Magic Bleeds is an almost perfect urban fantasy novel, so husband and wife team Ilona Andrews have a lot to live up to in Magic Slays. But while Magic Slays falls short of its predecessor, it’s certainly not a step backward for the series.
Kate Daniels and Curran the Beast Lord are truly together. Much of Kate’s past and connection to the mysterious Roland have been revealed. Where do you go from there? Survey says: her mother. Kate’s mom has been a bit of a nonentity in the past, just a woman who died and barely managed to save her child. Magic Slays casts what both we and Kate know in a different light.
Kate and Curran, meanwhile, are figuring out how they work as parents. Kate’s foster daughter Julie is coming home. At the same time, she’s now recognized as the female Alpha for Atlanta and expected to help keep the youngsters and other troublemakers in line. In particular, Aunt B asks her to reform Arsenio, a werehyena teen who keeps having sex in public. (Aunt B steals every scene she’s in, as always.) Kate’s also expected to learn shapeshifter law and hear petitions. It’s not a development she’s thrilled with.
She also gets a real case for Cutting Edge investigations when she learns a loose vampire is coming her way. It’s not only the vampires who are running amok – werecreatures are going rogue as well. It’s all orchestrated by a secret conspiracy. Despite culminating in a huge, multi-species battle, it amounts to little. Neither the world nor the characters are changed. Magic Slays is just a speed bump in the trajectory of the series. The Lighthouse Keepers are fine as one-off villains, but it’s hard to forget that they have nothing to do with Big Bad Roland.
Plus, much of the emotion directed toward the villains feels false after the conclusion. Pretty much, this is one of two books I’ve read recently with one serious, small flaw. In this case, it’s Kate’s powers being a bit too super special. She promises to never use her ability in that way again, but we’ll see.
Andrews’ worldbuilding continues to be excellent. Kate’s new business is not an immediate success because her completion is more established and her reputation isn’t spotless. The Lighthouse Keeper’s motivation makes sense given the changes in society caused when magic came to Atlanta. There’s little new to explore in the alternate Atlanta, but it’s still important for things to remain consistent.
Little quibble aside, Magic Slays is fast-paced and fierce. It’s less romantic than previous books, but I don’t feel that establishing the relationship damaged the chemistry between Kate and Curran. Kate’s confrontation with her father is coming ever closer and until then she has a city to keep safe. Unfortunately, we have to wait until 2013 for the next Kate Daniels adventure.
Plagued by a war between magic and technology, Atlanta has never been so deadly. Good thing Kate Daniels is on the job.
Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, but she’s still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be-now that the Order is disparaging her good name. Plus, many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate’s mate.
So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. But it turns out that this is not an isolated incident. Kate needs to get to the bottom of it-and fast, or the city and everyone dear to her may pay the ultimate price…
Read an excerpt here.
Other books in the series: