Magic Dreams by Ilona Andrews – Review

Book Jacket:

From New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews comes a tale of darkness, desire, and werecats.

Alpha Pack leader Jim Shrapshire has always been the strong, silent type. But something has come over him–a magic force currently residing in one of the Pack’s headquarters. Were-tigress Dali Harimau has always wished she could get Jim’s attention–but now he needs her help.

Stricken with a magic-sickness, Jim needs Dali’s flair for magic. And to save him, she must challenge a powerful, dark being to a battle of wits.

Magic Dreams originally appeared in the anthology Hexed.

You can read an excerpt here.


Somehow I completely missed the Hexed anthnology, so being the huge Ilona Andrews fan that I am, I wasted no time in snapping up this e-novella. And guys, this husband and wife writing team has done it again.

You always wonder, when you avidly follow an author, if you’re ever going to trip over a saturation point – that point where a certain sameness, a certain familiarity, starts to creep in, where you’ve read an author so much that you start to get, well, stale. But happily, with each Ilona Andrews book I’ve read (and I’m eight books and three novellas in) these authors just keep proving again and again that I have absolutely nothing to worry about – their sheer originality, especially when it comes to world-building, is unreal. I’ve always thought the underlying architecture of the Kate Daniels series – a world wrecked by magic waves – was genius, and so I massively enjoyed how this novella further explored that world, delving into unfamiliar territory, not only in terms of mythology and geography, but culture as well. I loved how Dali’s Indonesian heritage was woven into this story in fun ways (Dali’s mom is priceless), and the way the story shines a light on the culture of one of the victim’s families. From the sheer inventiveness of the magic and monsters, to the strong sense of cultural identity, the richness packed into this 60 page story just astounded me.

Now much as I love Jim, a familiar figure to the Kate Daniels faithful, this is undeniably Dali’s story, and her narration proves without a doubt that she is just a fascinating character. More than anything, I absolutely LOVED Dali’s contradictions –  how she could be so smart and yet, about some things, utterly oblivious, and how she was so very competent and yet still constantly tripped over her own self doubts. The ways in which Dali beats herself up rang so very, very true that it made her instantly relatable and entirely real – and the fact that Team Andrews managed to make Dali a complete, complex person in a mere 60 pages is a testament to their skill. I also very much enjoyed how Dali was able to tackle scary monsters despite completely lacking any ability to handle sword, bow, or gun. In fact, being nearly blind and something of a klutz, Dali is about as far from your stereotypical warrior – and Kate Daniels – as you can get, but watching her take on some seriously dangerous situations in her own particular way was equally as entertaining as watching Kate wreak havoc in her patented style. I just all around massively enjoyed spending time with Dali.

Now I’ll admit I was favorable predisposed towards liking these two characters – Jim has been a stalwart background player since the beginning, and I enjoyed Dali’s introduction in Magic Strikes (Kate Daneils #3, if you were wondering) very much – but as they both have remained largely on the periphery of the Kate Daniels series (Dali in particular), I’ll admit I picked up this novella based more on the Ilona Andrews name than anything else. But now, having finished this novella, I can easily say that I utterly adore Dali and Jim. If they do ever get a book of their own one day, I’ll be one of the first in line.

Oh, guys, I just had a ridiculous amount of fun reading this one. Even the butterflies cracked me up.

Byrt Grade: A

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

Angieville says:

The notion that the buttoned up, lethal chief of security and the booksmart, loveblind white tigergirl might find some common ground tickled me down to my toes… Magic Dreams really brought to my attention how fond of Jim and Dali I had become just following them as side characters in someone else’s story. And that, I believe, is the mark of a superior storyteller–that ability to nurture your readers’ affections for not only the larger-than-life protagonists, but for the supporting cast as well, from integral cog to maverick nut or bolt. My affections were engaged, my attention riveted. Magic Dreams satisfies on every level. More, please.