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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Curran POV Collection by Gordon Andrews (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of “Magic Bites” & “Magic Burns
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of “Magic Strikes” & “Magic Mourns
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of “Magic Bleeds” & “A Questionable Client
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of “Magic Slays” & “Magic Dreams
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of "Retribution Clause" & "Magic Tests"
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "Gunmetal Magic" & "Magic Gifts"
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "Magic Rises"
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "An Ill-Advised Rescue"
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s Interview with Ilona Andrews

Similar to last year's holiday season, Ilona Andrews are offering another fantastic freebie. Last time around it was a Kate Daniels novella, this time it's the entire collection of Curran POVs all nicely bundled up chronologically for the readers' enjoyment. Readers can download it in various formats over here.

This collection is an absolute must-have and must-read for all fans of the Kate Daniels series. Why simply because it offers a view into things from Curran's perspective as well as it offers some new events that were previously unseen and further adds to the omniscient perspective that we as readers enjoy. I'll be listing each story and talking about it individually:

1) Unicorn Lane - The 1st POV snippet is from the first book Magic Bites, wherein Kate and Curran meet for the very first time. Now we have already seen/read this encounter via Kate's view but nevertheless it's as exciting to read it from Curran's POV and we get an inkling of what he thinks Kate is.

2) Fernando's - This second snippet like its predecessor is also from the same debut vehicle. This one is from the middle part of the story wherein Curran is on a date (of sorts) with Myong, a person similar to his ilk. Things take an interesting turn when Kate visits the same restaurant with another person and we further see how Kate seems to beguile Curran. Also we get to see his humor and sensibilities in regards to women and dating in general.

3) Soup - The third short is from Magic Burns and shows us Curran's mindset when Kate is critically injured.  It's from this short that we get a first inkling of how much he cares for Kate and how much he admires her tenacity and fortitude. Not that Curran also gets a good laugh about her missteps and there's a small one near the end for the readers to have a good chuckle at as well.

4) Midnight Games - This fourth snippet is from the third book Magic Bites and for those who have read this book, will know how crucial the title of this short is. Here we get to see Curran effectively being the Beast Lord but tempering his aggressive demeanor as per the situational needs. Since we are privy to his thoughts, certain plot points come to the fore much more quickly than in the case of the books wherein it occurs at a slower rate.

5) Hot Tub - This is the second snippet to be from the same book and this one is from the latter third of Magic Strikes.  Once again we get to see events which we have read about but now from Curran’s eyes. This snippet is what the authors reveal to be “smexy”.  The scene involves our usual couple in a hot tub and we get pretty much what most readers wish for, the twist being that things end up a bit abnormally but considering it's Kate & Curran they could be classified as normal. There’s not much I can write about this snippet without revealing what it’s all about. We do however get the depth of Curran’s passion and some might be a bit troubled by it but considering his character, this is pretty much in line. Once he’s set on something, he will do anything to get it done.

6) Kate's Origin - This is the first of the snippets that occurs in between the events of the books. This one is set after the events of Magic Strikes and one week before the events of Magic Bleeds. In it, Jim comes to Curran with some dire news about Kate’s past. All of this is already known to us readers as we have been privy to Kate’s thoughts and knowledge of her past through her POV, but it was interesting to see both Jim and Curran digest it. The event shown in the snippet has not been shown in the books so far.

It’s not a big scene, however its importance resonates quite spectacularly as it shows the depth of Curran’s feelings for Kate. At the same time we also get to see his foresight as well. As a reader of the books, we often see Curran and his actions through Kate’s eyes and so they are colored by her prejudices and her upbringing. So certain things, when viewed from Curran’s sight are not only refreshing but simply exciting. The snippet ends rather quickly and we are left to rue the events that would take place thereby further lengthening the twisted courtship process which takes place between Kate and Curran.

7) Naked Dinner - This snippet follows the "Kate Origin" one and deals with a very important plot point in regards to Magic Bleeds (4th book).  This is probably the biggest short story in this collection and is absolutely riveting. Not only does it deal with  the politicking that happens in the Pack but we get to see Curran maneuver a tricky corner with one of his alphas that will have major repercussions for  the future (read Gunmetal Magic to know more).

 The second part of this tale deals with a murder and basically we get to some terrific action sequences along with a deep look into the workings of the pack when it comes to handling murder and legal maters. Naked Dinner despite its title doesn't have any smexy bits to it and is possibly my favorite story in this collection.

8) Conclave - The penultimate snippet in this collection is from a vital part of Magic Bleeds.  It showcases Curran at the beginning of his dreaded worst and in the book, we get to see why many truly fear the Beast Lord. In this short, we get to see how Saiman ticks Curran off and how he has regretted it since then.

9) Awake - Awake is the last short story of this collection and is possibly the best ending to this collection as it completes the arc for Curran in terms of his love.  This short story  focuses on the climax of Magic Bleeds. It basically starts in tandem with the last few paragraphs of the book and then expands beyond the book to feature a very powerful scene which showcases why Curran is the Beast Lord and how powerful he truly is. This event is not shown in any of the books and is not referenced so far in the saga, however it is important for fans of the series to read it as the events which occur will have powerful implications in the pack setup and for the remainder of the saga. It has an terrific climax and on an emotional level it was very fulfilling to read as well.

All these snippets and stories focus on different aspects and behavior of the Beast Lord and for a fan of the series,  even though they are on the shorter side, for fans these stories are gold as they are completely devoted to Curran, his thoughts and his way of life. The first four snippets have very little action but focuses more on character interactions in each of the stories. The latter stories deliver on action and character intrigue, thereby making it whole. Lastly I would like to add the fact that these volumes are meant to be read after reading the books as otherwise new readers will be not be able follow much of what is happening.

CONCLUSION: This POV collection is a must-read for Kate Daniels fans and readers simply because of the depth, it adds to the series. At times short but almost always evocative, the stories featured within showcase a tumultuous relationship as well as a complex alpha. I very much enjoyed this freebie and my thanks to the lovely authors for making it so.

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