RogerBW's Blog

Magic Strikes, Ilona Andrews 24 March 2019

2009 modern fantasy, third in the Kate Daniels series. When a shapeshifter gets killed and she's frozen out of the investigation, Kate's annoyed, but they're within their rights. When another shifter, a friend of hers, is deliberately crippled, that's another matter.

There's some slight element of mystery here, but it's of the form "what are these people up to" rather than "who are the bad guys"; that's always obvious. The tension of the series so far is less in identifying the villains and more in working out ways to deal with them, while at the same time not smashing the precarious balance of magical power in post-manaclypse Atlanta.

We'd talked our plan over on the way through the city. It wasn't a great plan, but it was a slight improvement over my usual "go and annoy everyone involved until somebody tries to kill you."

Most of the plot, though, revolves round the Midnight Tournament, a series of illicit but nodded-at fights to the death between supernatural creatures. I admit to a slight groan at this well-used trope: yes, of course, Kate is going to have to fight, and it's going to reveal her true power to more people (and thus make her more of a target). (And given how lethal the game is - all the matches we see involve all the members of one side being killed - I can't see how any team can build up form other than "we win every match", which doesn't fit well with the serious gambling that we're told takes place.) However, Andrews doesn't rely on cool supernatural battles to maintain interest, though the action sequences are effective; as always it's about the people first.

Which makes the slow-burn romance frustrating, but largely in a good way. Curran, chief of the shapeshifters, is still something of a smug git, though he's slowly getting better. Kate is trying not to admit that she likes the man, though she still wants not to be just another of the parade of women who've passed through his bed.

At this point the series is still being decent urban fantasy but nothing stunning. The romances (mostly Kate and Curran, but there are others too) are starting to work in a way that's unusual: these people are not the universal dreamboats of inferior romance novels, with whom the reader is expected to fall slightly in love, but just may be right for each other.

Followed by side story Magic Mourns, then Magic Bleeds.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog.

Previous in series: Magic Burns | Series: Kate Daniels | Next in series: Magic Mourns

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Search
Archive
Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech base commerce battletech beer boardgaming bookmonth chain of command children chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 existential risk falklands war fandom fantasy film firefly first world war flash point food garmin drive gazebo geodata gin gurps gurps 101 harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life kickstarter learn to play leaving earth linux mecha men with beards museum mystery naval non-fiction one for the brow opera perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha quantum rail ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1