RogerBW's Blog

Magic Mourns, Ilona Andrews 31 March 2019

2009 modern fantasy novella, side story between third and fourth in the Kate Daniels series. While Kate's recuperating from the events of the previous book, her friend and fellow monster-fighter Andrea Nash gets a call… about a shapeshifter being pursued by a house-sized dog.

Of course it's not as simple as that, and things rapidly escalate (to a hand-carried .50-calibre machine gun), but this is after all a world where tech sometimes stops working, so Andrea's going to have to admit that she has magical powers too. Even though she really doesn't want to.

Well, I get the feeling that that's what this series is about, really: people having to make the right choice to get involved and do stuff, even though they have lots of good reasons not to.

I liked the city. I wasn't born here, nor did I come to Atlanta by choice, but now the city was my territory. I had walked its streets, sampled its scents, and listened to it breathe. Atlanta wasn't sure about me. It tried to kill me every now and then, but I was confident we'd come to an understanding eventually.

All right, it seems a bit odd that the heroes don't immediately realise the mythological significance of a three-headed dog, but I guess in this world you have to be familiar with dozens of mythologies, not just the few that most people know about now.

It's fun, it's light, and at novella length there's not room for as much plot development as in a full novel, but it doesn't offend and it rises above "OK" to "actually pretty good".

Definitely not one to read on its own; it doesn't spend more than minimal space on world building, and as usual with a long series it relies on the reader having at least some sympathy with the protagonist. (And Andrea isn't Kate; sure, they're both tough women who fight monsters, but their personalities are quite different.)

For paper purchasers, this is in the anthology Must Love Hellhounds. Followed by Magic Bleeds.

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Previous in series: Magic Strikes | Series: Kate Daniels | Next in series: Magic Bleeds

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