Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Ilona Andrews - Magic Bites - Kate Daniels Book 1

Category: Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. Most books fall in this category. (A-,B+,B)
Flame Height: 1” out of 9”

The following was the first draft of my commentary about Magic Bites

WHOA! Good stuff! I’m going to make this short and to the point- Urban Fantasy with completely fresh world building (her vamps are beyond creepy and the stuff of nightmares); tough, gritty, smart-ass, kick-butt heroine; no real romance but I’m hoping the sparks between Curran and Kate get fanned into flames; JUST GO BUY THIS ONE- you can thank me later.

But, days later, I was STILL thinking about this book, so I wanted to make sure I was clear on how much I enjoyed this world flipping story.

When I first saw the release of Magic Bites, I read the blurb and a couple of the comments on Amazon and figured it wasn’t for me. I tend to shy away from books with magic as a central plot device. As with witch stories, it often happens that the hero/ine pulls yet another amazing power out of their ass to save the day (and the plot). But something kept drawing me back to this book and I’ve learned that giving in and going with my Reader Instincts has brought some amazing stories to me. My instincts were right again.

Set in Atlanta, magic has changed the world as we know it. Now, I’m not clear whether this is set in present day and the magic swept through in the past, or whether the magic swept through in present day and the book takes place in the future. Chances are Ilona made that clear in the book and I’ll catch it on my next read through. Anyway, these periodic magic “waves” have made technology unreliable and forever altered the make-up of Atlanta’s skyline and citizens. From the back cover blurb: “When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in it’s wake.

For those of you that think there’s nothing new in Urban Fantasy, you’re wrong. The world building in Magic Bites is rich and amazing. From the way day to day lives are effected by the unpredictable ebb and flow of magic, to the gritty urban landscape that Kate Daniels (a mercenary living paycheck to paycheck who can’t seem to play nice with others) inhabits, to the non-humans she must deal with. Most unexpected is that vampires are not the top of the food chain in Kate’s world. The Masters of the Dead (necromancers) hierarchy controls vamps like puppets. And the vamps are beyond creepy crawly nightmares. I wouldn’t normally include such a long excerpt, but this is our first glimpse of one of the undead…

Something large crawled along the hallway ceiling into the kitchen. I pretended not to see it. It stopped to the left of me and slightly behind, so I didn't have to pretend very hard.

The intruder hesitated, turned, and anchored itself in the corner, where the ceiling met the wall. It sat there, fastened to the paneling by enormous yellow talons, still and silent like a gargoyle in full sunlight. I took a swig from the bottle and set it so I could see the creature's reflection. Nude and hairless, it didn't carry a single ounce of fat on its skeletal frame and every dry, hard cord of muscle was clearly visible beneath its taut pallid hide.

Your friendly neighborhood Spiderman.

The creature raised its left hand. The dagger talons diced the empty air, back and forth, like curved knitting needles. It turned its head doglike and studied me with eyes luminescent with a particular kind of madness, born of bestial blood thirst and free of any thought or restraint.

In a single motion I whipped around and hurled the dagger. The black blade sliced cleanly into the creature's throat.

The vampire froze. Its yellow claws stopped moving.

Thick, almost purplish blood swelled around the blade and slowly slid down the naked flesh of the vampire's neck, staining its chest and dripping on the floor. The vampire's features twisted, trying to morph into a different face. It opened its maw, displaying twin fangs that glistened with yellow like miniature ivory sickles.

'That was extremely inconsiderate, Kate,' Ghastek's
[QB: Ghastek is the necromancer controlling the vamp] voice said from the vampire's throat. 'Now I have to feed him.'

See what I mean? It made my skin crawl. Now add in the Pack (the paramilitary-like clan of Shapeshifters) and the political maneuvering within The Order of Merciful Aid (who officially are supposed to protect humanity against all harm by magic) and you’ve got one hellaciously good story!

So to sum up, let me repeat myself…
JUST GO BUY THIS ONE- you can thank me later.
Piquant Opines: RT, CK2S,


Ann Aguirre said...

I've ordered this from Amazon, and I want it NOW!

Man, I hate waiting for books. *sulks*

And wtf is up with Google? I've had the verification word "smenita" on every blog I've visited today.

QB said...

I went and posted my pimpage for this one on the LKH board. So far, every other person that's also read it REALLY likes it, too.

Smenita? It almost sounds like some of the nicknames certain "negative fans" call LKH's Anita Blake.