RogerBW's Blog

Magic Breaks, Ilona Andrews 12 August 2019

2014 modern fantasy, seventh in the Kate Daniels series. Kate's summoned to attend the Conclave, the icily polite meeting between Atlanta's vampire lords and shapeshifters. Of course it's a trap. But even the knowledge that it's a trap can be a trap.

This book keeps some of the darkness from the previous volume: Curran is physically distant this time off doing something else, which works rather better than the forced emotional distance of Magic Rises, and Kate has to deal with a situation even bigger than she thought it would be.

So the first half of the book is pretty much that situation, and getting out of it; it's a longer passage of unbroken action than I think we've seen before in this series, and I was slightly surprised that the authors were able to keep up the tension. It works, but for me it's pushing the limits; this series isn't just about the action and snarky talk, it's about what these people do when they aren't carving their way through their enemies. The balance is rather better in the latter half of the book, though it's still quite action-heavy; there's a lot to get through.

The book ends with a confrontation that's been foreshadowed since the start of the series: Kate finally meets her father, Roland, who started out in the early books as merely the King of All Vampires but by now turns out to have been in charge of the magical civilisation that fell during late prehistory. She's been trained pretty much from birth to be a weapon able to take him on. But, not really as planned, she is still her own person, and she'll deal with the situation in her own way.

It's something of a different feel from the earlier books, and for all this starts with a search for a lost cat-alike, it's clear that Kate's magical powers have escalated well beyond anything tied to the mundane world. And yet, she maintains her connection to the world; she's an epic hero who nonetheless still likes trivial and normal things.

This is the first book where the authors have felt the need to include a character crib and potted summary of the story so far; I can see why this might be relevant if you were reading them as they came out, but very much to my surprise (I'm usually quite bad at it) I'm having basically no problem keeping track of who's who among the substantial cast.

This isn't the end of the series, but it's definitely the end of a particular situation, and the beginning of a new one.

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Previous in series: Magic Steals | Series: Kate Daniels | Next in series: Magic Shifts

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