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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, Book 1) by Ilona Andrews

I'll start this out with the blurb from the author's website:

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren't for magic...

When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while the 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...

First, I'll admit that I don't live so far from Atlanta and that is part of what made me start this series in the first place. I thought it would be nice to read something in a setting I'm familiar with.

That thought process didn't really work though, because this seems to be an Atlanta of the future. Or, an alternate Atlanta, maybe. Either way, things aren't the same. The buildings and places we are familiar with are now ruins, for the most part.

Luckily, the book is good enough that this wasn't a disappointment. As I've said before, I normally like urban fantasy, the kind where things are taking place in a world of today, where the things in the book might be possible. We don't really have that with this book, this book seems more fantasy than urban fantasy, but it still drew me in and snagged me.

I'm assuming it's called Urban Fantasy instead of Fantasy simply because it has shapeshifters and vampires. And, while Magic Bites does have both of these creatures, it's not really like any other urban fantasy book out there. For starters, the vampires aren't the kinds of creatures we are used to. Vampires in this book are creatures that eventually turn into a spider looking monster thing. They are controlled by necromancers who stay in a well-guarded room and send the vampires out to do their business. The vampires basically have no will of their own in this series, it's the necromancers controlling them who have the power. You can read an excerpt of the book at the author's site and get an idea of how the vampires are handled in this world.

The shapeshifters seem to mostly be what you see of them in other urban fantasy books, complete with an Alpha and the usual closely knit pack and lots of pack rules.

There are also a lot of other supernatural critters in the book, and at least some of them obviously come from various myths and legends. Plus, we are told that Kate has her own heritage that must be kept a secret. I'm guessing that will be a large part of where the series is headed, as Kate comes into whatever powers that heritage gives her. And eventually people will find out and then I'm guessing all hell will break loose at some point because of it. Will that happen in the second book or the tenth book though? Who knows. If the books stay as good as this one, I will keep reading to find out.

Book Rating: 9 of 10

1) Magic Bites (2007)
2) Magic Burns (2008)
3) Magic Strikes (March 31, 2009)

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