Saturday, August 10, 2013

Review: Magic Rises (Kate Daniels #6) by Ilona Andrews

Magic Rises is a winner! That is it. We waited two years for the continuation of this series and it did not disappoint. The Ilona Andrews writing team took the best aspects of the series and came up with a cohesive and emotional installment.

By now fans know that the Kate Daniels series is urban fantasy with a fantastic central character, excellent writing, ancient mythology-based plots, and some darn good romance. Add an integral supporting cast of characters and Kate's incremental emotional growth, and you have the makes for a winning series that will hook any reader. In Magic Rises, Kate's love for Curran and the Pack, her willingness to go all the way for them, both as Consort and friend, is tested, as is their loyalty and love for her.

It all begins with an invitation from three powerful European Packs. The deal? Curran is to act as arbitrator between two clans fighting over the birth of twin babies fathered by two shifters from two different packs. Additionally, a few members of his Pack are invited to come along to protect the babies' mother who is under a death threat from her father's powerful clan. The incentive? In return for acting as arbitrators and protectors, Curran's Pack would receive the magic panacea needed to prevent young shifters from going loup and losing their lives. The invitation is received just as Julie's best friend and twin sister, young wolf shifters, go loup with not enough panacea to help both girls.

Even as they all realize that the European Packs' invitation may all be a trap for Curran and his Pack, the decision to accept is a no brainer. They have to go. Curran and Kate choose a small posse which includes their best and most loyal Pack members and set off on a ship that takes them across the ocean and into a neutral location, an island off the Greek coast. What awaits them are surprises, revelations, controversy, multiple conflicts, and pain.

As in most of the best installments of this series, Magic Rises doesn't only keep readers from sleeping until that last line is read because of the non-stop, explosive action and the plot's twisty turns, but it also keeps them emotionally involved with the characters. This installment in particular has a few of highly emotional "oh-my-god-I-need-a-tissue" moments -- some very sad, and others of the aww variety. That's not to say that Kate's kickass attitude, snark, dry humor, and the witty dialog that make the books in these series such great reads are not there in spades.

Mythology is again an integral part of the story, but it does not overwhelm the plot. The new characters introduced in this story, both friends and foes, are fantastic, as is the Pack's involvement in a highly sensitive political situation. Kate and Curran are dealing with deadly, untrustworthy shifters, and danger is on the high end of the scale. It lurks like a dark cloud for everyone, but particularly for Kate who seems to find enemies at every turn. There are villains and then, there are villains. There are hidden motives and it all becomes a dance to get past the obvious and discover what lies beneath the layers.

Guarding the pregnant Desandra is not a picnic. To understand her, you need to know that Desandra was basically sold to the highest bidder by her father, twice, with the understanding that her first born would inherit a key section of his territory. Now that she is pregnant by both shifters, her father wants to kill her. Desandra is petulant and spoiled, but her personality goes through an incremental transformation that makes her a great character. But she is not the most memorable new character, look to the villains for that distinction.

The Andrews team does a magnificent job of integrating plot points from Magic Rises with revelations that impact the overall storyarc, Kate's relationship with Curran and the Pack, and her emotional evolution -- one of my favorite aspects of this series. If you think that because Kate and Curran are already a romantic couple, the conflict between them is over, think again. There is a little bit of everything: hotness, love, uncertainty, jealousy, trust issues, and more. I will say this: Kate must really love the Pack! What restraint. . .

I tried my best to make this a spoiler-free review. The best I can say is: read Magic Rises! So far, this is my favorite urban fantasy read of the year. Besides the fact that this is such a great read, I do believe that this installment is the foundation for the second half of this ten book series. It's going to be fantastic. If you're already a fan, you'll love this book. If you haven't begun reading the series, what are you waiting for?

Category: Urban Fantasy
Series: Kate Daniels, Book 6
Publisher/Release Date: Penguin/Ace, July 30, 2013 - Kindle Edition
Grade: A

Visit Ilona Andrews here.
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Favorite Kate scene:
"Your daughter is a grown woman," Curran said. "She can speak for herself."
"Until she belongs to another man, she is mine to do with as I please." Jarek said.
That does it. I leaned forward. "Hey you. Either put your claws where your mouth is or shut the fuck up. Nobody wants to hear you yip."
Jarek's eyes bulged. Green flared in the depths of his irises, an insane hot flame. He opened his mouth but nothing came out.
"Yes, just like that," I told him. "Less talking, more quiet."
Series:
Magic Bites, Book 1
Magic Burns, Book 2
Magic Strikes, Book 3
Magic Mourns, Novella (Must Love Hellhounds Anthology)
Magic Bleeds, Book 4
Magic Dreams, Novella (Hexed Anthology)
Magic Slays, Book 5

10 comments:

  1. The book sounds really, really great!
    I'm so glad a sixth book in a series can be so good!!

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    1. Alex, it is! The series doesn't really have one loser book in the bunch. Four books to go to the end and still going strong. It's the combination of excellent writing, great characters, overall storyarc, and individual plotlines used for each book. It's great UF.

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  2. Has it really been 2 yeas since Magic Slays??? Wow! I guess it didn't seem like such a long wait because of Gunmetal Magic (Andrea's story, which was really great!) and because Ilona and Gordon are so generous with the snippets during the writing process.

    I love this series! My favorite books in 2013 so far have been this one and Anne Bishop's Written in Red, with Grace Burrowes' Darius a close contender.

    When is Magic Breaks due out?

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    1. Nifty, it has been 2 years! Gunmetal Magic was great, but it wasn't Kate Daniels, and I was waiting impatiently for this one. I read somewhere that we won't have to wait another two years for the next one, but don't quote me.

      Well, I agree with you, this is my favorite UF book of the year so far with Written in Red by Bishop a close second -- that is another great read. Although, I think of that book as more of a fantasy than UF for some reason. Don't know why.

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    2. Yes, I'd agree about Written in Red. I don't really think of it as UF, either. Definitely fantasy to me.

      I really enjoyed Gunmetal Magic, and I'm glad they wrote it. At the end of Magic Slays, Andrea and Raphael were "off." I'm wondering if Ilona and Gordon knew they wanted them together for Magic Rises, but didn't want to sink the time and page-count (in Magic Rises) into healing their relationship. (Probably easier to break a relationship than repair one.) So Gunmetal Magic allowed them to take care of that without distracting from the main "Magic" storyline, sequencing, and momentum. I was also really pleased that it was such a hefty book! They possibly could have gotten away with a novella, but Gunmetal Magic was huge! That was a nice treat.

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    3. I really liked Gunmetal Magic. It kept me happy while I waited for Magic rises. You know, for some reason I thought that Ilona and Gordon were setting up an offshoot of the Kate Daniels series when they released Gunmetal Magic and featured Andrea as the central character. I thought Andrea would get her own books, set in the same world, but with different adventures. I'm still wondering if that will happen after the Kate Daniels series is done... or if we'll get more books with Andrea as the central character. Otherwise, why the book and not a novella? If that happens, I'll read it!

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  3. Very good review, Hils! I'm so envious because it's so good LOL. I don't think I'll be this articulate in mind.

    I did like Magic Rises. The plot was really good and the action, so fun :P I did not like the bit with Curran though. He did have his explanations, but I don't think they really needed this conflict in their relationship. It was just annoying to me and stupid of Curran in my opinion.

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    1. Thanks Nath. :)

      Ohhh, I liked the conflict between Curran and Kate. Absolutely. How can these two characters not have conflicts in a relationship? They are too alpha and too protective of each other not to. And this one was good for them in my opinion. Trust is a huge issue in relationships, this storyline plays to that. Kate and Curran (not just Curran) both learn that lesson in their personal relationship as well as for the Pack, and I think the outcome was rather unexpected.

      Did you catch that little line about "you know who" (I'm not mentioning the villain's name) having someone, a spy, in the Pack's council? I have my suspicions... how about you?

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  4. By the way, I thought the next book would be Jim and Dali...

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    1. What do you mean? They are writing a complete novel with Jim and Dali as protagonists like they did with Andrea and Rafael? Didn't Jim & Dali already have their HEA or am I not remembering things right?

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