Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews – Review

Book Jacket:

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 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, and 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. Turns out this is not an isolated incident, and Kate needs to get to the bottom of it—fast, or the city and everyone dear to her might pay the ultimate price . . .

You can read an excerpt here.

Review:

This series just makes me happy.

Magic Slays is the fifth book in the Kate Daniels series – a series that continues to set the bar, for me, in Urban Fantasy. You just can’t beat Kate Daniels as a leading lady – she’s layered, sarcastic, fatalistic, fallable, droll and impossible not to like. She’s also lethal in an absolutely belivable way – calling a heroine kick-ass is such an Urban Fantasy cliche at this point, but Andrews does a wonderful job showing us what Kate has had to sacrifice to become such a proficient killer, not only making it perfectly clear why Kate HAD to attain her current level of skill, but also layering into the character what she had to sacrifice to get it, and the ways those sacrifices have messed with her psyche. It’s brilliant character work.

All around there is no lack of character to this series, and this book brings back many familiar faces, from Saiman to Rowena (though there was a sad lack of Raphael). I particularly loved how this book brings Andrea to the forefront, and sets the stage for her to be front and center in coming books – I love what Andrea brings to the table, and watching her and Kate work and snark together is sheer fun. But if you’re new to this series, I would definitely recommend going back and starting with book number one – as you can tell, there are no lack of recurring characters in this series.

And of course, one of my favorite parts of this series is the prickly romantic pairing of Kate and Curran. In other reviews, you’ve probably heard me complain about the sad lack of personality we so often see in Love Interests – I need CHARACTER to believe two people belong together – but happily this series delivers, in spades. Kate and Curran are overflowing with personality, such that they’re constantly bumping heads in highly entertaining fashion. They drive each other crazy, even as they adore each other, and they have to work for their relationship – in other words, it is an utterly believable and authentic pairing. Andrews has earned this romance, and it is a ridiculous amount of fun to read.

Plot-wise, this story did feel a little unfocused to me. I was having so much fun spending time with the characters that it didn’t mar my enjoyment of the book, but I do think the ending feels a bit anticlimactic. The action sequences are great, as always – particularly the opening sequence – and I liked the general outline of the Evil Plot of Evil very much, but the build to the grand finale just felt a little rushed, a little scattered. Some of the sleuthing also felt very, very familiar – the trek to Samain, who happens to have all the answers, the return to the Jewish temple… I also felt like we didn’t see enough of the final battle to get the full impact – it felt like the stakes were told more than shown and felt. Honestly I feel about this book the same way I felt about Patricia Briggs’ River Marked - it’s not my favorite of the series, but I love the characters so much that spending time with them is a joy, regardless. This book may not have come together quite as I would have liked, but I still had a very good time reading it.

And it must be said – I absolutely loved the last page of this book, which sets us up for book six in marveous fashion. I cannot WAIT to read it!

How I love this series…

Byrt Grade: A-

As Levar Burton used to say – you don’t have to take my word for it…

Tiger’s All Consuming Books says:

The weird locales and weirder organizations are intriguing, but it’s the top-notch characters that keep me coming back to this series. In short, I am smitten. What are you waiting for? Go find some books by Ilona Andrews, stat!

Dear Author says:

I’m not going to say that Magic Slays brings much of anything different to the table than previous books. The mystery and how it is resolved is mechanically similar. The relationship, as I mentioned previously, plays a bigger role than it has in the past. The thing is that all of the previous books in the Magic series are excellent and thus saying that the recent installment isn’t different is a complement. It’s another well constructed entry into an excellent series that featured some real character growth.

RT Book Reviews says:

It takes both talent and hard work to keep a series consistently high quality, a feat ably demonstrated by Andrews as she places Kate Daniels in a brand-new apocalyptic stew. Andrews’ intricate, detailed worldbuilding provides such a rich backdrop for the story that it nearly becomes a character itself. Add in clearly defined and layered characters, not to mention amazing kick-butt action, and you’ve got one unbeatable series. No one does it better!

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