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Monday, February 14, 2011

"Magic Bleeds" and "A Questionable Client" by Ilona Andrews (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Official Ilona Andrews Website
Order Magic Bleeds HERE
Order Dark and Stormy Knights (anthology containing A Questionable Client) HERE
Read an Excerpt from the Novel
Read FBC Review of Magic Bites and Magic Burns
Read FBC Interview with Ilona Andrews

AUTHOR INFORMATION: Ilona Andrews is the Pseudonym for the maverick husband-wife writing pair of Ilona Gordon & Andrew Gordon. They currently live in Oregon & have 2 series ongoing namely the dark urban Fantasy "Kate Daniels" series and the Paranormal romance "Edge" series.

BOOK BLURB: 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 rose.

Kate Daniels works for the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, officially as a liaison with the mercenary guild. Unofficially, she cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to handle—especially if they involve Atlanta’s shapeshifting community. When she’s called in to investigate a fight at the Steel Horse, a bar midway between the territories of the shapeshifters and the necromancers, Kate quickly discovers there’s a new player in town. One who’s been around for thousands of years—and rode to war at the side of Kate’s father.

This foe may be too much even for Kate and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, to handle. Because this time, Kate will be taking on family…

FORMAT/INFO: Page count is 349 pages divided over twenty-seven chapters with a prologue & an epilogue. For all the books narration is in the first person and features Kate Daniels as the sole voice. Again "Magic Bleeds" has a self-contained plot however this is the 4th book in the series and by now majority of the series plot arc has set in. Readers who jump in with this book could understand it however it wouldn’t be advisable as there will be many situations and characters that are mentioned from the previous books.

May 25, 2010 marked the North American paperback publication of "Magic Bleeds" via Ace Books.

ANALYSIS: In “Magic Bleeds” we see the fall out of the climax of “Magic Strikes”, while Kate has been recuperating from her ordeal at the Midnight Games, she also happened to lose a certain bet which has dastardly consequences for her in terms of Curran's plans. Though Curran has given her a time and date for the event to occur, secretly it seems Kate is looking forward to the same event as well. However due to certain events occurring with the Pack, a huge misunderstanding is created, leaving our favorite couple jumping back to their earlier status quo.

Nearly eleven weeks have passed since the events of Midnight games & Kate is called to investigate a weird breakout fight in a bar which shares boundaries with the People & the Pack. At the bar Kate finds out that there was a person/ group who caused the fight by their presence however no one can remember anything about him besides his cape. What’s more there’s supposedly a monster trapped in the cellar that turns out to be a big surprise for everyone and launches a very funny sub-plot within the tale. The main turn of events leads Kate to check for mythological origins of a disease spreading entity which she does narrow down and therein begins the plot for this book.

Also around the same time, this entity keeps on hitting other spots as well, thereby escalating the tension felt through Atlanta & shapeshifters seem to be mortally terrified around the entity’s presence. Another sub plot sees the return of Saiman who wishes to get one up on Curran for his (alleged) humiliation in the previous volume however he fails to reason with Curran’s wild love for Kate & the situation he puts both of them in. Kate also has her own ax to grind with Curran over their date fiasco and this causes a terrific confrontation. With these various subplots ongoing, Ilona Andrews really ratchet up the tension as the series arc is finally coming into play. We see a person from Kate’s mysterious past & that person doesn’t seem to have any fondness for reunions & this means even bigger trouble for Kate.

This is another standout book from the authors as after last year’s volume which was so action packed and moved the series into a new way, we get another salvo in the similar direction and this one is even more forceful. The actions of this book will have far-fetched repercussions for both Kate & Curran, who at the end of the book go through a powerful change in status. Not only is Kate’s past laid bare to Curran, he also gets an inkling as to what he and the Pack might be up against. The climax of this book is its highlight as Kate has to fend off a variety of attacks on herself and her status and basically revert back to mercenary days while at the same time retaining her dignity.

Similar to Magic Strikes, the entire cast is featured nicely with the exception of Derek. [The authors noted this and so we’ll get to see more of him in Book 5]. Now with all the set pieces rolled up I can’t wait to see what Ilona & Andrew have in store for us in Magic Slays which will see the evolution of Kate & Curran’s relationship & also possibly the first appearance of Roland (Kate’s nemesis).

Last year also saw the release of the P.N. Elrod Anthology “Dark and Stormy Knights”, in which we got a prequel story “A Questionable Client” which introduces us to the event wherein Saiman and Kate got acquainted with each other. The short story is 45 pages long however readers need not despair, there’s enough action, humour and “Kate-Saiman banter” to satiate the fans of the series.

This story is set before the events of the first book “Magic bites” and we get to see Kate as she was a mercenary who’s doing the best to survive and hide from her blood past. She gets a job offer in which the pay is more than fabulous however the job seems too easy. It involves babysitting a client in his own home however there’s a slight catch, a couple of other mercs have had a go at it and were unsuccessful. Kate takes up on it and then proceeds to Atlanta’s sole surviving skyscraper which is magically enthused to make it a part of the magic waves. Herein she meets Saiman who is an awkward position to say the least and will not say why or who is attacking him.

Kate has her hands full when the apartment is attacked by mages of Russian Lore who seem to be hell bent on recovering a person. What they do not know is, that specific person was an impersonator and ultimately Saiman wanted his hands on a specific artifact to help him in his unholy quest to gather knowledge of the arcane sorts.

The story then veers off as Kate struggles to fight the mages and Saiman’s obfuscatory explanations. The ending is perhaps a bit anticlimactic however doesn’t detract from the entire reading experience. It also gives the main reason as to Saiman’s apparent fascination with Kate and why he gives her a discount to his services. All in all a very nice prequel addition to the ever expanding world of Kate Daniels and it only serves to heighten the anticipation for this year’s book “Magic Slays”.


Anonymous said...

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