So remember how I said I wasn’t a big fan of urban fantasy? And that I was particularly un-fond of urban fantasy featuring romance with a bossy supernatural hunk? And that I found the first Kate Daniels book, Magic Bites, kind of frustrating and wasn’t sure if I’d read the rest?
If you remembered any of that, please forget it. Because I love this series.
After reading and liking Magic Burns, I absolutely devoured the rest of the Kate Daniels books. If Kate Daniels books were cookies, imagine me scarfing them down like Cookie Monster and then shaking the cookie jar looking for any leftover crumbs (i.e., the novellas “Magic Mourns” and “Magic Dreams,” which I also read) that I could also gobble up. They were just so much fun to read that I couldn’t stop.
What makes these books so addictive?
I think the thing I love most about the books is the characters. I found myself wanting to spend time not only with Kate and her love interest Curran, but with were-mongoose lawyer Barabas, smelly attack poodle Grendel, teenage werewolf Derek, and tightly wound sharpshooter Andrea (who gets her own book, Gunmetal Magic. Yeah, I read that too). And that’s just the first four supporting characters I thought of. The Ilona Andrews team has created a rich, deep supporting cast. The authors have a strong sense of who each character is and what motivates them; part of what I like about the books is that people we care about occasionally come into conflict with each other for completely understandable reasons.*
The books also have a smart, nuanced attitude about power. Over the course of the series, we see Kate moving away from her lone-wolf lifestyle and slowly taking on more of a leadership role. In the Kate Daniels world, being in charge isn’t about having an army of sycophants who worship the ground their leader walks on. It’s about responsibilities, and having to balance a lot of needs and wants among the people who follow you, and sitting through long meetings. Leadership comes with a certain loss of freedom and a lot of pressure, and the authors do a great job showing Kate struggling with the weight of those burdens.
That makes the Daniels series sound joyless. They’re not — just the opposite. The books are almost sinfully fun to read. Kate has a wry, slightly twisted sense of humor and her internal monologue never fails to make me smile. The action scenes are exhilarating and the dialogue is snappy yet believable. And while the authors have fun with the unpredictability and weirdness of Kate’s world, the emotional stakes for Kate and her friends feel very genuine. The end of the latest book, Magic Rises, actually had me tearing up.
So if you like kickass heroines and smart, fun urban fantasy, pick this series up right away. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to counting the days until book 7, Magic Breaks, hits the shelves.
Rating: Buy It
* With the possible exception of Kate and Curran’s fight in Magic Bleeds.