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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.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Magic Burns (Kate Daniels, Book 2) by Ilona Andrews

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

As a mercenary who cleans up after magic gone wrong, Kate Daniels has seen her share of occupational hazards. Normally, waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide. But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant. Now Kate's going to have to deal with problems on a much bigger scale: a divine one.

When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta's paramilitary clan of shapeshifters, she quickly realizes much more at stake. During a flare, gods and goddesses can manifest - and battle for power. The stolen maps are only the opening gambit in an epic tug-of-war between two gods hoping for rebirth. And if Kate can't stop the cataclysmic showdown, the city may not survive...

As I said in my review of the first book, this series is much closer to Fantasy than it is Urban Fantasy. The series is set in either an alternate Atlanta or an Atlanta of the future, and it's so far removed from our world that it's hard to call it Urban Fantasy. I'll also say that it's not a paranormal romance, either. The main theme here is a plot that is all about the magic and the violence, not a romance. It's still a very good book (and series), though. It's just not being classified as what I think it really is. Though I'm not sure exactly how it should be classified.

Also, fair warning, if you haven't read the first book then much of this book won't make sense. This isn't a series you're going to be able to skip around on, I don't think.

Kate is now working for both the Mercenary Guild and the Order of Merciful Aid, and is doing it by being a liaison between the two. This gives her more credentials, and a little more of a support system when she needs it. The latter being a very good thing to have in Kate's world.

This book has adventure, a touch of romantic intrigue, lots of paranormal critters, and humor. Kate is, well, snarky. I could say she's a bitch, but she's not, she's just snarky. I mean, if she doesn't like you then yeah, you'd consider her a bitch. But that's not a good description of her, she's just one of those people who think (and say) smart-assed things when people annoy her. Her personality is one of the reasons I've enjoyed the first two books in this series as much as I have. Yes, the plot is good and the worldbuilding is good and the other characters are great characters. But Kate's personality makes the book a lot of fun to read.

Kate is also a mystery, since we get even more hints that she's got some sort of heritage that makes her a very special kind of supernatural, but we aren't given much information about it. We see her being careful to guard her secret (and that involves burning her blood when she bleeds so no one can get any of it), but we aren't really given enough hints to even guess about what her family line might be a part of.

Magic Burns is a very enjoyable read. The book gets the highest rating, 10 of 10, though I'm conflicted as to what to rate the series. In the end, after arguing with myself between a 9 and a 10, I'll go with a 9 of 10 after two books. If the third book is as good as the first two when it comes out next year then that will easily be raised to a 10 of 10.

Book Rating: 10 of 10
Series Rating: 9 of 10

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

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