Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
Digital Audiobook narrated by Renée Raudman
Published by Ace on April 1st 2007
Series: Kate Daniels #1
Genres: Fantasy, Magic, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Vampires
Length: 260 pages or 9 hours, 11 minutes
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Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic…
When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.
Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.
The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t have it any other way…
Kate’s just a mercenary.
She dropped out of school, and is living her own life, relying on odd jobs to make her ends meet. At the beginning of the story, she only has about $1500 to her name, but that’s okay. Why? Because she’s good at her job even if she’s a little cheeky, and things always work out in the end.
When her mentor is killed, Kate is brought in to investigate the case by one of the three magical law enforcement factions. Her search leads her to the underbelly of the city, where she meets and befriends the beast lord, and is led in a million wrong directions. Will she ever discover the true killer?
I have no feelings about Kate.
Kate Daniels is not a bad character. I’ve met her before – in supernatural thrillers, in D&D-style fantasies, in adult vampire books. Nothing about her really stands out. She’s a little like Anita Blake, but less snarky and driven. A little like Calaena Sardothien, but not with half the charm. She’s a completely forgettable character, but she serves her purpose.
I really can’t pinpoint anything that makes Magic Bites stand out as exceptional or must-be-avoided. It’s another magical realism book set in the American South with tones of Sookie Stackhouse, although with a strange twist on vampires that you have to read about because I’m not quite sure where that version of Nosferatu came form.
Overall, the writing was okay.
Seeing a theme here? This was definitely a middle-of-the-line type of book for me. Nothing about the writing really stood out as beautiful or engaging. Things just sort of chugged along, like a loyal freight train, moving forward at a steady, reliable pace. There were a few moments where I had to smack my forehead and ask, “Seriously? Did I just read that?” – including a comment from the female protagonist about how a man could beat her and honestly the fact that there are so many uncomfortable sexual comments that I was cringing. I can deal with a bit of heat in my books, but this was just AWKWARD.
You get that general feeling of lost-ness from Kate as well as you follow her story. She talks to a contact, goes on a date, talks to a contact, goes on another date… and nothing really seems to tie together. This bothers her too, as near the end of the book she’s digging for a better solution and feeling strongly that the killer is still out there.
And the bit with her sitting on her lawn guzzling wine and using herself as bait is just all sort of cheesy?
I don’t know, guys.
This book will appeal to fans of paperback fantasy thrillers.
I definitely had my time where I was obsessed with Anita Blake… and I still have some of those books on my shelves. But if I’m being really honest, there’s only so much time in the world for mediocre books and I don’t really want to dive into another supernatural series that I’m really not invested in. That’s what I feel about Kate Daniels, although honestly? I think that she’d really appeal to others.
The magical world here has potential, but needs to be expanded, and it felt a little like the authors were uncomfortable in this skin (Ilona Andrews is actually Ilona and her husband, or so Goodreads tell me?). I hear as the series progresses, the books get better, so if you’re into monster-hunting mercenaries in Atlanta, stick with it!
For myself, I’ll stopping here.