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Saturday, August 3, 2013

'Magic Rises' Kate Daniels #6 by Ilona Andrews


From the BLURB:

Atlanta is a city plagued by magical problems. Kate Daniels will fight to solve them—no matter the cost.

Mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate, Curran, the Beast Lord, are struggling to solve a heartbreaking crisis. Unable to control their beasts, many of the Pack’s shapeshifting children fail to survive to adulthood. While there is a medicine that can help, the secret to its making is closely guarded by the European packs, and there’s little available in Atlanta.

Kate can’t bear to watch innocents suffer, but the solution she and Curran have found threatens to be even more painful. The European shapeshifters who once outmaneuvered the Beast Lord have asked him to arbitrate a dispute—and they’ll pay him in medicine. With the young people’s survival and the Pack’s future at stake, Kate and Curran know they must accept the offer—but they have little doubt that they’re heading straight into a trap…

Most shapeshifter children die in their teens, succumbing to loup and having to be put down. There is an herbal remedy that drastically limits the probability of loupism, called panacea. But the miracle drug is a closely guarded medicinal recipe controlled by the European shapeshifter clans, who will not share.

So when Beast Lord, Curran and his Consort, Kate, are faced with a heartbreaking case of loupism in their Atlanta pack, it is chillingly fortuitous that the European clans reach out to Curran and invite him to be bodyguard and intermediary in a rival pack political clash concerning a pregnant woman and the twins (by two different fathers) she is about to give birth to . . . 

Curran knows it is a trap. He has previously dealt with the European clans and knows they are manipulative and brutal – and when the entire Atlanta pack has been forewarned that Curran has a chance to save a generation of their children who are approaching dangerous their teen years . . .  both Curran and Kate know they are stepping into something deadly. They just don’t know what. And panacea is, unfortunately, too tempting a tease that’s being dangled before them. They must go, no matter the risk.

So they set sail for Europe (with Saiman’s help) along with Derek, Raphael, Andrea, Doolittle, Mahon, George, Barabas, Keira and Aunt B. All of them stepping into a trap, for the sake of the pack. 


“The invitation is for the Beast Lord and the Consort. I understand if you choose not to go.” 
I just looked at him. Really? He meant everything to me. If I had to die so he could live, I would put my life on the line in an instant, and he would do the same for me. 
“I’m sorry, run that by me again?” 
“We’ll have to cross the ocean in the middle of hurricane season, go to a foreign country filled with hostile shapeshifters, and babysit a pregnant woman, while everyone plots and waits for an opportunity to stab us in the back.” 
I shrugged. “Well, it sounds bad if you put it that way . . . ”

‘Magic Rises’ is the sixth book in Ilona Andrews’s ridiculously addictive Kate Daniels urban fantasy series.

It’s been two years since we last had a book from the ‘Kate Daniels’ world. The last time we caught up with Kate and Curran was 2011’s ‘Magic Slays’, and since then we’ve had some wonderful short stories set in the world and a spin-off for beloved secondary couple, Raphael and Andrea in 2012 book ‘Gunmetal Magic’. But fans have been chomping at the bit for Kate and Curran – but, turns out, it was well worth the agonizing wait.

Ilona Andrews not only gives us this explosive new instalment, but in this sixth book the husband/wife writing-duo start laying the groundwork for the long-game ending . . .  It looks as though ‘Kate Daniels’ will finish with 10 books in the series, and steady releases are set for books 7—10 from 2014—2017 (no more two-year waits). I won’t spoil anything when I say that fans are aware of a big over-arching ticking time-bomb of the series in Kate’s paternity – her father being Roland; leader of The People, of indeterminate old age and immense power, who would be hell-bent on finding and destroying Kate (a potential threat to his kingdom) if he ever discovered her whereabouts. So fans shouldn’t be surprised that a lot of groundwork laid in ‘Magic Rises’ concerns Roland. And there are many possible outcomes from here on in and the next few books taking us to 10 . . .  and I can’t wait. 

But, ‘Magic Rises’ is a very clever book because while fans will be thrilled/terrified by what lays in store for Kate concerning her dear old dad, Ilona Andrews never forget that this is a series driven by the characters. Kate and Curran absolutely shine in this book, that’s a given. But the secondary characters have fleshed out and risen in cast importance, in conjunction with Kate’s caring for them. In first book ‘Magic Bites’, Kate was a lone killer with a terrible secret who was guarding her life by trusting no one but herself. By ‘Magic Rises’ she has a man she loves and would die for, and by extension his pack of shapeshifters who have become her joint responsibility and a child ward she loves like a daughter. In ‘Magic Rises’ the old loner is sailing into deadly territory with ten people she cares very deeply for, and would defend to her last breath. So, the secondary characters in this book have become ever more important to the story, as they’ve also become more important to Kate. So Ilona Andrews, while teasing us with an over-arching BIG BAD plot to come, has also given us hints as to what’s in store for some of the beloved minor characters.

Many times it’s mentioned that wolf Derek, once a handsome head-turner, now a scarred and angry man, is inching ever closer to a darkness of no return. Kate muses that Aunt B is bugging Raphael and Andrea (now engaged) for grandbabies, and barring her terror about loup and stigmatism over her being beastkin, Andrea is not averse to the idea. Then there’s Julie, Kate’s 14-year-old ward who was saved from death in ‘Magic Slays’ by Kate’s blood magic, which also partly robbed her of her free-will. Julie is let in on some of Kate’s secrets in this book, and the fallout will no doubt be felt in future books (if at all). 
Fans will not expect these character developments to be dealt with, or even addressed, in this book – but Ilona Andrews throws them out there to show that, much as Roland will be a focus in the coming ender books, other beloved characters have their own story arcs coming too. And I love this, particularly for Julie. Ever since short story ‘Magic Tests’, I've been quietly optimistic for a Julie spin-off series (and I even asked Ilona Andrews about the possibility). She’s 14 in this book, and if the series timeline holds, she’ll maybe be 18 by book #10. I think this would work as quite a nice hand-off once ‘Kate Daniels’ ends. And, hey, if Julie’s story intersects with Derek’s story, more the better (and if Ascanio is thrown in for good measure) . . . but I get ahead of myself, back to ‘Magic Rises’ . . .  

Any ‘Kate Daniels’ fan wants and expects great things from Kate and Curran in any new book. ‘Magic Rises’ may surprise, but not disappoint. It’s probably tough on Ilona Andrews that much of the couple’s original charm lay in their antagonism towards each other, and that will-they-or-won’t-they friction. It’s hard to keep that going now that they’re definitely loved up, but Ilona Andrews manages it, and in doing so manage to also plumb new depths of their feelings and future. 

There’s a delicious villain presented in ‘Magic Rises’, who’s so brilliant for being such a tease. I, at least, had moments of hoping he could prove redeemable or have slivers of potential . . . and it’s in that trickery that Ilona Andrews excel with this baddie. 

There were many gasps and A-HA! moments throughout ‘Magic Rises’. There was also sadness and death (but not as much as I'd braced for, surprisingly) but what losses there are in this sixth book cut bone deep, make no mistake. It has been a long time since we last caught up with Kate Daniels in a book of her own, and in reading this sixth I realized how very much I missed her. She’s one of the best heroines for being tough as her Slayer sword and weakened by her growing love and loyalty for the people she now calls family. I look forward to more in this series as much because Ilona Andrews finally sets up a long-game for the bad guy we’ve all know was lurking around the corner, but also because they’ve made so many minor characters vital to the series. I can’t wait for all the journeys to come, and hope that after 2017 there’s more to still to come. 

5/5 


4 comments:

  1. yes!!! this book was fantastic!!! I didnt notice we hadnt had a Kate book in 2 years, not because I didnt iss it, but because Ilona and Gordon are amazing in keeping us updated and feeding us snippets =D

    Great review hon!

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  2. I still need to read this book; it is one of my favourite series so I'm please to see you enjoyed it. A Julie spin-off would be wonderful.

    A fabulous review. :)

    Sharon – Obsession with Books

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  3. THIS BOOK. Ilona Andrews is so great at creating tension -- whether it's romantic, sexual, political, etc. I basically can't get enough of this series.

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