RogerBW's Blog

Magic Triumphs, Ilona Andrews 10 September 2019

2018 modern fantasy, tenth and last in the Kate Daniels series. Things haven't got simpler for Kate, with a precocious infant son as well as her other responsibilities. Her father is mustering forces for the final battle. And that may not even be the worst of her problems…

And indeed, this really isn't the place to start. While the universe isn't being closed off to new stories, this is the end of the tales of Kate and Curran, and all the emotional capital that's been built up over the previous nine books and various side stories is available to be spent here.

But where some series seem to feel the need to finish by namechecking everyone who's shown up, this doesn't; most of the surviving people do appear, but not all of them, and the ones who do have reasons for it. Important people in this setting do tend to have unique powers – yes, there's a Mages' Guild which teaches standardised magic, but we hardly ever deal with them – and there are always strange and unexpected things that need to be done. By this point in the series, Kate has a huge array of allies as well as her own expanded abilities, and there's a certain amount of working out who is the right person to tackle a particular problem – though it never descends into the jigsaw planning of something like the Luminosity series, because it's not just a matter of putting the right power in the right place. These people still have to fight to earn their rewards.

"As I was saying," Erra continued, "there has never been a child of the Wild within our bloodline. I was hoping that the Wild wouldn't manifest, but it did and now it coexists with our powers inside his body. The might of our magic fuels him. I fear for my grandnephew, for he may be capable of terrible things."

My aunt, the party pooper. "Why should he be any different than the rest of us?"

My aunt opened her mouth and closed it. "Good point."

Superpowered Kate and Curran are still Kate and Curran who think like human beings, love each other, care about their child, want to guard their friends, and so on. The ramping up of power levels has been pretty substantial, but the protagonists are recognisably the same people as they used to be.

Is it an entirely satisfying ending? Not quite, but only because I'd have preferred a bit more wallowing in the victory after the action had finished, and a bit less of the action leading up to it. In particular, the early parts of the book seem to be going round in circles as something threatens the child, then Kate gets angry and kills it, and the same thing happens again. That said, the big battle scenes work extremely well.

All in all, it's not where I expected the series to go from the first few books, but it's a great example of how to handle escalating power levels in a long-running story, and highly satisfying in itself. I recommend the whole series.

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