Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Kate Daniels, could you be more awesome? Nope. This book rocked my world! I loved the first book, but I loved this one even more. Kate Daniels is such a cool heroine. She's not only kickbutt, independent, and snarky, but she's utterly likeable. She's down to earth, and one of those heroines I think a guy or a girl could get along with equally well. I like her quick thinking and her ability to get out of some pretty nasty spots. And her willingness to do the right thing, even at personal cost to herself. And she's so funny! I think her one liners are hilarious, and her internal dialogue really puts me in the action and gives me an identification factor.
The action in this book was fantastic. A little bit gory and gruesome, but the fast pace allows you to tolerate that aspect fairly well. It's like watching a really good movie. The climax was one heck of a battle. I can't say I've read many other urban fantasy books where the conclusion had me so riveted. Ilona Andrews really knows how to write action, and that's coming from a very picky reader when it comes to action scenes.
The use of magic and the ugly and beneficial aspects fit very well with this particular story. The descriptions of the freaky version of a modern day Atlanta that has been morphed by magic into a sort of dystopian future setting, rife with deadly and mystical creatures were very vivid and iconic. I think this is such a great idea for an urban fantasy series.
I thought the Celtic mythology elements were very well done. The whole use of Morrigan and the Formorians. It tied in so smoothly with the overall plot. There wasn't boring periods where info dump slowed down the story. There was a huge element of risk here where you really worried if everything was going to be resolved well.
To be honest, I didn't really think of Curran as much of a love interest in the first book. There was a bit of potential, and he had me intrigued, although I wasn't sold. But, I could really see the attraction between Kate and Curran, and I was digging Curran pretty hard. He's...well, he's the Beast Lord, with all that applies. I like the back and forth between Kate and Curran. How she's attracted and kind of scared of him (because he's pretty scary, let's face it), but she won't allow herself not to stand up to him. It's pretty clear that Curran has it bad for Kate. I loved his courtship ritual that she didn't pick up on (it had to be explained by a few members of the Pack). I love the slow build of their relationship, with all the nice 'flirting moments'. I can't way to see things progress with this couple.
Kate's sidekicks were cool. Derek is adorable but a tough fighter. I loved Julie. I hope to see more of her. All the contacts and the acquaintances that Kate has stand out in my mind, each adding to the story in crucial ways. And then there was Bran. A very interesting character with a complex relationship with Kate.
Man, oh, man. I had no idea how much I would come to love this series. It just keeps getting better and better. I was so pumped after reading this book, it took me a whole hour to calm down. Magic Burns is highly recommended to the discerning urban fantasy reader who likes a great heroine, kickbutt action, wonderful world-building, and intriguing secondary characters. I'm going to try to keep myself from devouring this series back to back. I need to have a guaranteed read in my pile for that 'rainy day', and the Kate Daniels series is definitely that!
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