Today, I'm posting a couple of minis for two novellas I read in January -- urban fantasy and gay romance. Neither was perfect, but interestingly enough, both were quite enjoyable for different reasons.
Magic Gifts (Kate Daniels #5.4) by Ilona Andrews
The story begins with a date between Kate and Curran at a local restaurant. The date quickly deteriorates into a battle with vampires when a female vampire navigator is choked by a magic necklace given to her by her boyfriend. When a child is placed in danger by this same necklace, an investigation and a race to save the child's life ensues.
The Andrews team takes the time to incorporate mythology in this novella, as they bring into the picture the Nordic Vikings and their fun, rather superficial society. They also showcase the growth that continues to take place in Kate and Curran's relationship in both intimacy and team play, as well as Kate's increased role within the Pack. As always, the characters are well drawn, the plot well developed, particularly for a novella, plus I found the pacing and action to be quick and exciting. My one concern? Kate's involvement with the Mercenary Guild seemed to be unnecessary, although it's understood that their help will probably be necessary in the upcoming battle. However, how many roles is she supposed to play? Where exactly are they going with Kate's character? Is she supposed to be Queen of Atlanta by the time this series is over? And, why didn't Jim take on that role? He easily could have.
I'm a glutton for Kate Daniels and once I began reading this novella, I wanted more! More story, more Kate and Curran, more Jim, more Julie, more depth, more everything! So, now we wait for Andrea's book in 2012, and the next Kate Daniels installment in 2013! Ahhhh... Grade: B
Pricks and Pragmatism by J.L. Merrow
In the span of this novella Russell attempts to show Luke his worth as a man and a human being, and Luke learns about himself and ends up yearning for a new type of relationship based on friendship, real attraction and understanding. The story is told from Luke's perspective, and I enjoyed witnessing Luke's growth as a person and experiencing that all-important emotional connection with Russell along with him. I just couldn't help but wish that there had been more depth to Russell's characterization, or that the couple's happy ending had been less abrupt and a bit more satisfying. Overall, however, this was an enjoyable short by Merrow. Grade C+