Series Review: Kate Daniels, books 6-7

Series Review: Kate Daniels, books 6-7Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #6
Published by Ace on July 30, 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Fantasy, Mystery, Mythology, Romance
Pages: 327
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

Atlanta is a city plagued by magical problems. Kate Daniels will fight to solve them—no matter the cost.

Mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate, Curran, the Beast Lord, are struggling to solve a heartbreaking crisis. Unable to control their beasts, many of the Pack’s shapeshifting children fail to survive to adulthood. While there is a medicine that can help, the secret to its making is closely guarded by the European packs, and there’s little available in Atlanta.

Kate can’t bear to watch innocents suffer, but the solution she and Curran have found threatens to be even more painful. The European shapeshifters who once outmaneuvered the Beast Lord have asked him to arbitrate a dispute—and they’ll pay him in medicine. With the young people’s survival and the Pack’s future at stake, Kate and Curran know they must accept the offer—but they have little doubt that they’re heading straight into a trap…

After zooming through the first five Kate Daniels books, I hit a wall with book six. Where I read the others pretty much straight through with no breaks, finishing in two days max (they’re fairly long), Magic Rises took me six days to complete. The series isn’t done yet, but of the published books (I’ve now read all but book nine as of this writing), it’s by far my least favorite, even though the plot’s really solid.

The plot’s really good, although it does start out seemingly as a break from the larger narrative, which turns out not to be true. The gang has to go to Europe to serve as the mediator to a dispute between three European packs over which of a pair of twins with different fathers will inherit a mountain pass. It starts off feeling like it’s going to be a bit of an emotional break/road trip novel, but it’s absolutely not.

The reason that I’m damn salty about this book is that the emotional arc regresses back to, like, book two. There’s a way over-the-top jealousy plot line, and it’s all stupid and unnecessary, because Kate and Curran have been working on communicating and Curran’s reasoning doesn’t make any damn sense because literally always people are trying to kill Kate anyway. While it’s obvious to the reader that this is merely melodrama, Kate really feels hurt and unloved, and Magic Rises largely lacks the humor of the rest of the series, even other books that get dark. I think that, even more than the needless, lazy jealousy plot, made this one a struggle for me. I do not hold this installment against Kate or Curran because honestly I found it a bit ooc and choose to ignore it.

Because of the move to Europe, there’s a diminished cast of known characters, many of whom felt a bit underutilized. Saiman, for example, is around but does almost nothing. Aunt B. doesn’t have much screen time, but she absolutely should. View Spoiler » The new characters are a bit random and convenient at times, but otherwise the plot holds up pretty well.

Magic Rises doesn’t stand up to the rest of the later books quality-wise, but this series is still super amazing. I just prefer the books where Kate and Curran get to be more in love so sue me (no, don’t—I’ll sick Barabas on your ass if you do).

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

Series Review: Kate Daniels, books 6-7Magic Steals by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #6.5
Published by InterMix on August 16, 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Fantasy, Mystery, Mythology, Romance
Pages: 83
Format: eBook
Source: Library
AmazonAudible
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Ilona Andrews—#1 New York Times bestselling author of Magic Shifts—once again pulls readers into the dark and dangerous world of the Kate Daniels novels...

Shapeshifting tigress Dali Harimau may be a powerful healer and magic user, but she’s far from what might be called “normal”. She dislikes the violence and bloodshed that are a way of life for most of her kind, even going so far as to become a vegetarian. The last thing she wants is trouble...

Jim Shrapshire is an original, hardcore badass. A jaguar shifter, he’s been tasked with keeping Atlanta’s Cat Clan in line, which he does with swift and lethal force when necessary. His only soft spot is for the petite Dali, whose kindness he calls upon when he is injured.

When Dali is approached by a desperate woman whose grandmother has vanished, Jim is concerned enough to help investigate. But what they find may just be the end of them—an enemy whose skill in the dark arts is matched only by their willingness to kill anyone in their way...

I’ve skipped most of the novellas (Aside: I read A Questionable Client, but it was part of a collection, so I didn’t review it but it was pretty good and worth it for the very ending for sure) because I couldn’t get them freely (I’ll no doubt buy them on some future reread, but I’m trying to be careful with my money rn). My library had this one, so hell yes I read it. We leave Kate behind for a shippy little novella starring Demi.

Demi’s adorable. She’s a weretiger with magical powers and also a vegetarian who can’t stand the sight of blood. Of all the characters, she’s the most quirky and sweet, and she mostly only showed up in Magic Strikes. The novella does help establish her character, and Jim’s, a bit better before they begin having larger roles, but otherwise the plot’s totally not essential. The plot isn’t bad, but it’s kinda whatever in typical novella fashion.

The novels have established that Jim and Demi have a romance going, but there wasn’t much detail beyond that. Obvs the novella was a damn delight because they are so cute! Everyone ships them and Demi’s scared to commit to the relationship and Jim really wants her to commit. Also the hijinks of her trying to keep him from her family by pretending she has a cat is hilarious. It’s light-hearted and pretty damn fluffy for this world. Would absolutely read again.

You know it’s good when the novellas are good.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

Series Review: Kate Daniels, books 6-7Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #7
Published by Ace on July 29, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery, Mythology, Romance
Pages: 418
Format: eBook
Source: Library
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
four-stars

No matter how much the paranormal politics of Atlanta change, one thing always remains the same: if there’s trouble, Kate Daniels will be in the middle of it…

As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.

As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear…

With Magic Breaks, everything is back on track. Magic Rises was as I just detailed a slog for me, and I worried that the lost momentum would carry on to the next books. It very much did not. Magic Breaks is back to being completely unputdownable and funny to boot.

Plot-wise, this is a really big installment. As with a lot of the Kate Daniels books, it starts out with a thing going a bit wrong and things just keep going more and more wrong for pretty much the entirety of the rest of the book. Things get really dark and scary here for a while. This series remains somewhat light in that there’s not a lot of actual death of main characters, but emotionally these are getting more and more life-ruining.

One thing I do want to call out is the awesome rep in this series. It starts out not so great in the first few books, but by this point it’s fantastic. There’s a ton of diversity (in fact, I learned in this book, though maybe I should have noticed before, that Kate’s at least partially Middle Eastern). The books incorporate mythology from absolutely everywhere, rather than drawing solely from European myths. Doolittle and George both emerged from Magic Rises with disabilities, but they’re both still amazing; it’s all about how the disability is not all that they are but also never forgetting that they are different now. Doolittle has a great little monologue about it that maybe made me tear up a little. And then there’s the alpha rat couple, Robert and Thomas, who are becoming more and more important. On top of all that, while Kate is pretty close to the strongest character, she surrounds herself with other strong women.

This series has my heart. Also, I want a bunnykitten.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

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