Drafted into working for the Order of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems than she knows what to do with these days. And in Atlanta, where magic comes and goes like the tide, that’s saying a lot.
But when Kate's werewolf friend Derek is discovered nearly dead, she must confront her greatest challenge yet. As her investigation leads her to the Midnight Games—an invitation only, no holds barred, ultimate preternatural fighting tournament—she and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, uncover a dark plot that may forever alter the face of Atlanta's shapeshifting community...
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SOME DAYS MY JOB WAS HARDER THAN OTHERS.
I tapped the ladder with my hand. "See? It's very sturdy, Mrs. McSweeney. You can come down now."
Mrs. McSweeney looked at me from the top of the telephone pole, having obvious doubts about the ladder's and my reliability. Thin, bird–boned, she had to be past seventy. The wind stirred the nimbus of ne white hair around her head and blew open her nightgown, presenting me with sights better left unseen.
"Mrs. McSweeney, I wish you would come down."
She arched her back and sucked in a deep breath. Not again. I sat on the ground and clamped my hands over my ears.
The wail cut through the stillness of the night, sharp like a knife. It hammered the windows of the apartment buildings, wringing a high–pitched hum from the glass. Down the street, dogs yowled as one, matching the cry with unnatural harmony. The lament built, swelling like an avalanche, until I could hear nothing but its complex, layered chorus: the lonely howl of a wolf, the forlorn shriek of a bird, the heart–wrenching cry of a child. She wailed and wailed, as if her heart were being torn out of her chest, lling me with despair.
The magic wave ended. One moment it saturated the world, giving potency to Mrs. McSweeney's cry, and the next it vanished without warning, gone like a line drawn in the sand just before the surf licked it. The technology reasserted itself. The blue feylantern hanging from the top of the pole went dark, as the magic–charged air lost its potency. Electric lights came on in the apartment building.
It was called post–Shift resonance: magic drowned the world in a wave, snufng out anything complex and technological, smothering car engines, jamming automatic weapons, and eroding tall buildings. Mages red ice bolts, skyscrapers fell, and wards ared into life, keeping undesirables from my house. And then, just like that, the magic would vanish, leaving monsters in its wake. Nobody could predict when it would reappear and nobody could prevent it. All we could do was cope with an insane tarantella of magic and technology. That was why I carried a sword. It always worked.
The last echoes of the cry bounced from the brick walls and died.
Mrs. McSweeney stared at me with sad eyes. I picked myself off the ground and waved at her. "I'll be right back."
I trotted into the dark entrance to the apartment, where ve members of the McSweeney family crouched in the gloom. "Tell me again why you can't come out and help me?"
Robert McSweeney, a middle–aged, dark–eyed man with thinning brown hair, shook his head. "Mom thinks we don't know she's a banshee. Look, Ms. Daniels, can you get her down or not? You're the knight of the Order, for Christ's sake."
First, I wasn't a knight; I just worked for the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid. Second, negotiation wasn't my forte. I killed things. Quickly and with much bloodshed.
Getting elderly banshees in denial off telephone poles wasn't something I did often.
"Can you think of anything that might help me?"
Robert's wife, Melinda, sighed. "I don't . . . I mean, she always kept it so under wraps. We've heard her wail before but she was so discreet about it. This isn't normal for her."
An elderly black woman in a mumu descended the staircase. "Has that girl gotten Margie down yet?"
"I'm working on it," I told her.
"You tell her, she better not miss our bingo tomorrow night."
I headed to the pole. Part of me sympathized with Mrs. McSweeney. The three law enforcement agencies that regulated life in the United States post–Shift—the Military Supernatural Defense Unit, or MSDU; the Paranormal Activity Division, or PAD; and my illustrious employer, the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid—all certied banshees as harmless. Nobody had yet been able to link their wails to any deaths or natural disasters. But folklore blamed banshees for all sorts of nefarious things. They were rumored to drive people mad with their screams and kill children with a mere look. Plenty of people would be nervous about living next to a banshee, and I could understand why Mrs. McSweeney went to great lengths to hide who she was. She didn't want her friends to shun her or her family.
Unfortunately, no matter how well you hide, sooner or later your big secret will bite you in the behind, and you might nd yourself standing on a telephone pole, not sure why or how you got there, while the neighborhood pretends not to hear your piercing screeches.
Yeah. I was one to talk. When it came to hiding one's identity, I was an expert. I burned my bloody bandages, so nobody could identify me by the magic in my blood. I hid my power. I tried very hard not to make friends and mostly succeeded. Because when my secret came to life, I wouldn't end up on top of a telephone pole. I would be dead and all my friends would be dead with me.
I approached the pole and looked at Mrs. McSweeney. "Alright. I'm going to count to three and then you have to come down."
She shook her head.
"Mrs. McSweeney! You're making a spectacle out of yourself. Your family is worried about you and you have bingo tomorrow night. You don't want to miss it, do you?"
She bit her lip.
"We will do it together." I climbed three steps up the ladder. "On three. One, two, three, step!"
I took a step down and watched her do the same. Thank you, whoever you are upstairs.
"One more. One, two, three, step."
We took another step, and then she took one by herself. I jumped to the ground. "That's it."
Mrs. McSweeney paused. Oh no.
She looked at me with her sad eyes and asked, "You won't tell anyone, will you?"
I glanced at the windows of the apartment building. She had wailed loudly enough to wake the dead and make them call the cops. But in this day and age, people banded together. One couldn't rely on tech or on magic, only on family and neighbors. They were willing to keep her secret, no matter how absurd it seemed, and so was I.
"I won't tell anyone," I promised.
Two minutes later, she was heading to her apartment, and I was wrestling with the ladder, trying to make it t back into the space under the stairs, where the super had gotten it from for me.
My day had started at ve with a frantic man running through the hallway of the Atlanta chapter of the Order and screaming that a dragon with a cat head had gotten into New Hope School and was about to devour the children. The dragon turned out to be a small tatzelwyrm, which I unfortunately was unable to subdue without cutting its head off. That was the rst time I had gotten sprayed with blood today.
Then I had to help Mauro get a two–headed freshwater serpent out of an articial pond at the ruins of One Atlantic Center in Buckhead. The day went downhill from there. It was past midnight now. I was dirty, tired, hungry, smeared with four different types of blood, and I wanted to go home. Also my boots stank because the serpent had vomited a half–eaten cat corpse on my feet.
I nally managed to stuff the ladder in its place and left the apartment building for the parking lot, where my female mule, Marigold, was tied to a metal rack set up there for precisely that purpose. I had gotten within ten feet of her when I saw a half–nished swastika drawn on her rump in green paint. The paint stick lay broken on the ground. There was also some blood and what looked like a tooth. I looked closer. Yep, denitely a tooth.
"Had an adventure, did we?"
Marigold didn't say anything, but I knew from experience that approaching her from behind was Not a Good Idea. She kicked like a mule, probably because she was one.
If not for the Order's brand on her other butt cheek, Marigold might have been stolen tonight. Fortunately, the knights of the Order had a nasty habit of magically tracking thieves and coming down on them like a ton of bricks.
I untied her, mounted, and we braved the night.
Typically technology and magic switched at least once every couple of days, usually more often than that. But two months ago we had been hit with a are, a wave so potent, it drowned the city like a magic tsunami, making impossible things a reality. For three days demons and gods had walked the streets and human monsters had great difculty controlling themselves. I had spent the are on the battleeld, helping a handful of shapeshifters butcher a demonic horde.
It had been an epic occurrence all around. I still had vivid dreams about it, not exactly nightmares, but intoxicating, surreal visions of blood and gleaming blades and death.
The are had burned out, leaving technology rmly in control of the world. For two months, cars started without fail, electricity held the darkness at bay, and air–conditioning made August blissful. We even had TV. On Monday night they had shown a movie, Terminator 2, hammering home the point: it could always be worse.
Then, on Wednesday right around noon, the magic hit and Atlanta went to hell.
I wasn't sure if people had deluded themselves into thinking the magic wouldn't come back or if they had been caught unprepared, but we'd never had so many calls for help since I had started with the Order. Unlike the Mercenary Guild, for which I also worked, the knights of the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid helped anyone and everyone regardless of their ability to pay. They charged only what you could afford and a lot of times nothing at all. We had been ooded with pleas. I managed to catch four hours of sleep on Wednesday night and then it was up and running again. Technically it was Friday now, and I was plagued by persistent fantasies of hot showers, food, and soft sheets. I had made an apple pie a couple of days ago, and I still had a slice left for tonight.
"Kate?" Maxine's stern voice echoed through my head, distant but clear.
I didn't jump. After the marathon of the last forty–eight hours, hearing the Order's telepathic secretary in my head seemed perfectly normal. Sad but true.
"I'm sorry, dear, but the pie might have to wait."
What else was new? Maxine didn't read thoughts on purpose, but if I concentrated on something hard enough, she couldn't help but catch a hint of it.
"I have a green seven, called in by a civilian."
Dead shapeshifter. Anything shapeshifter–related was mine. The shapeshifters distrusted outsiders, and I was the only employee of the Atlanta chapter of the Order who enjoyed Friend of the Pack status. "Enjoyed" being a relative term. Mostly my status meant that the shapeshifters might let me say a couple of words before deciding to llet me. They took paranoid to a new level.
"Where is it?"
"Corner of Ponce de Leon and Dead Cat."
Twenty minutes by mule. Chances were, the Pack already knew the death had taken place. They would be all over the scene, snarling and claiming jurisdiction. Ugh. I turned Marigold and headed north. "I'm on it."
MARIGOLD CHUGGED UP THE STREETS, SLOW BUT
steady, and seemingly tireless. The jagged skyline crawled past me, once–proud buildings reduced to crumbling husks. It was as if magic had set a match to Atlanta but extinguished the ames before the scorched city had a chance to burn to the ground.
Here and there random pinpoint dots of electric lights punctured the darkness. A scent of charcoal smoke spiced with the aroma of seared meat drifted from the Alexander on Ponce apartments. Someone was cooking a midnight dinner. The streets lay deserted. Most people with a crumb of sense knew better than to stay out at night.
A high–pitched howl of a wolf rolled through the city, sending shivers down my spine. I could almost picture her standing upon a concrete rib of a fallen skyscraper, pale fur enameled silver by moonlight, her head raised to expose her shaggy throat as she sung a awless song, tinted with melancholy longing and the promise of a bloody hunt.
A lean shadow skittered from the alley, followed by another. Emaciated, hairless, loping on all fours in a jerky, uncoordinated gait, they crossed the street before me and paused. They had been human at some point but both had been dead for more than a decade. No fat or softness remained on their bodies. No esh—only steel–wire muscle beneath thick hide. Two vampires on the prowl. And they were out of their territory.
"ID," I said. Most navigators knew me by sight just like they knew every member of the Order in Atlanta.
The forefront bloodsucker unhinged his jaw and the navigator's voice issued forth, distorted slightly. "Journeyman Rodriguez, Journeyman Salvo."
Of all the Masters of the Dead, I detested Rowena the least. "You're a long way from the Casino."
"We . . ."
The second bloodsucker opened his mouth, revealing light fangs against his black maw. "He screwed up and got us lost in the Warren."
"I followed the map."
The second bloodsucker stabbed a clawed nger at the sky. "The map's useless if you can't orient for shit. The moon doesn't rise in the north, you moron."
Two idiots. It would be comical if I didn't feel the blood hunger rising from the vamps. If these two knuckleheads lost control for a moment, the bloodsuckers would rip into me.
"Carry on," I said and nudged Marigold.
The vamps took off, the journeymen riding their minds probably bickering somewhere deep within the Casino. The Immortuus pathogen robbed its victims of their egos. Insentient, the vampires obeyed only their hunger for blood, butchering anything with a pulse. The emptiness of a vampiric mind made it a perfect vehicle for necromancers, Masters of the Dead. Most of the Masters served the People. Part cult, part research institute, part corporation, all vomit inducing, the People devoted themselves to the study and care of the undead. They had chapters in most major cities, just like the Order. Here, in Atlanta, they made their den in the Casino.
Among the power brokers of Atlanta, the People ranked pretty high. Only the Pack could match them in the potential for destruction. The People were led by a mysterious legendary gure, who chose to call himself Roland in this day and age. Roland possessed immense power. He was also the man I had been training all my life to kill.
I circled a big pot hole in the old pavement, turned onto Dead Cat, and saw the crime scene under a busted street lamp. Cops and witnesses were nowhere in sight. Gauzy moonlight sifted onto the bodies of seven shapeshifters. None of them was dead.
Two werewolves in animal form swept the scene for scents, carefully padding in widening circles from the narrow mouth of Dead Cat Street. Most shapeshifters in beast form ran larger than their animal counterparts, and these proved no exception: hulking, shaggy beasts taller and thicker than a male Great Dane. Past them, two of their colleagues in human form packed something suspiciously resembling a body into a body bag. Three others walked the perimeter, presumably to keep the onlookers out of the way. As if anyone was dumb enough to linger for a second look.
At my approach, everything stopped. Seven pairs of glowing eyes stared at me: four green, three yellow. Judging by the glow, the shapeshifter crew hovered on the verge of going furry. One of their own was dead and they were out for blood.
I kept my tone light. "You fellows ever thought of hiring out as a Christmas lights crew? You'd make a fortune."
The nearest shapeshifter trotted to me. Bulky with muscle but t, he was in his early forties. His face wore the trademark expression the Pack presented to the outsiders: polite and hard like the rock of Gibraltar. "Good evening, ma'am. This is a private investigation conducted by the Pack. I'm going to have to ask you to please move on."
Ma'am . . . Oy.
I reached into my shirt, pulled out the wallet of transparent plastic I carried on a cord around my neck, and passed it to him. He glanced at my ID, complete with a small square of enchanted silver, and called out, "Order."
Across the street a man congealed from the darkness. One moment there was only a deep night shadow lying like a pool of ink against the wall of the building, and the next there he stood. Six–two, his skin the color of bitter chocolate, and built like a prize ghter. Normally he wore a black cloak, but today he limited himself to black jeans and T–shirt. As he moved toward me, muscles rolled on his chest and arms. His face inspired second thoughts in would–be brawlers. He looked like he broke bones for a living and he loved his job.
"Hello, Jim," I said, keeping my tone friendly. "Fancy meeting you here."
The shapeshifter who had spoken to me took off. Jim came close and patted Marigold's neck.
"Long night?" he asked. His voice was melodious and smooth. He never sang, but you knew he could, and if he decided to do it, women would be hurling themselves into his path.
"You might say that."
Jim was my partner from the days when I worked exclusively for the Mercenary Guild. Some merc gigs required more than one body, and Jim and I tackled them together, mostly because we couldn't stomach working with anybody else. Jim was also alpha of the cat clan and the Pack's chief of security. I'd seen him ght and I would rather take on a nest of pissed–off vipers any day.
"You should go home, Kate." A sheen of faint green rolled over his eyes and vanished, his animal side coming to the surface for a moment.
"What happened here?"
The wolf on the left let out a short yelp. A female shapeshifter ran over to him and picked up something off the ground. I caught a glimpse of it before she stuffed the object into a bag. A human arm, severed at the elbow, still in a sleeve. We had just gone from code green seven to code green ten. Shapeshifter murder. Accidental deaths rarely resulted in detached limbs strewn across the intersection.
"Like I said, Pack business." Jim glanced at me. "You know the law."
The law said that the shapeshifters were an independent group, much like a Native American tribe, with the authority to govern itself. They made their own laws and they had a right to enforce them, as long as those laws didn't affect nonshapeshifters. If the Pack didn't want my help on this investigation, there wasn't a lot I could do about it. "As an agent of the Order, I extend an offer of assistance to the Pack."
"The Pack appreciates the Order's offer of assistance. As of now, we decline. Go home, Kate," Jim repeated. "You look worn–out."
Translation: shoo, puny human. Big, mighty shapeshifters have no need of your silly investigative skills. "You squared this with the cops?"
I sighed, turned Marigold around, and headed home. Someone had died. I wouldn't be the one to nd out why. It irked me on some deep professional level. If it was anybody else but Jim, I would've pushed harder to see the body. But when Jim said no, he meant it. My pushing wouldn't accomplish anything except straining relations between the Pack and the Order. Jim didn't half–ass things, so his crew would be competent and efcient.
It still bothered me.
I would call the Paranormal Activity Division in the morning and see if any reports were led. The paranormal cops wouldn't tell me what was in the report, but at least I'd know if Jim had led one. Not that I didn't trust Jim, but it never hurt to check.
AN HOUR LATER I LEFT MARIGOLD IN A SMALL
stable in the parking lot and climbed the stairs to my apartment. I had inherited the place from Greg, my guardian, who had served as knight–diviner with the Order. He had died six months ago. I missed him so much it hurt.
My front door was a sight like no other. I got in, locked the door, pulled off my noxious shoes, and dropped them in the corner. I would deal with them later. I unbuckled the leather harness that held Slayer, my saber, on my back, pulled the saber out, and put it by my bed. The apple pie beckoned. I dragged myself into the kitchen, opened the fridge, and stared at an empty pie plate.
Had I eaten the pie? I didn't remember nishing it. And if I had, I should've taken the empty plate out of the fridge.
The front door had shown no signs of forced entry. I did a quick inventory of the apartment. Nothing missing. Nothing out of place. Greg's library with his artifacts and books looked completely undisturbed.
I must've nished the pie. Considering the insanity of the last forty–eight hours, I had probably just forgotten. Well, that sucked. I took the pie plate, washed it while murmuring curses under my breath, and put it in its place under the stove. I couldn't have pie, but nobody could deny me my shower. I stripped off my clothes, shedding them on the way to the bathroom, crawled into the shower, and drowned the world in hot spray and rosemary soap.
I had just toweled off my hair when the phone rang.
I kicked the door open and stared at the phone, ringing its head off on the small night table by my bed. Nothing good ever happened to me because of phone calls. There was always somebody dead, dying, or making somebody else dead on the other line.
I sighed and picked it up. "Kate Daniels."
"Hello, Kate," said a familiar velvet voice. "I hope I didn't wake you."
Saiman. Just about the last person I wanted to talk to.
Saiman had an encyclopedic knowledge of magic. He was also a shapeshifter—of sorts. I had done a job for him, back when I worked for the Mercenary Guild full–time, and he found me amusing. Because I entertained him, he offered me his services as a magic expert at a criminal discount. Unfortunately, the last time we had met was in the middle of the are, atop a high–rise, where Saiman was dancing naked in the snow. With the largest erection I had ever seen on a human being. He didn't want to let me off that roof either. I had to jump to get away from him.
I kept my voice civil. Kate Daniels, master of diplomacy. "I don't want to speak to you. In fact, I don't wish to continue our association at all."
"That's very unfortunate. However, I have something that might belong to you and I would like to return this item to your custody."
What in the world? "Mail it to me."
"I would but he would prove difcult to t into an envelope."
He? He wasn't good.
"He refuses to speak, but perhaps I can describe him to you: about eighteen, dark, short hair, menacing scowl, large brown eyes. Quite attractive in a puppy way. Judging by the way the tapedum lucidum behind his retinas catches the light, he's a shapeshifter. I'm guessing a wolf. You brought him with you during our last unfortunate encounter. I'm truly sorry about it, by the way."
Derek. My one–time teenage werewolf sidekick. What the hell was he doing at Saiman's apartment?
"Hold the phone to him, please." I kept my voice even. "Derek, answer me so I know he isn't blufng. Are you hurt?"
"No." Derek's voice was laced with a growl. "I can handle this. Don't come here. It isn't safe."
"It's remarkable that he has so much concern for your welfare, provided that he's the one sitting in a cage," Saiman murmured. "You keep the most interesting friends, Kate."
"If you hurt him, I'll have twenty shapeshifters in your apartment foaming at the mouth at your scent."
"Don't worry. I have no desire to bring the Pack's wrath on my head. Your friend is unharmed and contained. I will, however, turn him over to proper authorities unless you come and pick him up by sunrise."
"I'll be there."
Saiman's voice held a slight mocking edge. "I'm looking forward to it."
Excerpted from "Magic Strikes"
Copyright © 2009 Ilona Andrews.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
What People are Saying About This
"Raudman voices each of the many characters uniquely [and] transports the reader to the hellish streets of Atlanta, where were-creatures and vampires are the least of the characters' worries." -AudioFile
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Kate Daniels is a strong character with a secret past she can't let anyone know about. Her entire purpose in life is to kill her father, but before she can do that she must train and be the best she can be. Most of this novel takes place in an arena, which is pretty interesting. I hung on every word and every fight described. The rest of the novel was heart felt and intriguing. All of the characters are multidimensional and unique. I'm enjoying every bit of this series. My only qualm about this book is Kate's continuing denial of feelings between her and Curran. I understand that she thinks he just wants to conquer her then leave, but if she is attracted to him too, I'm not sure I understand the problem. There isn't anything in her past that we know about that would make her seem scared to be in a relationship. Hopefully she will get over her fear of actually liking someone in the future. I can't wait until we get to the showdown between Kate and her ultimate enemies, but I'm content to read about her adventures along the way.
I am a huge fan of urban fantasy. I love getting lost in another world. Ilona Andrews creates a world so believable that getting lost isn't the problem, wanting to come back to reality is the problem. Ilona Andrews' writing makes me want to pull a Dunkin Donuts commercial and shout how much I love it from the roof tops. Seriously. I'm so not kidding. Y'all might read about me in the paper later today. Cause let me tell you, once I get up there, I'm not coming down til everyone buys EVERY book in the KATE DANIELS series. If I'm going to be on the roof, so are the rest of y'all. One of the things I like best about this series is the heroine, Kate Daniels. Kate is so believable that she just leaps from the page. I particularly like her vulnerability mixed with strength. Those two qualities are hard to portray without coming across as too vulnerable or too super-hero-ish. Ilona Andrews is a master story-teller. MAGIC STRIKES is impossible to put down. I've read it three times since receiving it. I may read it again today. If you were hoping I'd tell you all kinds of spoilers in this review, you are pretty disappointed right about now. I'm not a spoiler. I don't have it in me. What I want is for you to read the blurb, take my advice and jump into this series along with me. My review is to let you know that Ilona Andrews rocks! Every book in this series has been totally awesome and MAGIC STRIKES is no exception. If you're looking for exceptional world building, delicious story telling and adventure so great you want to burst from your chair and join in, Ilona Andrews is the author for you. If you haven't tried this series, go to BN.com TODAY! MAGIC BITES: Book 1 is totally awesome! HOW can you resist my pleas. You can't. While you're there, go ahead and get MAGIC BURNS : Book 2. It is also omg awesome! Let me tell you, you must go ahead and pre-order MAGIC STRIKES : Book 3. Trust me. It will make you beg for more. Also, you will be glad you aren't wasting time waiting for BN to send them. If you are forced to wait, you'll suffer. I don't want you to suffer. I want you to have instant gratification. If you are like me, a Kate Daniels addict, and you haven't pre-ordered MAGIC STRIKES , consider yourself flogged. PRE-ORDER the book. Don't make me report you. I will. It's best not to test me.
Thoroughly enchanting tale of tough men and even tougher women. An incredibly impressive main character tough as nails but enchanting. The reader can't help but like her specially her interaction with one she will eventually get to know very well. You won't be able to stop reading. Keep up the the good work. I look forward to reading the next volume.
~Reviewed by SUZANNE & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog Magic Strikes is hands down my favourite book in the whole Kate Daniels series so far. ~ Under the Covers Kate Daniels has been asked to assess the Reapers, a team of warriors in the Midnight Games, as although they may look human their forms may hide something much deadlier. However, it isn’t just Kate who has been caught up in the Midnight Games and the Reapers, her friends in the Pack have also been pulled in, despite the Pack Law forbidding them to enter the Games, as the Reapers may hold a weapon key to wiping out all shifters. Magic Strikes is hands down my favourite book in the whole Kate Daniels series so far. The combination of the continually growing tension between Kate and Curran; the awesome action packed idea of the Midnight Games and the shock of having Kate’s past rear its head all combine to explode on the pages of Magic Strikes and I loved it. It seems at this point in the series I am reading them just as much to see when Kate and Curran will FINALLY stop dancing around one another and get down to business, as much as I am reading to learn more about Kate and her past as well as her latest adventure. They come soooo close in this book, it had me screaming in excitement and banging my head in frustration… and I really enjoyed every second. As for the action and adventure, like the previous books it is packed full of the usual sword waving, magic casting and sprinkling of dead bodies and myths come to life. The addition of the Midnight Games, a gladiator type contest, was brilliant, it enabled us to learn more about Kate’s past and was a unique setting for the story. As usual, I adored this book, it is full of humour, romance and action and I can’t get enough of it!
This series is the best I have EVER read. These authors, ( wife and husband team) remind me of the early days of Laurell Hamilton when she was still writing good stories. The stories are SO FUN to read, the writing perfect, and the characters you will long remember after the last page. This is the third book in the series, and I just cannot wait for the next one. I really cannot recommend these books enough. Wait till you read them! Fast track right to your keeper shelf.
Kate has many challenges in this new book. Between her mysterious past and the shifter community, Kate has her hands full. I love this whole series and can't wait for the next book to come out. I would recommend this book and this entire series.
I was suspicious of the arena "fight club" setting for this one but it really did provide a venue for the characters to move into closer relationships. Andrea and Raphael. Kate and Curran. Even Julie's crush on Derek will get more interesting as the series progresses. The Kate-Curran relationship reminds me a lot of Mercy-Adam in the Patricia Briggs' books. They are slow to come together and haven't quite made it there yet. Kate saving Curran and then him rescuing her was great. Finally, I liked how Kate's paternal background was better explained. I feel it is going to prove VERY hard on those around her in the book(s) to come. What is Curran think? How will daddy dearest react? Will anyone be the same after the truth comes out? I guess I will have to wait for book 4 just like everyone else.
My thoughts:You all knew this day would come, I am officially converted and can say that this series kicks some serious ass. I kept reading, giggling and laughing, this book is certainly the best so far and if this continues I my heart will be lost. Kate is a great character, strong, and she does not back down. I got the meet the pervy Saiman again, and he does amuse me. Then there is Curran, ok ok I admit he makes me drool, but my heart is not entirely lost, he is just too alpha for me. But for Kate he is perfect. Those two, the chemistry, and him trying to woo her his way. Makes it really hard for a girl to put this book down.Then there is the action that keeps coming, the best part of UF. And this freaky world, loving it. This time bad guys are, I am not going to say, but I like where she took it, oh and what Saiman really is, very nice.But honestly what keeps making me coming back is her origin. First who is her father, then what is he, then what is she, and when she will meet him. That conflict is what I like about this series.Final thoughts and recommendation.The best book so far, and at the end it made me ache to get book 4 and see where it all is heading. I am giving it a 3,75, it has been a step up all the way and I do think the next one will be even better. It was good, and I need the next book.And yes I do recommend this series to UF and PNR lovers, and to the rest too.
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie TalesQuick & Dirty: Kick-butt Kate enters an underground tournament to stop a group of rakshasas from taking out the shapeshifters. Opening Sentence: Some days my job was harder than others. The Review: Kate Daniels, smart-a$$ mercenary and unofficial grunt of the Order, is back and ready to kill things using her deadly sword and sarcasm. This time, she finds herself in the middle of an underground tournament fighting for her life and those of her furry friends. Her father always said that having friends would be the death of her; here is to hoping that isn¿t the case after all. The Midnight Games is a place for those to fight and die for money, prizes, and fame drenched in blood. When it looks like a team competing is more than what they seem, Kate is drafted to help find out who they really are. After they attack and decimate some of the local shapeshifters, including Derek, she is willing to do whatever it takes to make them pay. Roping in some unlikely help, Kate and some of the other shapeshifters defy Pack law and enter the tournament so the prize, the fabled Wolf Diamond, doesn¿t fall in the wrong hands. This particular diamond is said to also be more than it seems; enough believe in its supernatural powers that they are willing to do whatever it takes to obtain it, even kill. How far is Kate willing to go to keep her friends safe? This is the book that got me hooked on the series. Kate¿s new openness to having friends, her more humane side, makes for a much more remarkable character than a simple killing machine. Her loyalty isn¿t given lightly and neither is her friendship. She literally puts herself on the line in order to keep the people she cares about safe; a far cry from a girl raised with a single bloody purpose in life to take down the powerful man that sired her. Also, it seems that her friends have the same (if not more) note of sarcasm and humor that Kate has; it makes for the most entertaining conversations! Kate¿s potential exposure makes her sacrifice that much more significant. She has always flown under the radar, trying to grow stronger so that she can take out Roland, her father, once and for all. By competing in a public setting in front of potential watchers, Kate is making herself known in the worst way possible. It is a big step and an important one. It signifies a change in priorities; from her father¿s to her own. Kate is now living more for herself than what she was trained to do from birth by Voron, Roland¿s ex-Warlord. Hindu mythology mixed in with the intense fight scenes give the book that much more flavor. It is action packed while attending to character development and progression. Not only does the reader get a fast-paced cut-and-slash, they also get the depth that makes this a series a must-read for any Urban Fantasy fan. Notable Scene: ¿His Majesty needs a can-I girl anyway. And I¿m not it.¿ ¿A can-I girl?¿ Andrea frowned. I leaned back. ¿Can I fetch you your food, Your Majesty? Can I tell you how strong and mighty you are, Your Majesty? Can I pick out your fleas, Your Majesty? Can I kiss your ass, Your Majesty? Can I¿¿ It dawned on me that Raphael was sitting very still. Frozen, like a statue, his gaze fixed on the point above my head. ¿He¿s standing behind me, isn¿t he?¿FTC Advisory: Penguin/Ace graciously provided me with a copy of Magic Strikes. No goody bags, sponsorships, ¿material connections,¿ or bribes were exchanged for my review. The only payments I receive are hugs and kisses from my little boys.
This was a marvelously fun read. I don't think it will be very accessible to anyone who hasn't read books one and two, but they're not long and fairly enjoyable. I'm truly impressed with the breadth and depth of mythology Andrews uses in the series. I'm eager to read book 4!
Kate agrees to accompany an acquaintance in order to help out Derek, a werewolf friend, and soon becomes entangled in an underground fighting tournament. When Kate agrees to investigate a new team taking part in the games, she runs afoul of Curran, the Beast Lord, who (several years before) forbid all Atlanta shapechangers from competing in the games.Excellent - this series is smart, the plot lines complex, the action tense, the characters richly drawn and intriguing. Kate is a total badass, and in this book, we learn more of why that is - she just happens to be the daughter of the most powerful necromancer alive and this fact is deadly to anyone who knows it.And Curran is friggin' HOT. Sigh. Recommended!
Another entertaining, fast-paced story with tons of butt kicking. Although it dwelt more on romance than the first two books, it had an exciting plot and several humorous moments that made me laugh out loud. As more clues are revealed about Roland, what will happen now that Kate's secret is pretty much out in the open? Overall, this series is a fun romp into urban fantasy, perfect for the escapist reader.
I have mentioned this before at my blog, but it took me till the second book, Magic Burns to really get into this series. I am so glad I stuck with it cause this new book I just loved. It's fast paced and full of action and the best part steam scenes between the two leads Kate & Curran. These two captivated me from the being of the series, they are one of the reason's stuck with the series. I had to see where the author who take these two. Now I can't wait to get my hands on the next book. If you haven't read this series yet, I highly recommend it. You won't be disappointed.
The Kate Daniels Magic Series of books by by Ilona Andrews (a husband-wife writing team) are incredible. It is a captivating series about Kate Daniels, a mercenary who helps to clean up messes caused by magic in a post-apocalyptic Atlanta. This is the third book in the series, and Kate helps her shapeshifting friend Derek with an investigation into an undercover fight tournament. Kate is tough as nails with a sarcastic streak, but vulnerable as well. She fights monsters with her trusty magic sword (because it always works) and tries to keep a low profile because of her heritage - if it comes out who she is, people will want to kill her. Kate is slow to trust people, but throughout the series she begins to form relationships with others, including the Beast Lord who is the leader of the Pack of shapeshifters. All characters are well written, unique and authentic, even small supporting characters.This is one of my favorite all time series; well worth reading.
Every time I pick up a book from this series, I am blown away. From the cover, it looks like so many other series on the market, and I find myself captivated and blown away by the unique mythologies in this series. Semi-steampunky, magic and technology work in waves, vampires are not sexy, they are driven by a remote operator and really creepy, and weres are united under one "Beast Lord". Really unique. In this, the third of the series, there are a series of gladiator-style battles in a pit run by the wealthy, and some of the players that have come to town have their own agendas. Just excellent and compelling.
Loved this book so much, I stayed up til 2 AM to finish it, I was so enthralled in the story. Now I'm counting down for Magic Bleeds in 2 weeks!!
This is the third book in the Kate Daniels series and what a wonderful book it was. Very creative, very fast-paced, all the wonderful fight scenes, and hilarious attitude that Kate is known for. I actually listened to this on audio book and the audio book is wonderful. If you have a change to listen to the audio book it's worth it; the lady who reads it does Kate's voice and personality absolutely perfectly.Something strange is going on. Shapeshifters are being killed and Kate is brought in to find out why. Then Simone catches Derek trying to steal tickets to some forbidden and illegal event called the Midnight Games. Kate has to cut a deal with Simone to get Derek out of there, as such she ends up at the Midnight games, as Simone's date, and watches a team called the Reapers. The Reapers are supposedly human, but end up being much more. Kate needs to figure out if the Midnight Games and the murders are linked.This was a great book and super hard to put down. Kate has a wonderful dry sense of humor, as does Curran. All the characters in this book are well done, amusing, and likable. The fight scenes are plentiful and extremely well done. The plot is complicated and takes many unexpected twists and turns. Many very creative things happen; you meet some new races and get to venture deep into Unicorn Alley.The best part is that you learn a lot more about Kate's history with Roland. It seems that the story is winding closer and closer to a confrontation between Kate and Roland. You learn a lot more about Simone's past too. Oh and did I mention the wonderful fight scenes, and the awesome magical weapons?Overall another wonderful book in this series. I don't have any complaints; except that I want to read the next on sooo bad. For those of you dying for more Kate; Andrews did write a short story involving Kate, Andrea, and Raphael in the "Must Love Hellhounds" anthology called "Magic Mourns". It's a pretty good read. What a great series; I hope Andrews can keep this up for many more books to come!
Kate Daniels doesn¿t have many friends, so she¿s very disturbed when Derek is obviously in trouble yet won¿t let her know what¿s going on. When Derek is almost killed she finally gets some answers and aligns herself with Jim and his security detail to go against Curran¿s ruling¿in order to save the pack¿to avoid the Midnight Games, an illegal gladiator-style ¿sporting¿ event where the loser is often killedThis is the third book in the Kate Daniels¿ series set in Atlanta in the future where magic constantly rises and abates. With each book we learn more about Kate and her need for secrecy, which is about to be blown apart as she risks exposure to save her friends.Once again she¿s up against a rather unique enemy from mythology that could destroy the world. The fight scenes are well balanced, giving you great detail without drowning you in them. We learn more about her roots and why she¿s had to keep anyone from learning who/what she is. Her relationship with Curran, The Beast Lord is slowly building, as is the sexual tension.I loved this book and thought it was better than the second one¿which I greatly enjoyed. The next story will be from Andrea¿s point of view in the anthology Must Love Hellhounds.
Andrews' third installment of the Kate Daniels series has the reader and Kate moving closer to a confrontation with Roland. In this book Andrews gives us more detailed background on Kate and her life with Voron. The action is bloody and Kate continues as a hardened warrior, but as she indicates, she's not a killer for hire; she actually has principles and despite her best efforts, has formed attachments with members of the Pack and one of her fellow Knights. Curran is again seen, but the mood has turned more romantic (though I use that term loosely, what with him watching her sleep and all). There are near death experiences and the next books may show Kate with new and/or expanded powers. Now that she's out in the open, more direct conflict with Roland is just around the corner, but now she has the Pack and Curran (even if she doesn't want them hurt). So I guess Roland was correct in not wanting children, though it is because of his actions that Kate is brought to the place she is. If only he hadn't felt he needed to kill her before she was born; if only he hadn't killed her mother; there are a million if-only's, but I think the result may have always been the same with Kate on a mission to kill Roland. So now there's Curran and their "relationship" and her mission to kill Roland. Can't wait for the next installment!!
The third book in the series reveals who her biological father is, but the foreshadowing has been so explicit that it is no surprise. Lots of fighting in this book - it is about a gladiator-like contest, and so we know that our cast of protagonists are going to end up in the Pit. There is some pretty gory fighting. So far, book #2 is my choice of the three.
Kate's life is running relatively smoothly - she's exhausted, overworked, and missing her last piece of apple pie. But on the whole, things are pretty smoothly: good sign that everything's about to go seriously pear-shaped. When a werewolf gets seriously dead - as in little pieces strewn all over the road - the weres say hands off, and there's not much Kate can do about it. But when the next were beaten to a bloody pulp is a friend, Kate takes a hand. The trail leads to an underground fight club and a team of preternaturally strong humans. The odds are against her, as always, but Kate's going after answers regardless of the consequences (which may involve cooking naked....).Not the best place to jump in on the series, and there are a few weak spots, but on the whole a very readable next installment.
I have been enjoying this series very much - but this one is my favorite so far. I love the end. I can't wait for the next book. The characters are great, the adventures are amazing - the twists are sure to keep you going.
This is a light, fast, fun read. The lust between Kate and Curran notches up several levels, there's a bit of investigating which is nicely handled, and quite a lot of fighting - in a variety of settings, which is very well done.There's some arc developments too - more about Roland and his ambitions, and various people are finding out about Kate's heritage.A number of old friends come back too, even if they're meant to be safely tucked away at school.It's not often a combat scene makes me cry with laughter, but the first fight in the big contest in the arena really did. "Go out there and look bad" they're told. In about 3 seconds flat they've killed or incapacitated their foes... and that was trying to look bad! Their strategist's reaction and their lack of comprehension is wonderful and really very funny.