Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

I’ve seen rave reviews of the Kate Daniels books in the blogosphere and they have made me intensely curious about these books. They were my Want Books pick a couple of weeks ago. I felt like I was on a treasure hunt while I was looking for these books. Only the second and the fourth are available at my local bookstore, Fully Booked and they said they could order the rest but I didn’t want to wait 4-8 weeks to get the books. Luckily, I saw that Book Basket was selling a used copy of Magic Strikes so I grabbed that right away. So I already had the latter three books but not the first one! Good thing one of my friends was on vacation in the States and was kind enough to drop by Barnes and Noble to get a copy of Magic Bites for me. Finally, I could start reading the series! I got it on Saturday and I stayed up late last night to finish reading it.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

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 its wake.

Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.

The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t have it any other way…

I’m a huge fan of epic fantasy and not so much of urban fantasy but I always say that maybe that’s because I still haven’t found an urban fantasy series to love. That may change with this series. Magic Bites was an engaging, fast-paced, action-packed story set in a modern-day world where magic exists together with technology. Whenever magic flares, technology shuts down. I loved the worldbuilding in this one. There are necromancers who control the undead (vampires) and they have a long feud with the shapechangers, humans who can take on certain animal forms. The cast of characters is excellent as well. Kate Daniels is a smart, sassy, sword-wielding, kick*ss heroine who deals with problems brought about by magical activity. She’s accompanied by a set of secondary characters that are fascinating in their own way.

I can’t wait to read the next books in the series. I want to know more about Kate, who her father is, what her power really means. Since all of the book covers feature Kate and a lion, I think it’s safe to assume that the relationship with Curran will progress throughout the books. I would love to read about that as well. All in all, it seems like a promising series and I’m excited to read more about this world. I’m glad that Wednesday is a holiday over here (inauguration of our new president) so I have more time to read.

I also have a favorite quote from somewhere in the middle of the book. Kate was on a date with Crest, the handsome plastic surgeon and she just asked him why he’s interested in her:

“Have you ever met someone and felt… I don’t know how to describe it, felt a chance at having something that eluded you? I don’t know… Forget I said anything.”

I knew what he meant. He was describing that moment when you realize that you are lonely. For a time you can be alone and doing fine and never give a thought to living any other way and then you meet someone and suddenly you become lonely. It stabs at you, almost like a physical pain, and you feel both deprived and angry, deprived because you wish to be with that person and angry, because their absence brings you misery. It’s a strange feeling, akin to desperation, a feeling that makes you wait by the phone even though you know that the call is an hour away. I was not going to lose my balance. Not yet.

To those who’ve read the series, I’d love to hear your thoughts about this book and for those who haven’t, I encourage you to give it a try. I’ve seen Kate Daniels compared to Mercy Thompson (another series that I should delve into soon) but for some reason, this book reminded me a lot of Robin McKinley’s Sunshine.