book reviews by Althea

Magic Bites – Ilona Andrews ***

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Magic Bites
Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Read because it was a book club selection. I’d heard good things about the author, so I was happy to check out the first in this popular series.

Well… it wasn’t bad. What I said in my book club: “Kate Daniels” is like “Anita Blake” for people who don’t like reading about explicit sex. It seems like these days, there is a virtual glut of these heroines… it’s not a genre I always go out of my way to seek out, but I thought this Ilona Andrews book was also comparable to (although also superior to) books I’ve read by Patricia Briggs, Kelley Armstrong and Chloe Neill.

“Magic Bites” introduces us to an intriguing near-future which is subject to ‘waves’ of magic. The emergence of this magic has wreaked a certain degree of chaos on society, as it is unpredictable as to whether supernatural energies or technology will be ascendant at any given time. Along with magic, supernatural beings are now part of the new normal – and some of them are highly dangerous. I very much appreciated how the world was handled, without too much ‘telling.’ What’s taken for granted by our protagonist, Kate, is taken for granted by the narrative, and the reader just has to catch on. It’s done well.

Kate is a strong, independent, smart-ass young mercenary. She wields a sword as well as having magical powers. She’s previously been offered a good job working with an organized magical agency, but has turned it down due to her (proudly-held) attitudes regarding authority. But now, her guardian, who worked at said agency, has been murdered. Kate must team up with his former colleagues in order to unravel the mystery and solve the crime.

If you’re a fan of the genre (urban, paranormal/supernatural fantasy investigation with a hint of romance) this checks off all the boxes that you probably want ticked, and is done quite competently. However, for me, it didn’t really transcend the genre. It was a good piece of entertainment, but I didn’t fall in love with the characters enough to rush out and find the sequels.

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