Sunday, November 14, 2010

Review: Magic Bleeds

Magic Bleeds
Ilona Andrews
Urban Fantasy
Kate Daniels/Book 4
Ace/June 2010

*Spoilers for previous books*
*Strongly recommend reading series in order*

From the back cover ~

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic. 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 rose.

Kate Daniels works for the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, officially as a liaison with the mercenary guild. Unofficially, she cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to handle—especially if they involve Atlanta’s shapeshifting community.

When she’s called in to investigate a fight at the Steel Horse, a bar midway between the territories of the shapeshifters and the necromancers, Kate quickly discovers there’s a new player in town. One who’s been around for thousands of years—and rode to war at the side of Kate’s father.

This foe may be too much even for Kate and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, to handle. Because this time, Kate will be taking on family…

Ah, one of my favorite Urban Fantasy series and one of my favorite kick ass heroines. I bought Magic Bleeds when it came out back in June (wow, time flies) and I kept reading great/glowing/awesome reviews. So what did I do? I set it aside. I just couldn't make myself pick it up. Funny how that can happen. You would think I would be dying to read it but no, those glowing reviews made me a little leery. I finally read it simply because I got tired of it sitting there, taunting me. And because I was in the mood for some Kate and Curran. Did it blow me away? Not exactly. It did enjoy it but also had a few problems. Nothing major and certainly nothing that would make me stop reading the series. But... Magic Strikes still holds my favorite spot.

Kate is waiting and waiting. She isn't exactly known for her patience so for her to wait on someone for nearly three hours says a lot about that person. In this case it was Curran she was waiting on. Magic Bleeds picks up weeks after Magic Strikes and Kate is making good on her bet with the Beast Lord. Or at least she's trying to. Right off we see Kate's softer side, her vulnerable side where Curran is concerned. It was important to get that out there because Kate isn't one to show that side very often. We might see it when Andrea, Kate's best friend, is involved. Or Julie, Kate's adopted niece. But otherwise Kate tends to keep her emotions to herself, unless she's pissed, then she'll let you know. This sets the tone for Kate and Curran through the first part of the book. She's decided to treat him as the Beast Lord, not as her boyfriend/mate/lover. It's business, not personal, not any more.

The shit has hit the fan as Kate finds out when a group of bad boys stir up trouble in Atlanta. This part of the story is complex and at times seems to go from one crisis to the next with Kate running from here to there, trying to figure out what the heck is going on. There were a lot of antagonists to keep track of. Honestly, I can't remember them all. There were times when I felt like I needed to slow down my reading so I could take in everything that was happening. The sheer number of enemies coming out of the woodwork made me think Kate really deserved a bonus and maybe an employee of the month award.

There seemed to be more talk of mythology, deities and magic this time around. I'm not sure if that's the case but that's how it came across to me. Those were parts I could have done with less of. The mythology is interesting but only in sparse amounts. I'm more interested in the characters and the action than a history lesson on the deities attacking Kate. The action scenes were fierce and intense. Lots of blood, guts and body fluids being stepped in and mucked about. You knew some of those stains just weren't coming out. There were also scenes of detective and diplomacy type work for Kate. She got very little down time and very little sleep. When she wasn't fighting she was playing office or pack politics. Kate did have help but often times it seemed like it was Kate against the world.

Kate and Curran - readers have been asking for some major Kate and Curran action for some time now. Magic Bleeds had it but... I'll admit, I was expecting more. Maybe it was all the build up - yes, Kate and Curran finally get together but it felt too brief, too much of a side story as opposed to a integral part of the main plot. But I'll take what I can get.

We do learn more about Kate's family history and about what Kate will face in the future. This is not a series that should be read out of order. The overall story arc is far more effective when reading the series in order. Kate is certainly a character that has grown since book 1. Her relationships are evolving and we are getting to see more and more of what's under that hard, outer shell of hers.

While I wasn't blown away by Magic Bleeds, I still found it an enjoyable read and will certainly be reading Magic Slays when it come out next May.

Rating: B+


  1. I know how you feel, Leslie. You might love the author, the writing, the series... but sometimes, no matter how eager you are to pick up the next book, you just can't read it. Sigh :( I think sometimes, we just know that this book won't do it for us :(

    However, I'm glad that you read it and while it isn't your favorite, you still enjoyed it :)

    You know, I wished Curran had groveled more :P Yes, Kate and Curran got together and it was hot and everything... but for some reasons, I wished it had gone down a bit differently. Plus, I thought their relationship really moved quickly. Ah well.

    I'm glad we found out about Kate's family :P

  2. nath ~ It's that big build up that makes you almost afraid to read it. Did you ever read the Kelly Armstrong or was it Kim Harrison? (You know I get those two mixed up!)

    Ha - Curran groveling. LOL Yeah, he didn't do much did he? I think all the talk on Twitter about "Kate & Curran & OMG! they're finally together" got my expectation too high.

    Ah, Kate's family - what a wacky family tree that is!

  3. Leslie, I also understand not picking up the book right away. Sigh... it happens that those high expectations will inevitably spoil a book for us (if only slightly).

    I love your review and I'm glad you liked the book, even if you didn't love, love it. I enjoyed this book tremendously... well, you know I love all those mythological bits, lol! And I thought that, compared to other books, Kate and Curran had more page time than they usually do, so I was okay with that. But, I was a bit surprised at how fast their relationship moved (the outcome).

    I also thought that the revelations about Kate were quite important at this point. It's about time! I can't wait for Magic Slays. :D

  4. Hils ~ Thanks! I know you love the mythology. :) I remember you compiling a huge amount of info on KMM's Fever & highlander series.

    I hope Magic Slays gets even more into Kate's family.

  5. I skipped your review because I haven't read this one yet. I know you are very good about not including spoilers, but I am really learning how great it is going into a book totally blind! :)

    Glad to see the B+ though!