RogerBW's Blog

Magic Shifts, Ilona Andrews 20 August 2019

2015 modern fantasy, eighth in the Kate Daniels series. Kate and Curran have stepped down from leadership of the Pack, and are trying to make new lives for themselves. But supernatural threats to Atlanta don't stop; the ghouls are swarming…

That process of stepping down seems somewhat forced. We've been told in previous books that if you're a shapeshifter, either you join the Pack or you don't stay in its territory. Fair enough. Now it seems that there's a procedure for ex-leaders to leave the Pack but still stay local, and other Pack members can choose to join them… which seems to me tailor-made for someone to start building the core of a rival Pack, if the people involved in this particular case weren't so carefully honourable about it.

At a narrative level, this change means that rather than having jobs handed to her Kate has to go out and find them, which calls back somewhat to the early books… but she now has much better ways of finding the ones that are important.

Of course that's not the only thing going on, but what might be disparate cases end up being effectively linked together. One of the members of the Mercenaries' Guild, a shapeshifter, has disappeared on a job, and the Pack won't do anything about it because his alpha disapproves of his proposed match with the alpha's daughter; the Guild itself is falling apart; and then what's all this about ghouls?

"I live here," I said. "I like Atlanta. I don't want this to be a terrible place where people are ruled by assholes and afraid. You live here, too. Don't you want this place not to turn into a hellhole?"

This universe's version of ghouls is interesting, though I think most of the questions about them are worked through in this book and I'll be surprised if they play a major plot role again. The power level of Kate's fights has increased, and so has the intelligence she has to use to win them; going straight in has rarely been enough no matter how powerful she was, and by this point in the series it really isn't. Indeed, the climactic fight is won only by the cooperation of a number of grudging allies, and building that alliance is one of Kate's significant triumphs here.

They took my statement and then told me not to leave the scene. […] The MSDU also took my statement and told me not to leave the scene. When the Georgia Bureau of Investigation showed up, I told them up front that I had no intentions of leaving the scene and that I wasn't going to answer any questions unless they produced a police captain who accused me of being a loose cannon and demanded my badge. They left me alone after that.

And, after the missteps of Magic Rises, the protagonist couple are back to treating each other like grown-ups; they have several battle scenes together, and their effective teamwork should put the lie to anyone who says that stories about happy couples can't be interesting.

Things are clearly being set up for the final confrontation, and unless there's a truly huge misstep I'll follow it to the end.

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Previous in series: Magic Breaks | Series: Kate Daniels | Next in series: Magic Stars

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