RogerBW's Blog

Gunmetal Magic, Ilona Andrews 28 July 2019

2012 modern fantasy, intermediate novel in the Kate Daniels series. Andrea Nash looks into the murders of four shapeshifters… and the possibility that something much, much worse is going on.

So the first question one should ask is "why isn't Kate doing this", since she seems to catch most of the high-level supernatural nastiness in Atlanta. And there is at least some in-world justification for this:

"That's why. You're the most experienced investigator I've got who's not tied up in something, and I can't ask the Consort to look into it, because A) she and Curran are working on something else and B) when the Consort gets involved, half of the world blows up."

As we saw in the novella Magic Mourns, Andrea has a style and perhaps more importantly a narrative voice that's distinct from Kates. Sure, they're both tough women who've had to be quite self-reliant, but that doesn't make them identical in outlook. (Though, oddly, we don't see much of Andrea's gunplay this time – though there's a reason for that too.)

Meanwhile, although Kate's love life now seems to be running smoothly-ish, Andrea's is in a bit more trouble. For all these shapeshifters like to talk about the human side being in control, they seem to fall back on animal-like behaviour patterns contorted through the lens of sapience, and in the case of these were-hyenas this means Drama. Lots and lots of drama. But it seems to work for them, and if in doubt there's nothing like a deadly fight against a super-powerful monster to help you realise what your priorities are.

Oh, yeah, the super-powerful monster. Something powerful enough to kill four tough shapeshifters, who can regenerate from almost anything. And that's not even the primary threat; the real monsters are the ones that talk to you.

Good straightforward action-adventure with a pleasantly thoughtful undertone, and a surprising number of grown-ups except when they're doing the Drama Thing. I'm continuing to enjoy this series.

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