Book Review: Magic Strikes

Title:  Magic Strikes (Book 3 in the Kate Daniels Series)
Author: Ilona Andrews
Publisher: Ace Books

In the past two weeks I’ve managed to devour the first three books in the Kate Daniels series by the author team of Ilona Andrews and her husband.  The urban fantasy genre has been a favorite of mine, but I’ve had some troubles getting into any lately until a fellow book-lover strongly recommended the series.  And I’m very happy I listened to her.

While the first two books were good, there always seemed to be a great book bubbling under the surface.  Magic Strikes is the first truly great book in the series. Andrews takes Kate’s character and manages to give her a depth that wasn’t really there in previous books.  She’s still the hardass, blunt sword-swinger that she was before, but we start to get a better feel for why she is who she is by (finally) delving into her background and her magical heritage.

On top of Kate dealing with her personal issues, she also has to deal with a serious and crippling attack against her shapeshifter buddy, Derek.  To try to keep spoilers to a minimum, her investigation leads her to a supernatural tournament, the appropriately spooky-titled Midnight Games.  A fantasy book a tournament sounds like it could be a chance for an author to spend pages upon pages describing in horrible detail the fighting that’s happening, but Andrews manages to keep the book moving without cheapening any of the action.

Andrews also takes some time to explain in greater detail the magic that affects this universe, which I greatly appreciated.  The deeper explanations of the two different states of Atlanta (magic and tech) and what they explicitly meant for the city was great, not to mention how commonplace magic has become.  When ‘magic is up,’ as the book calls it, nobody bats an eye at Kate riding a horse down a freeway and shapeshifters are a normal part of life.  Kate, in previous books, felt a little detached from her environment, so little details like those went a long way in building a more believable Atlanta.

Talked about but never directly addressed before, Kate’s magical heritage gets some serious time here.  I definitely can’t get into the details, but I was surprised with how much sense the explanation made.  Couple those revelations with a budding romance and some revelations of other were-animals (I especially loved the newer characters that weren’t all-powerful in their animal forms) and 310 pages goes by pretty quickly.

If there’s one complaint that I can leverage against this book, it’s that some of the monsters that get revealed seem to be getting too big too fast.  There must naturally be a desire on the author’s part to continue to impress with newer and more deadly famous mythological creatures, but I’m getting a bit worried that those revelations could quickly spiral out of control in future books.  Even with that minor concern, I already purchased the next book in the series and had it waiting on my Kindle before I was 3/4 of the way through this one.

To say that I would recommend Magic Strikes would be an understatement.  If you haven’t had a chance to read any of the books in the Kate Daniels series, I urge you to start reading the series, which starts with Magic Bites.  Between a believable magic system, a familiar world, a strong and likeable main character, and werewolves and vampires that aren’t anything like the stereotypical and lackluster characters we’re used to, it’s a must read for any urban fantasy fan.

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About Michael Hannon
Podcaster, blogger, writer, geek. Host of That Video Game Podcast (TVGP) and Dynamic Soundtrack. A big fan of stuff.

2 Responses to Book Review: Magic Strikes

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Magic Slays « The Carousel Podcast

  2. Malerie says:

    Appcrieaiton for this information is over 9000-thank you!

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