Reviewed: June 12, 2010
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Kate Daniels Series, Book 4
Rating: 5 Stars
Length: 349 Pages
Formats: Print, eBook
Disclosure: This rating, review, and all included thoughts and comments are my own.
Eight weeks after surviving the Rakshasas in the Midnight Games in Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, Book 3), Kate cooked a very important meal for Curran, the Beast Lord. She cooked it exactly to the specifications he'd left her the last time he'd broken into her apartment. She dressed up, wore make up, and even bought condoms for the event, knowing full well what cooking for him would mean. Then he stood her up. For three weeks after that her heart felt heavy in her chest as she worked her way through her cases with Curran never far from her thoughts. But he doesn't call.
One day, as Kate was making her way home after a grueling shift, Maxine, the secretary for the knight-protector at the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aide and a strong mental telepath, taps into Kate's head to ask her to answer to a call of a murder during a fight at a bar on the outskirts of Atlanta. All hell breaks loose when she reaches the bar and assesses the victim, and Kate has to scramble to contain a virulent epidemic with almost sentient malevolence. Something big and very bad has come to Atlanta.
Issues of blood raised in the previous books start to come to horrifying fruition here, leaving little doubt that Kate's next family reunion may destroy everything she holds dear. And Kate is no longer the solitary, friendless woman we met at the beginning of the series. She has her friends, people she loves...and of course, His Furriness himself, Curran. He broke her heart when he stood her up, and Kate's not big on second chances. But can she live without the man who has come to be the only port in the storm of her existence? Finding out who's going around causing fights and pandemics to break out in all the major cities in the south while keeping the citizens of Atlanta and all her friends safe may just be the final straw on the back of Kate's camel, leaving her forever broken. Or dead.
Prior to reading this fourth book in the Kate Daniels series, I took the time to go back to the beginning and refresh my memory of Kate and Curran and the world they inhabit. I'm so glad I did, because after finishing Magic Bleeds it occurred to me what sets this urban fantasy series apart from the legion of others in the genre. For all that they could be read as stand alone novels, with enough exposition to get a new reader up to speed, when read together these books are more like an intimate tapestry of exquisite continuity that transcends the plot conflicts with the various nasties encapsulated in each book, becoming a word-woven masterpiece of the rich, robust, treacherous, and sometimes terrifying world of Kate Daniels and her friends.
Whether I look at the series overall or focus on just this book, my opinion is the same. Well written and complex plotting, intricate pacing, original and unique world building, fantastic mythos, and strong, vibrant, independent characters make this a must read. For me, the added conflict between Curran and Kate set this particular book even higher in my estimation. I don't have the ability to adequately express my enthusiasm for it and for Kate Daniels as the heroine. My hat is off to Ilona Andrews for the ability to reach out and gut a reader with a few words, taking command of their minds and the rate of their heartbeats with a sheer force of literary genius that the People would give scholarships for.
While reading the first two books Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, Book 1) and Magic Burns (Kate Daniels, Book 2), I had minor issues with the complexity of the plots, which I felt sometimes pushed more towards convoluted. Along with the propensity of Andrews to over-describe a scene, those flaws were slight detriments to those first two efforts. The previous book was not similarly hampered, but the complexity of the plot suffered a little, being far more streamlined and less heavy on the descriptive narratives but also with a little less meat on its bones. Fourth time's the charm, apparently, because Magic Bleeds achieves a nearly perfect middle ground. There is a fantastic juxtaposition of complexity in the mystery and mythos of the Plaguebringer and her posse, descriptive narrative that enhances rather than burdens the flow of the story, and an emotional wallop with the developing relationship between Curran and Kate and all that entails, along with issues with the Pack, with friends, and even with her attack poodle. This juxtaposition provided a virtually flawless, exciting read, chock full of the danger and humor and sexually charged atmosphere that has made this series such a favorite of mine.
I swear, waiting on the next book is akin to cruel and unusual punishment. Excellent book. Enjoy!
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