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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

'Magic Stars' Kate Daniels #8.5, Grey Wolf #1 by Ilona Andrews

From the BLURB:

Novella set in Kate Daniels world...

Derek Gaunt has no family and few friends. Scarred, solitary, he is the lone wolf who separated from his pack. When those close to him are murdered, he’ll stop at nothing to hunt their killer through magic-drenched Atlanta.

Soon Julie Olsen joins him and what begins as revenge turns into the race to save the city. Their search puts them against powers they never imagined and magic so old, it predates history. It may cost Derek his life, but there are things for which even he would risk everything.

This novella from Ilona Andrews (#8.5 in the ‘Kate Daniels’ universe, also called book #1 in a new ‘Grey Wolf’ series – INTRIGUINGLY!) I read it in an hour and now I just have to share my thoughts because, … I think this is one of my favourite pieces of writing from Ilona Andrews. Like, ever.

First off: everyone by now should know that I’m a huge Julie fan, and have been ever since she kicked some serious butt in her own short story in ‘An Apple for the Creature’ anthology. I have also been a long-time Derek and Julie shipper, probably from the time of book #3 ‘Magic Strikes’ when she didn’t care that he was scarred. And sure, teen Lothario Asciano poses some interesting tension in Derek and Julie’s dynamic, but I know who the HEA should be for Julie when she’s of an age.

‘Magic Stars’ is a delicious slice of suspense and character revelation, wrapped in an action-adventure for Julie and Derek to go on when they find themselves investigating the same mystery from different sides.

I would say that if you’re a huge ‘Kate Daniels’ fan, you need to read ‘Magic Stars’ as a priority. There are a few hints about what Julie has been doing in talking to Roland, which was quickly revealed in last book ‘Magic Shifts’. There are also revelations about Julie’s awareness of her shifted relationship with Kate. Both of these crumbs have no doubt been sprinkled in this novella in a lead-up to bigger revelations in 2016’s ‘Magic Binds’, but they’re particularly delicious to read from straight from Julie’s perspective.

This book though, is really about Julie and Derek. Julie is sixteen, mind – so it’s not a romance … it goes deeper than that. We see how comfortable they are with each other, the trust that’s there when Derek doesn’t think he can rely on anything in this world, and the foundations that have already been laid for a future *something*. It’s really special to read, and just has me desperate for Ilona Andrews to give Julie her own spin-off series, that she continues to prove she can more than handle.

There’s definitely a hint here that giving Julie her own series would require her to first go down a dark path … but reading how strong a bond she has with Derek, I trust that he could bring her back from the brink of anything. And goddamn, do I want to read the heck out of that!


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