Monday, July 14, 2008

The World of Ilona Andrews

Do you want to know why I was interested in reading Ilona Andrews? She has a heroine named Kate. In my mind, that was the perfect reason to pick up Magic Bites and Magic Burns. There aren’t many heroines I can think of with such a wonderful name *G*.

But the name of a character alone cannot sell a book, so when other reviews came out and some of my fellow bloggers, such as Ciaralira, raved about Ilona Andrews and her character, Kate Daniels, I had to give her books a read. And how right Ciaralira was! Kate Daniels is in good company with such great heroines as Ann Aguirre’s Sirantha Jax, JD Robb’s Eve Dallas and Jeaniene Frost’s Cat Crawfield, among many others. These three women stick out in my mind because they all have the same personalities as strong woman who live on the edges of society but are needed by those who are weak or cannot protect themselves. These are the new super heroines of the 21st century book world!

Magic Bites takes place in Atlanta, Georgia where magic cripples the city. There are things called flares that can take out modern conveniences such as cars and electricity. During theses times, creatures that enjoy using their magic for their own devious means come out and cause problems. That is where Kate comes into the picture. She is a sort of freelancer mercenary who keeps control and cleans up these problems. Kate has her own special magic at her disposal. She has a pretty nifty sword she can use along with another secret weapon up her sleeve. Kate has two magic words from her deceased father she can use as a last resort if need be. When Kate says one of these words out loud to whomever, the unlucky fool must do what she orders. In Magic Bites, Kate acquires four new words from her mentor who has been murdered. She now has six words and her sword to use. Just because Kate may have these powerful words to use whenever she wants to, there are consequences. Every time she says one of these words, the pain she experiences is unbearable, only to be used if there is no other option.

Greg, Kate’s mentor, was a powerful knight who belonged to a group called the Order of Knights and Magical Aid. Kate has the option of joining but she doesn’t deal well with authority. Now that Greg has been eliminated, she must enter the world he was involved with to find his killer. This is where she is introduced to a whole new group of characters. Not only are there magicians and witches, but vampires, werewolves and all different types of shift changers.

Once such shifty creature is Curran, who is the Beast Lord. He is also the Pack King a.k.a. the lord of the shift changers. Curran can change into this monster lion and does not like to be told “no” and feels he must be obeyed in all things. You can just imagine his reaction to Kate when they meet. Sorry, folks, this is no love at first sight or even a twinge of lust between the two. Curran can’t stand Kate and she feels the same way about him. These two not only come to blows but try their best to kill one another. Remember how Kate has a problem with authority? Well, Curran is the top dog, er… cat and he wants Kate out of the way mainly because of her nose in the air attitude. As the story progresses, Kate and Curran come to an understanding and help one another. Kate eventually finds out who killed Greg, gets her revenge and helps Curran and his pack keep control of Atlanta.

Magic Burns (book #2) has Kate looking for a young girl’s missing mother who happens to be a witch and this time Kate ends up with a great deal more bumps and bruises than in Magic Bites. Both Magic Bites and Magic Burns are very heavy on blood and gore with some excellent fighting scenes. Again Curran shows up, but this time he is a bit more reserved around Kate. He no longer wants to kill her and only throws her against a wall a few times. Ilona is a wonderfully, tricky storyteller. She is planting those seeds between Kate and Curran so they have a more permanent relationship between them. Whereas I am a fan of two characters getting together as soon as possible, I feel that Ilona is better at building up whatever attraction Curran and Kate may have for one another. I really wouldn’t be surprised if this series went on for a very long time before we even see Curran giving Kate a peck on a cheek or some friendly touch that can lead to more, shall we say intimacies?

Ilona (and don’t forget her wonderful husband Gordon who lends a hand) has come up with a gritty, dark world that has some great potential. I look forward to Kate and her future adventures with her six magical words that can cause so much damage. And, if Kate and Curran end up sharing a kiss or two, I wouldn’t mind that either.

3 ½ stars out of 5 stars for the Kate Daniels Series

Do you want your chance to win a copy of Magic Burns and read a great interview with Ilona? Stop by All About Romance's After Hour Blog where there is a interview and contest with Ilona all this week. And can you guess who helped with the interview? :D



Sarai said...

HELLO I'm glad you finally read them I think they're the bomb!!!! OMG Love me some Derek though! he's young but hawt *g*

Jeaniene Frost said...

I love this series. The worldbuilding is awesome, but (call me a perv!) I also have to admit, the chemistry between Kate and Curran has me salivating for more.

kmont said...

Magic series happy dance time!

Oh yeah, uh huh, oh yeah, they da bomb, work it. *shakes tail feather*

If lusting after a lusty relationship between Kate and Curran is wrong, I don't want to be right. *g* Sometimes being wrong is soooo good.

Love this series.

Perhaps Ms. Andrews will bequeath upon your post a new wee snippet of Magic Strikes, as she's done a few places around the Blogosphere? It's quite a shameful ways off till it releases after all *dons best tearful face*

/shameless begging

Thea said...

Finally you jump on board, Katie :p I heart Kate Daniels, and Ilona's world building is breathtaking. This is a perfect example of magic and technology working together (or rather, not working together) believably in a wonderfully weird new setting. Loved it.

And can I get in on some of that shameless begging for MAGIC STRIKES as well? ;)

OH and yes I have to agree that the tension, the relationship between Kate and Curran is brilliant; I love that Ilona isn't rushing things but putting the focus on mystery, with little tastes of romantic tension between these two very strong characters. Can't wait for more!

Katie(babs) said...

Sarai: oh yes, I loves me some Derek also, even though he is a bit young for me. :P

Jeaniene: I think Ilona has set things up perfectly between Curran and Kate to bring us back and see where these two crazy kids are headed with each other. And OMG the ending of Magic Burns was so sweet!!

Kmont: *bump hips* Perhaps Ilona will ;). I know she is having some computer woes lately, but once she is up and running, maybe she wouldn't mind letting me post an excerpt *hint hint*? I would gladly do that.

Thea: When I finished Magic Bites I really couldn't see Curran and Kate together since they wanted to kill each other. A new form of foreplay? :P

Tracy said...

Someday I'll read these, I'm sure of it! I keep hearing great things. I need to get about 75 books off my shelves before that happens though! lol Remind me about these books in about 4 months! :)

Ilona said...

Katie, you're a peach. Thank you so much; you are completely and totally awesome for going through all this trouble for me.

Sorry guys, my laptop is in a shop and I get very little online time. But I'll email Katie a snippet. :)

Ilona said...

I will say this much before I vanish into the no web land: Magic Strikes will pretty much determine if Curran and Kate will happen. Also, I sent Katie a snippet.

Katie(babs) said...

Ilona: You deserve it! :D

Everyone, the snippet is up!
Hm, wonder what will happen between Curran and Kate... *rubs chin*

Carolyn Jean said...

What??? You have another blog?

Ciara said...

But why did you only give them a 3.5? I LURVED them so very much! I cannot wait for MAGIC STRIKES. Sigh. January??? Too far away. Great review!

Christine said...

Yay!! I'm so glad you finally read these books! I love the world and the characters. Kate, of course, rocks! As does Curran. I'm also digging the pace at which the Kate & Curran relationship is developing--the tension is awesome. I'm still dying to learn more about Kate's genetic makeup...

And of course there's Derrek. And Andrea.
March 2009 couldn't get here fast enough!!

Katie(babs) said...

Christine: I also like the pace of Curran and Kate's relationship. It wouldn't make sense to me if they all of a sudden jump each other's bones. But that would be knd of hot.
I am so for a Derrek story!
And Andrea is my second favortite character in Ilona's series behind Kate.