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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Short Story Review: An Ill-Advised Rescue by Ilona Andrews and Grimoire Of The Lamb by Kevin Hearne (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Order Magic Rises HERE
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 Interview with Ilona Andrews

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: An Ill Advised Rescue is the Kate Daniels short story that was cut from the sixth novel Magic Rises (review to come next week) due to reasons of length and edits. An Ill Advised rescue is set a few weeks before the events of Magic Rises. It features Kate as the protagonist as was the case with Magic Gifts and is 20 odd pages long.

The story begins when Kate receives a phone call from the Guild informing that Saiman has been kidnapped. The ransom is one million and the mercenary cut for rescuing him is ten percent. Kate has no other choice but to get involved and also brings Derek in to her side project as she knows she can trust him to keep it quiet from Curran. She soon finds out what happened exactly and who’s behind Saiman’s kidnapping and that’s when the story gets into high gear. Once again Ilona Andrews exhibit how comfortable they are with their main character and the world they have created. Not only do we get Kate at her wise cracking best but we are also reacquainted with Derek and Saiman, two fan favorite characters and favorites of mine as well. The story is fast paced as can be expected and plays a crucial part in one of the major plot points of Magic Rises thereby I would recommend that readers read this prequel story before they begin Magic Rises.

This story can also be read in two parts on the author’s site HERE and HERE or in the physical or e-copy of Magic Rises, wherein it’s included as an extra. You gotta hand it to the authors for making this available so easily for their fans. They always think about their fans first and I truly appreciate their generosity in this regards. The story begins in a mystery and ends with a mystery that will become apparent to the reader on reading Magic Rises. While the story does serve as a standalone, it has quite a hook to it that will leave you wondering what might happen next. Of course with Saiman involved, readers can never be too sure what exactly is happening and so Kate is on guard throughout her dealings with him. This story explores what happens when the tables are turned and Kate gets to dictate the terms.

As a reader, most short stories from Ilona Andrews are fun ones and this one was no deviation from that formula. We get to see a particular aspect that hasn't been explored much in the Kate Daniels novels involving Grendel and in this story we get a small glimpse of it. Lastly the action, snarky dialogue and streamlined plot are all present and thus gives us a compact short story that was rightfully cut from Magic Rises as it would have hampered the plot flow but on its own serves as a fascinating story. Be sure to read it before Magic Rises as it will simplify certain plot events and help in the overall enjoyment of the sixth book as well.

Order “Grimoire Of The LambHERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of “Hounded” 
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of “Hexed” 
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of “Hammered” 
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of “Tricked” 
Read my review of “Two Ravens and One Crow” 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "Trapped"
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s interview with Kevin Hearne 

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: The Grimoire Of The Lamb is a prequel short story that takes place in the world of Iron Druid Chronicles. Set four years prior to Hounded the first book in the Iron Druid Chronicles. The story is about 64 pages long and features Atticus as the sole narrator and focuses on his collection of antiquated and rare books. When the story begins we find Atticus amid his Third Eye bookstore in Arizona when he gets a call for a book in his possession. The caller is an Egyptian called Nkosi Elkhashab who wants a specific cookbook in which every recipe has lamb in it. Atticus doesn't really trust him and calls him to Arizona to talk about it in person.

Nkosi visits Atticus and soon learns that haggling with the druid becomes a whole other matter. He decides to deal with it in his own way and steals it, thereby forcing Atticus to a make a reluctant trip to the land of the pyramids to regain his property. This might prove more than difficult as the Egyptian goddess Bast shares an acrimonious past with him and will do anything and everything to thwart his efforts. Atticus has his hands tied up with the viciousness of gods (namely the Egyptian kind) and all things Egyptian. Lastly it will be up to him and his wits only to retrieve his book back before all hell breaks loose literally and without upsetting his hidden status quo.

What I liked about this story was the author’s interpretation of the Iron Druid’s adventures in Egypt. Particularly an utterly hilarious and long scene involving Atticus and a horde of cats, which I believe is the highlight of the story. Also worth noting is that this story is much darker than most of the previous stories (both long form and shorter ones). The story basically is Atticus streaming through Egypt at full steam avoiding pitfalls and gods while trying to locate Nkosi Elkhashab. The story has a predictable plot which most readers can easily guess as it’s a prequel but the fun part is trying to find out how Atticus and Bast will square off against each other. The lovable druid does manage to save his skin as is evident from the main series however what does actually happen is the meat of the story. Lastly the ending while a quick one does nothing to absolve Atticus of his ambiguous nature in regards to his enemies. We have been given hints that Atticus can and will do dark things when required.

This story is another example that the gods don’t play fair and so Atticus has adopted a similar approach as well. Kevin Hearne concocts another delightful tale featuring his irascible druid and this time takes him to Egypt wherein we get to see his slant on Egyptian mythology. True it’s only a glimpse as this is a short story but it’s a fun one. I enjoyed the read and while it was on the shorter side, it was a pleasant story that showcases how inclusive the global mythologies are in the author's Iron Druid Chronicles.


Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Huh. I didn't realize there was another short story. Glad it's in the book as an extra though. I'll be picking that one up.

And I need to get to the other series. I have the first three books here, just not enough time to get to them. *sigh*

Thank you!

The Reader said...

Hi Mel,

Hope you enjoy the KD short story, its a fun one. The KH series is good especially the first four books. I'm pretty sure once you start with them, you'll be burning the midnight oil in catching up :)


Melissa (My words and pages) said...

I just need more time! LOL! I can't keep up these days. But I do plan on getting to KH's books. :) Like you, I think I'll love them. :)


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