for her excellent editorial guidance and her great kindness and patience during all those times I needed reassurance, which was far too often. I would also like to thank my agent, Jack Byrne of Sternig and Byrne Literary Agency, for his wonderful advice and unfaltering support. I’m grateful to Annette Fiore and Kristen del Rosario, the designers, and Chad Michael Ward, the artist, for the fantastic cover and design; to Megan Gerrity, the production editor, and her staff for making this book possible; and to Maggie Kao, Ace’s publicist, for all of her hard work.
I’m most grateful to Charles Coleman Finlay, Ellen Key Harris-Braun, and Jenni Smith-Gaynor of Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror for believing in my work before anybody else did. I thank Deanna Hoak for answering my endless questions. And a big thank-you to everyone who has read and commented on the draft of this work: Hannah Wolf Bowen, Jeff Stanley, Nora Fleischer, Lawrence Payne, Mark Jones, Del Whetter, Steve Orr, A. Wheat, Betty Foreman, Catherine Emery, Elizabeth Hull, Susan Curnow, Richard C. Rogers, Aaron Brown, David Emanuel, Jodi Meadows, Christiana Ellis, Kyri Freeman, Elizabeth Bear, Mary Davis, and especially Charlene L. Amsden.
Finally I would like to apologize to the city of Atlanta, whose beautiful architecture I’ve treated so badly in the name of artistic license.
I SAT AT A TABLE IN MY SHADOWY KITCHEN, STARING down a bottle of Boone’s Farm Hard Lemonade, when a magic fluctuation hit. My wards shivered and died, leaving my home stripped of its defenses. The TV flared into life, unnaturally loud in the empty house.
I raised my eyebrow at the bottle and bet it that another urgent bulletin was on.
The bottle lost.
“Urgent bulletin!” Margaret Chang announced. “The Attorney General advises all citizens that any attempt at summoning or other activities resulting in the appearance of a supernaturally powerful being can be hazardous to yourself and to other citizens.”
“No shit,” I told the bottle.
“Local police have been authorized to subdue any such activities with all due force.”
Margaret droned on, while I bit into my sandwich. Who were they kidding? No police force could hope to squash every summoning. It took a qualified wizard to detect a summoning in progress. It required only a half-literate idiot with a twitch of power and a dim idea of how to use it to attempt one. Before you knew it, a three-headed Slavonic god was wreaking havoc in downtown Atlanta, the skies were raining winged snakes, and SWAT was screaming for more ammo. These were unsafe times. But then in safer times, I’d be a woman without a job. The safe tech-world had little use for a magic-touting mercenary like me.
When people had trouble of a magic kind, the kind that cops couldn’t or wouldn’t handle, they called the Mercenary Guild. If the job happened to fall into my territory, the Guild then called me. I grimaced and rubbed my hip. It still ached after the last job, but the wound had healed better than I expected. That was the first and last time I would agree to go against the Impala Worm without full body armor. The next time they better furnish me with a level four containment suit.
An icy wave of fear and revulsion hit me. My stomach lurched, sending acid to coat the root of my tongue with a bitter aftertaste. Shivers ran along my spine, and the tiny hairs on my neck stood on end.
Something bad was in my house.
I put down my sandwich and hit the mute button on the remote control. On the screen Margaret Chang was joined by a brick-faced man with a high-and-tight haircut and eyes like slate. A cop. Probably Paranormal Activity Division. I put my hand on the dagger that rested on my lap and sat very still.
No sound troubled the silence. A drop of water formed on the sweaty surface of the Boone’s Farm bottle and slid down its glistening side.
Something large crawled along the hallway ceiling into the kitchen. I pretended not to see it. It stopped to the left of me and slightly behind, so I didn’t have to pretend very hard.
The intruder hesitated, turned, and anchored itself in the corner, where the ceiling met the wall. It sat there, fastened to the paneling by enormous yellow talons, still and silent like a gargoyle in full sunlight. I took a swig from the bottle and set it so I could see the creature’s reflection. Nude and hairless, it didn’t carry a single ounce of fat on its lean frame. Its skin stretched so tight over the hard cords of muscle, it threatened to snap. Like a thin layer of wax melted over an anatomy model.
Your friendly neighborhood Spiderman.
The vampire raised its left hand. The dagger talons sliced the empty air, back and forth, like curved knitting needles. The vamp turned its head doglike and studied me with eyes luminescent with a particular kind of madness, born of bestial blood thirst and free of any thought or restraint.
In a single motion I whipped around and hurled the dagger. The black blade sliced cleanly into the creature’s throat.
The vampire froze. Its yellow claws stopped moving.
Thick, purplish blood swelled around the blade and slowly slid down the naked flesh of the vampire’s neck, staining its chest and dripping on the floor. The vampire’s features twisted, trying to morph into a different face. It opened its maw, displaying twin fangs, curved like miniature ivory sickles.
“That was extremely inconsiderate, Kate,” Ghastek’s voice said from the vampire’s throat. “Now I have to feed him.”
“It’s a reflex. Hear a bell, get food. See an undead, throw a knife. Same thing, really.”
The vampire’s face jerked as if the Master of the Dead controlling it tried to squint.
“What are you drinking?” Ghastek asked.
“You can afford better.”
“I don’t want better. I like Boone’s Farm. And I prefer to do business by phone, and with you, not at all.”
“I don’t wish to hire you, Kate. This is merely a social call.”
I stared at the vampire, wishing I could put my knife into Ghastek’s throat. It would feel very good cutting into his flesh. Unfortunately he sat in an armored room many miles away.
“You enjoy screwing with me, don’t you, Ghastek?”
The million-dollar question was why. “What is it you want? Make it quick, my Boone’s Farm’s getting warm.”
“I was just wondering,” Ghastek said with dry neutrality particular only to him, “when was the last time you saw your guardian?”
The nonchalance in his voice sent tiny shivers down my spine. “Why?”
“No reason. As always, a pleasure.”
In a single powerful leap the vampire detached itself from the wall and flew through the open window, taking my knife with it.
I reached for the phone, swearing under my breath, and dialed the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid. No vampire could breach my wards when the magic was in full swing. Ghastek had no way of knowing when the magic would ebb, so he must have been watching my house for some time, waiting for my defensive spells to fail. I took a swig from the bottle. That meant a vamp had been hiding someplace close when I came home last night, and I didn’t see or feel it. How reassuring. Might just as well write “Alert R Us” on my merc ID.
One ring. Two. Three. Why would he ask me about Greg?
The phone clicked and a stern female voice delivered a practiced blurb, “Atlanta Chapter of the Order, how may I help you?”
“I would like to speak to Greg Feldman.”
A faint note of anxiety pulsed through her voice.
“I don’t have to give you my name,” I said into the receiver. “I wish to speak to the knight-diviner.”
A pause issued and a male voice said, “Please, identify yourself.”
They were stalling, probably trying to trace the call. What the hell was going on?
“No,” I said firmly. “Page seven of your Charter, third paragraph down: ‘Any citizen has a right to seek counsel of a knight-diviner without fear of retribution or need for identification.’ As a citizen, I insist that you put me in contact with the knight-diviner now or specify the time he can be reached.”
“The knight-diviner is dead,” the voice said.
The world halted. I skidded through its stillness, frightened and off balance. My throat ached. I heard my heart beating in my chest.
“How?” My voice was calm.
“He was killed in the line of duty.”
“Who did it?”
“The matter is still under investigation. Look, if I could just get your name . . .”
I pushed the disconnect button and lowered the receiver in its place. I looked at the empty chair across from me. Two weeks ago Greg had sat in this chair, stirring his coffee. His spoon had made small precise circles, never touching the sides of the mug. For a moment I could actually see him right there, while the memory played in my mind.
Greg was looking at me with dark brown eyes, mournful, like the eyes of an icon. “Please, Kate. Suspend your dislike of me for a few moments and listen to what I have to say. It makes sense.”
“I don’t dislike you. It’s an oversimplification.”
He nodded, wearing that very patient expression that drove women mad. “Of course. I didn’t intend to slight or simplify your feelings. I merely wish us to concentrate on the substance of what I have to say. Could you please listen?”
I leaned back and crossed my arms. “I’m listening.”
He reached inside his leather jacket and produced a rolled-up scroll. He placed the scroll on the table and unrolled it slowly, holding it taut with the tips of his fingers.
“This is the invitation from the Order.”
I threw my hands in the air. “That’s it, I’m done.”
“Allow me to finish,” he said. He didn’t look angry. He didn’t tell me that I was acting like a child, although I knew that I was. It made me madder.
“Very well,” I said.
“In a few weeks you’ll turn twenty-five. While in itself that means very little, in terms of readmission into the Order it carries a certain weight. It’s much harder to gain entrance once you turn twenty-five. Not impossible. Just harder.”
“I know,” I said. “They’ve sent me brochures.”
He let go of the scroll and leaned back, lacing his long fingers. The scroll remained open even though every law of physics dictated that it should snap back into a roll. Greg forgot about physics sometimes.
“In that case, you’re aware of the age penalties.”
It wasn’t a question, but I answered it anyway. “Yes.”
He sighed. It was a small movement, only noticeable to those who knew him well. I could tell by the way he sat, very still, craning his neck slightly, that he had guessed at my decision.
“I wish you would reconsider,” he said.
“I don’t think so.” For a moment I could see the frustration in his eyes. We both knew what was left unsaid: the Order promised protection, and protection to someone of my lineage was paramount.
“Can I ask why?” he said.
“It’s not for me, Greg. I can’t deal with hierarchy.”
For him the Order was a place of refuge and security, a place of power. Its members committed themselves to the values of the Order completely, serving with such dedication that the organization itself no longer seemed a gathering of individuals, but an entity in itself, thinking, rationalizing, and incredibly powerful. Greg embraced it and it nurtured him. I fought it and almost lost.
“Every moment I spent there, I felt as if there was less of me,” I said. “As if I was shrinking. Dwindling away. I had to get out and I won’t go back.”
Greg looked at me, his dark eyes terribly sad. In this dim light, in my small kitchen, his beauty was startling. In some perverse way I was happy that my stubbornness forced him to visit and now he sat in a chair less than a foot away, like an ageless elven prince, elegant and sorrowful. God, how much I hated myself for this little girl fantasy.
“If you’ll excuse me,” I said.
He blinked, startled by my formality and then rose smoothly. “Of course. Thank you for the coffee.”
I saw him to the door. The outside had turned dark, and the bright light of the moon enameled the grass on my lawn with silver. By the porch, white Rose of Sharon flowers glowed against the shrubs like a scattering of stars.
I watched Greg descend down the three concrete steps into the yard.
“Yes?” He turned. His magic flared about him like a mantle.
“Nothing.” I closed the door.
My last memory of him, poised against the moonlight-drenched lawn and clothed in his magic.
I cradled myself with my arms, wanting to cry. The tears would not come. My mouth had gone dry. My last link to my family severed. Nobody was left. I had no mother, no father, and now no Greg. I clenched my teeth and went to pack.
THE MAGIC HAD HIT WHILE I WAS PACKING THE essentials into my bag and I had to take Karmelion instead of my regular car. A beat-up rusted truck, bile green in color and missing the left headlight assembly, Karmelion had only one advantage—it ran on water infused with magic and could be driven during a magic wave. Unlike normal cars, the truck did not rumble or murmur or produce any sound one would expect an engine to make. Instead it growled, whined, snarled, and emitted deafening peals of thunder with depressing regularity. Who named it Karmelion, and why, I had no idea. I bought it at a junk-yard with the name scrawled on the windshield.
Lucky for me, on a regular day Karmelion had to travel only thirty miles to Savannah. Today I forced it into the ley line, which in itself wasn’t bad for it, since the ley line dragged it almost all the way to Atlanta, but the trek across the city didn’t do it much good. Now the truck was cooling off in the parking lot behind me, dripping water and sweating magic. It would take me a good fifteen minutes to warm the generator back up, but that was alright. I planned to be here for a while.
I hated Atlanta. I hated cities, period.
I stood on the sidewalk and surveyed the small shabby office building that supposedly contained the Atlanta Chapter of the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid. The Order made efforts to conceal its true size and power, but in this case they had gone overboard. The building, a concrete box three stories high, stuck out like a sore thumb among the stately brick houses flanking it on both sides. The walls sported orange rust stains made by rainwater dripping from the metal roof through the holes in the gutters. Thick metal grates secured small windows, blocked by pale venetian blinds behind dusty glass.
There had to be another facility in the city. A place where the support staff worked while the field agents put on a nice modest front for the public. It would have a large, state of the art armory, and a computer network, and a database of files on anyone of power—magic or mundane. Somewhere in that database my name sat in its own little niche, the name of a reject, undisciplined and worthless. Just the way I liked it.
I touched the wall. About a quarter of an inch away from the concrete, my finger encountered elastic resistance, as if I was trying to squeeze a tennis ball. A faint shimmer of silver pulsed from my skin and I withdrew my hand. The building was heavily warded against hostile magic. If someone with a lot of juice was to hurl a fireball at it, it would probably bounce off without so much as scorching the gray walls.
I opened one half of the metal double doors and walked inside. A narrow passage stretched to the right of me, terminating at a door boasting a large red-on-white sign: Authorized Personnel Only. My other option was a flight of stairs leading upward.
I took the stairs, noting they were surprisingly clean. Nobody tried to stop me. Nobody asked why I was there. Look at us, we are helpful and nonthreatening, we live to serve the community, and we even let anyone walk into our office.
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Meet the Author
Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Together, they are the coauthors of the #1 New York Times bestselling Kate Daniels urban-fantasy series, including Magic Rises, Magic Slays, and Magic Bleeds and the romantic urban-fantasy novels of the Edge, including Steel's Edge, Fate's Edge, and Bayou Moon. They currently reside in Texas with their two children and numerous pets.
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My introduction to the world of Kate Daniels was the short story Magic Mourns which was included in the Must Love Hellhounds anthology. I am a fan of Charlaine Harris and picked up the anthology to check out her non-Sookie story. I loved Magic Mourns and started looking to see what else Illona Andrews had written. At that point, there were already three books in the Kate Daniels series with a fourth due out shortly. I bought the first three books and literally read straight through that weekend, finishing all three in a matter of a few days. I was a little surprised when I realized that the main character in Magic Mourns is actually the best friend of the series main character, Kate Daniels, but got over it quickly as I got engrossed in the very unique world Ilona Andrews has created in a seemingly modern-day Atlanta. I appreciate the unique take on what has become an increasingly popular genre of magical creatures, vampires and shape shifters and enjoy the humor that is infused throughout the story. Kate is not your typical heroine and is definitely not always in the right place at the right time, yet she never gives up. She is dedicated and loyal and while strong, always seems to be full of bumps and bruises which makes her all that more likable as a character. I highly recommend this series for people who enjoy stories that include an element of magic and myth to go along with action and mystery - and a little romance too!
In the near future, the world is a very different place as magic has returned but it ebbs and flows. When it flows, technology fails, but when it ebbs technology works. Kate Daniels belongs to the Mercenaries Guild, taking care of magical problems that organizations won¿t touch. Her mentor Greg Feldman wants her to join his group the Atlanta chapter of the Chapter of the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid but she refuses as she prefers being a lone wolf.-------------- When Greg is killed, she goes to the Order to tell them she wants to find her mentor¿s killer. They tell her she can perform a sidebar investigation under their rule and provide her the information they know and the pictures they have. The crime pictures show the same entity murdered Greg and a vampire. It looks like a shapeshifter is the culprit, which implies hostilities are erupting between that species and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers who control the mindless vampires. Kate has a hunch that someone is orchestrating things behind the scenes to cause a war between the two wary adversaries but she has no idea who has the power to pull off such a diabolically sly ruse.------------------ Ilona Andrews is the newest fantasy magician who makes her world seem plausible yet entertaining mindful of Rosemary Edghill and Mercedes Lackey. The heroine is an enigmatic interesting individual who learns over her investigation that she is capable of trusting others as well as gaining the confidence of Pack King Curran while still keeping much of what she learns to herself. MAGIC BITES is an enchanting paranormal whodunit that takes the supernatural into new natural directions.----------------- Harriet Klausner
Great strong lead character, very cool setting and imaginative mix of magic/non-magic. I like the sparse details at the beginning that get fleshed out as the story evolves, keeps you reading. The light romance that seems sure to develop over future books is engaging and will keep me reading the series. The vampires were icky, but I liked the totally different take on them.
I'm thinking "no".... this book was really hard for me to get into. I forced myself to continue by reading all the terrific reviews hoping it would kick in... about 70 pages of force reading lead me to a a book finally interesting enough to continue. I felt it was poorly written as several times I would back track a couple paragraphs thinking I had skipped something, but I did not. The flow was just off in some places. Overall, it was an interesting story but I didn't give a hoot about any of the characters and the mysteries that remain don't really inspire me. Therefore I doubt I will continue with this series unless I am really desperate.
Strong female character, strong male characters set in the future of waxing and waning magic and tech. I fell into the fictive dream of story/plot/mystery and characters - read the book in one setting - could not put it down. Would recommend it for urban fantasy lovers and it's really cool if you know Atlanta. Great authors.
A little reminescent of Simon R. Green, but this was a fun read. I like that the characters have so much chemistry and scenes turn sexy without turning smutty. The action carries the book well. My only critism is that i wish there was more description in the early parts of the book to help me visualize this world. But the descriptions get better throughout the book and the world emerges through the story.
If you are interested in Vampires, Witches, and Shape shifters- this most definitely is the book for you. Ilona Andrews style of writing brings you right into the story, while her expressive characters and love triangles leaves you drooling for the second book. Kate Daniels is a wonderfully real woman; is great at wielding a sword but is not overly cocky. Her character knows what she wants, and gets it. Ms. Andrews doesn't over compensate Kate's character with heavy arrogance or nonchalance a lot of writers use for their heroines. Kate Daniels has flaws and you can feel them in the story. The other characters in the story, including the Shape shifters King, are very three dimensional and believable. The scenery and plight of the characters is hard to put down. A great read to just escape to. :)
I enjoyed the modern magical world that this author created. It was realistic but also fresh and exciting with a dynamic and fleshed out heroine. The action and suspense was high and the characters unique and witty. The only real hinderous was the many characters and some of the world details ad rituals. Throuhot the book i found myself flipping back asking "who was that now?" And someties having to reread passages several vtimes to understand a concept. But overall reall well-writen piece.
I LOVED this book so much! Its off-beat and unussual in the extreame. kate danials is a very good swordswomen with a mysterirus past. when the last family she has is murdered she neads to find out who did it so she puts away her revulsion of the order and they allow her to do the investigation. while she is trying to find her gaurdians murderer she must team up with the pack. A group of shape-changers. they are volitile and ery teritorial. so she is in shallow water. Especialy since the pack lord curran and kate do not get along. At all. Kate and curran are at best volitile and at worst homicidal. kate and curran must work together to kind the purson who killed kates gaurdian and some shape-changers. I would recomend this to alot of people but not everyone. If you get squemash at just the mention of blood or guts you will not like these books. However if you like urban fantacy, mystery and action. The next book is called Magic burns and the third one is called Magic strikes. The fourth one comes out in May 2010. read this book! Its positively amazing!
Ilona Andrews (they are actually man and wife tandem. wow) did not hold my hand while I navigate the first few chapters of Kate Daniel's world. I was not used to it I felt lost. The vampires call themselves as the People (and their face / personality, everything leans more on hideous), Magic Guild Mercenary (this is where Kate belongs, assassin of some sort), The Pack that have seven clans and not all of them are werewolves and the Order of the Merciful Aid (the politicians, lol). Fascinating groups, now all I have to do is get use to them and their terms. I wasn't really jumping up and down with this book. It is actually hard to review this one. It is complex. Kate Daniel's world is somewhat futuristic. Magic is loose to the world and humans live a long side our favorite monsters. But how did it come to that? Did I miss something? Normally I like this kind of a challenge but I wasn't up for it while reading. So the research to understand more came in later. As a result while I was reading, I almost decided not to finish the book. I was confused and sleepy up until about the last few chapters. But here's what kept me going: There is a mystery in Kate's blood. When she spills she have to make sure that nobody can get a sample of it so she burns her bloodied clothes or whatever after a fight. Or she kill the person/creature who took samples. Her blood is either something special or she's hiding from someone/something and I'm itching to know. Then there's Curran, not impressed at this point but I will give him a chance he is after all the leader of the Pack, I need to read more of his antics. To those who read this book already, how many are you out there revel on the goriness of that one scene where Kate cut of a vamp's head and order it to wake up and tell her who his master?
Despite misgivings about any book titled MAGIC STRIKES, I picked up the ARC from work without knowing a thing about the book. Of course, it didn't take me long to realize that MAGIC STRIKES was the third in a series...and I was without the first two. Despite being frustrated, I decided to give Andrews a shot (though, to be honest, this decision was helped along by the blurb that Patricia Briggs has on the cover of the Andrews series). After a few weeks of procrastination, I shelled out a few dollars to get the first book, MAGIC BITES. Things turned out with very nice timing, though, considering that MAGIC STRIKES will be released on the 31st of March. Kate Daniels is a penniless mercenary who specializes in neutralizing magical "problems". In Kate's world, there are tide-like periods of "magic" and "tech" that ebb and flow. When the magic "is up", human technology fails: cars, phones, guns... When the tech comes back up, the magic has left a string of problems. The plot of MAGIC BITES does not, however, revolve around one of these everyday (for Kate) occurrences. Instead, the death of her guardian puts Kate both on the path of solving the mystery and revenge. Andrews drops the reader into Kate's world with a pace that requires the reader to either hit the ground running or fall to the ground due to the momentum. I took pretty well to this approach, though I felt that a little more explanation wouldn't have hurt the reader (or the size of the book, because the poor volume feels sadly thin at 260 pages). Regardless, I found Kate's world immediately intriguing. Though the world is filled with the usual suspects (vampires, werewolves and the like), each has a very original twist. How can one put any originality into vampires--outside of something silly like making them sparkle? Well, in Andrews' world, vampires are undead and mindless, but also generally used as vessels to be "driven" by the minds of necromancers. As for the "were"-creatures, they come in many forms. Not only werewolves, but were-lions, were-rats and... Kate, herself, is a human who wields magic and a magic-sword, but seems to have more to her than is divulged within this first book. I'm very much hoping for a secret worth waiting for. Like all books in the urban fantasy genre, I have parts I love and hate respectively. I do adore a strong female protagonist--and Kate definitely has some traits in common with Patricia Briggs' amazing Mercedes Thompson. Alternately, Kate was interesting on her own, but if she seems to run along the danger of being too much this tough persona. Sure, MAGIC BITES covered weaknesses Kate supposedly has, but none really felt real. For one, her grief over her lose of Greg--whether or not their relationship was complex--was not nearly covered well enough. Additionally, I have to wonder why every urban fantasy starring a female protagonist follows the "everyone must lust after the protagonist" formula. Testosterone driven males everywhere! I won't even bother to explain how unrealistic it is that all these males are so driven to find a hard-headed, "tom-boyish" female that is prone to threats and posturing. Nearly worse is that you can almost always spot the love-interest-to-be by (a) how much he and the protagonist butt heads to begin with and (b) by the fact he is usually the "dominant" male of the story. (Honestly, the near-romance with the unas
I picked this up thinking this will be a bit silly but light reading, having just finished a very character and plot heavy book. After a chapter or two I began to get into the story and was hooked. Andrews does a fine job of creating a Koonts-like "Odd Thomas" character. For some it will be a bit on the gory side, because the action sequences are vividly done. The ultimate bad guy is a combination of sinister,strange and deadly types rolled into one. You finish actually wishing it was a bit longer. Sequel, you betcha! Buy this, I think you will like it.
I thought I would take a chance on a new "heroine" in the hopes I would find another series like the Kitty Norville and Rachel Morgan books. Guess what? Mission accomplished. Definitely a good, fun, action packed series. I look forward to the final book in the series. If you like strong female leads, this series is for you.
A world where magic, vampires, were-animals, and all the other things that go bump in the night are real. Ever since Laurell K. Hamilton first introduced us to this concept, lots of authors have tried their own take on the subject...more often than not with a tough-as-nails female lead character. Ms. Andrews does a pretty decent job of it. I was able to fall into the book and enjoy the story...not an easy thing to do with a lot of authors. I enjoyed the story, the characters are reasonably fresh, the dialog is witty and sarcastic in a Dawson's Creek but rated R and sometimes X kind of way, and she does a pretty darn good job with describing the settings. She gets a better than average because I didn't feel like I wasted my money and will buy the next book. I didn't give it five because I have been able to put it down and come back to it later...the only books that rate a five for me are the ones that make my wife mad because I stay up all night reading.
I usually shy away from anything involving vampires and werewolves. Not because it's too scary, but because it's too "Twilight". This put a different spin on all of that. In just a few weeks, I've read every single novel and novella in this series! The authors did a great job at "world-building". As the story begins, it's apparent that things in that world are not the same as they are here... The reactions of the characters in their situations are realistic. Additionally, the relationships are realistic and fully believable. It's a fun book, a fun series, and I look forward to the next installment!
Great dry humor and battle of wits. Enduring purpose and different approach. Ccaught me in the 1st two pages.
I have always loved this series... definately kick but... what I don't understand are people saying they can't wait for book 2?!?!? It's out!!!!
I really enjoyed Kate and her sassy wit. I was in a book rut before finding this series and couldn't be more happy with it. Comparable series would be Chicagoland Vampires or Mercy Thompson Series. Only difference I'd like to see would be more romance or love story.
Really enjoyed this book. Looking forward to the second one.
Excellent start to the series!
I've just read the other reviews and I guess you either really like it or you hate it This is the third time I've read it
The beginning of an excellent series, Magic Bites is set in a near future in which technology and magic constantly fight for dominance. Our heroine, Kate Daniels, is a mercenary who deals with tough magical problems others wish to avoid. Her world is unique and full of a fascinating array of characters both magical and human, including shapeshifters and a very interesting take on vampires. Curran, the Beast Lord of Atlanta, is a particular favorite of mine, as is the snappy dialogue and Kate herself. The books get better and better as the series progresses too. Highly recommended.
I read the whole book for two reasons. First of all, I bought it, as opposed to borrowing it from the library, and I always feel bad when I don't finish the ones I've bought. Second of all, the writing style was pretty good and I kept hoping that the character development would get better. Unfortunately, it didn't. I get it; Kate was supposed to be detached, a loner. That's fine. It's the way of heroines in science fiction to world over. However, it's important that the reader have the opportunity to bond with the subject of a story and Kate remained detached and inscrutable throughout the entire story. By the end of the story, I didn't feel as if I had any better grasp on her life than I had at the beginning; less even, because I'd realized that whatever she had actually felt for Greg was a paternal feeling and not romantic (as was suggested in the beginning), which seemed to distance me from her even more. I knew it wasn't going to work with Crest; Derek hit the nail on the head. I kind of new that something might develop with Curran, but I couldn't get my mind around how it happened. It was forced. You can't insist that someone is a glory hound, which to me means shallow and insecure, and then suddenly realize unspent feelings. The kiss was wrong and he never came close to apologizing for his assumptions about her. I think a woman like Kate would have needed some kind of concession. She wouldn't be with a man who thought her weak. I wasn't impressed; I was frustrated, too frustrated to keep reading.
this book was a bit dark and edgy, but in a good way. There was a lot of interesting characters in this book that got me engrossed. I can't wait to read the next one. I hope in the next book there might be a lil more romance
In this, Ilona Andrews' first novel, there is magic in the world, and it does not like technology. Set in Atlanta in the not-too-distant future, Magic Bites tells of a world where magic comes in waves, alternating with "tech" (times when technology works). Because of this influx of magic, there are certain agencies which have been created to deal with new magical problems such as harpies, dragons, and the occasional salamander-wielding arsonist. One such agency is the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, a highly-structured system which "helps" citizens who cannot afford any other aid. Another magical clean-up agency is the Mercenary Guild, to which Kate Daniels belongs.
When Kate's oldest friend and sometime-protector Greg is murdered, Kate takes on a mission to figure out why and how he died, and to avenge his murder. Kate's investigations bring her to the Order - which she left several years beforehand due to "authority issues". They put her in league with the Pack (shapeshifters who have conquered their beasts and retain their humanity), and have her facing off against the city's Masters of the Dead (necromancers and their vampire drones) in a battle for the city - and her life.
The story contained within Magic Bites is interesting, and I love Andrews' conceptualization of magic colliding with our technology-laden world. However, it all could have used slightly more editing, or more writing, or...well, something. There were a few parts where I was unclear as to how the characters got to a certain conclusion, and the narrator is constantly hinting at things which we are never told. Perhaps these hints will be further explained in forthcoming books, and I hope they are. This is an interesting series: I have already started on the next book, and hope that Andrews publishes more volumes of Kate's story.