Friday, August 5, 2011

Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews: Review by Anachronist

Magic Slays (Kate Daniels, Book 5)
My review of previous parts (not all, mind you) you can find here and here.

Genre: paranormal adventure/ romance
Target audience: adults


Kate Daniels, previously a mercenary cooperating with the Order of Merciful Aid, is now on her own. Not entirely of course – as the Consort of Curran, the Beast Lord, she enjoys the protection of the Pack as she tries to kick-start her own business. Independence is rarely easy, especially when your former employers keep badmouthing you publicly, the bills keep coming and the clients are not exactly swarming near your office door. When, after a month of empty run, a serious order is placed Kate must accept it willy-nilly although it might prove to be a tad too dangerous. She joined forces with her best friend Andrea, now a retired (and heartbroken) Knight of the Order but still....when Atlanta's premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, it is never a laughing matter.

Things get complicated a bit and then another client arrives - Kate is asked to find a certain genius inventor who constructed a very dangerous device – something that might kill as efficiently as an atomic bomb but is aimed mainly at the magical community. It is also definitely far less conspicuous than any other weapon of mass destruction. Different factions would like to control the device and poufff!!! All of a sudden the inventor and the prototype is missing. Are these two incidents somehow connected? Will Kate figure out who kidnapped him in time to save Atlanta? Will she find her missing adoptive daughter, Julie, who chose to run away from school for the fourth time? What else she will be able to find about her past?

What I liked:

Finally I’ve encountered a series which authors are not afraid of tackling very dangerous and mostly uncharted waters of marriage. Yes, Kate Daniels is now officially married to his Furriness the Beast Lord and her adventures remain as interesting (if not more) as they used to be in the previous installments! Kudos for courage (well, the series is, after all, written by a husband-and-wife team) and kudos for performance! To all of the authors who say the series is over once you let the relationship actually form – get a big old raspberry! Or listen twenty times without a break to the Cher's song 'Do you believe in life after love?' and learn the lyrics by heart along with the dance routine! Now perform it in front of your readers! Serves you right!
This part of the series is also, in my humble opinion, the best so far when it comes to psychology. The main heroine, surprise, surprise, matures a lot. She learns some new facts about her mother and her former guardian, Voron, and is able to analyze them from a new perspective. She also takes some practical lessons in responsibility and the ability of compromise. Meanwhile we are given plenty of very acute and accurate observations concerning the sources of mass murder and extremism. Overall I was really pleased by that aspect of this book.

Once again this series’ big highlight were the elements of Slavic mythology entwined cleverly into the plot and used in an original way. I love its take on vampires. What's more? The pacing of the narration was a bit too frantic but what could you expect? It made the novel as unputdownable as ever.

What I didn’t like (with spoilers, sorry):

Ok, now I think I will ruin my reputation a bit. Who cares. Yes, I wanted to see one character dead. A kid. She didn't die and I resent it.

Don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against that kid, she is cute and funny. The problem is that in this book she gets attacked and is infected with the Lyc-V virus. As a result, according to dr. Dolittle, she is inevitably turning into a loup. As always our wonder woman Kate manages to find a way to save her reminding herself about an obscure cabbalist called Eliah the Unbeliever.

Well, in previous books we were repeatedly told by different characters that it is virtually impossible to cure or save anybody who was turning or turned loup - any shifter, be it a child or an adult, who loses his/her sanity must be put down instantly as loupism is highly virulent, dangerous for the whole community etc, etc. Well, I do understand that the authors wanted to save the kid who provided constant comic relief; the readers might have reacted angrily if Julie had died as she was bound to do but letting her die would be, in my humble opinion, a far more consistent and logical move. Fairy tales are a domain of miraculous ‘cures’ of supposedly incurable ailments, not fantasy novels. This book was in some parts so good that such a solution and an instant HEA which followed it I found garishly out of place. On the other hand, when you think about it Curran managed to overcome a similarly dangerous predicament in a similarly outlandish way in the previous part so I suppose it is simply how the author deal with improbable problems. Pity. Without such silly, unreal scenes this series would be far more intelligent and excitable, at least to me.

Ok enough about poor Julie. I don't like the cover too.

One more thing – the unresolved situation between Andrea and a certain bouda left me displeased but maybe it will be amended in the next part (I certainly hope for a HEA here).

Final verdict:

I really enjoyed that one and I will continue to read the series but please, let it be less miracles more logic in the next installments!


  1. I had to skip this whole review in fear of spoilers. But I did notice you liked things ;)

  2. How very er...brave of you, my lady Blodeuedd! ;p I did like things and the series!

  3. I've just finished Magic Slays too and loved it as well!!

    I get what you are saying about the Kid, but you don't think the expansion of Kate's magic is scarier now that she can do that...? It quite freaked me out!

  4. Hmm, not too sure about this one though the very thought of 'his Furriness the Beast Lord' does intrigue me.

  5. "His Furiness" intrguies me! Although I have heard of this author, I have yet to read her book. Nice review!

  6. For your enjoyment in the next installment I hope the kid dies. ;) lol.

  7. I adore this series! I'm really glad to know Kate matures a lot in this one and we get to learn some more about her family:) I skipped the dislike section since I haven't read it yet, but I do agree with you on the cover:) Not my favorite.

  8. Yay! One of the reasons why I love the Night Huntress series so much is because of the husband and wife team that is Bones and Cat, and how dynamic they are when they work together! This review gives me something to look forward to when I finally get on the ball and start this series.

  9. Marriage is very dangerous, in my humble opinion, and makes for compelling dynamics, especially if one's a furry beast and the other's a former mercenary. Funny review, Anachronist!

  10. Thanks for all your kind comments!

    @Mel's you don't think the expansion of Kate's magic is scarier now that she can do that...? It quite freaked me out

    You are right, it is kind of scary but I think it will lead to the final showdown between her and her dear daddy.

    @Petty Witter
    Try the first part to see if it might work for you.

    @Savannah - thanks, the series is worth reading!

    @ Nina - oh you are as nasty as me, I hope it is not contagious...die, Kid, die! LOL

    @Jenny - the covers suck. Pity.

    @Missie - you say Night Huntress series? Oh dear, my TBR list will soon explode...but thanks!

    @Stephanie - I try to write funny reviews and I do agree with your assessment of marriage; explosive stuff!

    @Bookish Brunette - like hell you need!

  11. I think that was my favevorite of the Kate Daniels books. I was also really impressed that the authors managed to keep Kate and Curran's relationship interesting even after they are officially together (do they actually get married though? I don't remember that). I hear what you are saying about Julie but if Julie actually did die Kate would be besieged with a whole slew of psychological problems that the Andrews probably aren't prepared to deal with this late in the series. That's just my guess.

  12. @Simcha

    Curran and Kate are kind of mated, not married but I suppose it is as far as changeling couples go. I quite agree that the death of Julie would be difficult to deal with but also it would make the book far more interesting to me. No good author can avoid psychological problems forever. Sooner or later Kate will have to fight with her own father - no matter whether she wins or loses, there will have to be psychological implications as well.

  13. I just received the first book of this series and looking forward to when I can dive into it. :) Sounds like a great series. Thanks for the review! :)


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