Review: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
Publisher: Ace Books
Magic Bites is the debut novel of a husband-and-wife writing team Ilona and Gordon Andrews, known as Ilona Andrews. Written in the popular dark urban fantasy genre it is set in a futuristic Atlanta and features a strong female protagonist named Kate Daniels- a very talented maverick and a loner who despises discipline. So far, four books have been written, all of them with “magic” in titles.
Synopsis:(from the back cover)
Atlanta would be a nice place to live if it weren’t for the magic…. When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.
Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.
The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for the bizarre killings – and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league – but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
What I liked:
I liked an original spin on mythologies from all the corners of the world and the new approach to fairly well-known creatures like shape-shifters, wereanimals, vampires, upirs and so on. These creatures, some of them evil, some rational, really differ from other conceptions; especially vampires are definitely quite another kettle of fish than e.g. these perfect, beautiful monsters known from S.Meyer books. I fancy Ms Andrews’s take on them better I admit. Also the female lead catches your imagination – nerdy but not overly so, funny and surprisingly fresh. A snappy, fast-paced mystery plotline will keep you glued to the book from the beginning to the end. I didn’t guess the identity of the worst baddie being distracted by mythological bits. They did their homework no problem!
What I didn’t like:
The book momentarily reminded me of Quentin Tarantino movies and I am not a fan of them – I don’t enjoy seeing too much blood, violence, the trivialization of death, senseless killings and cheesy martial arts scenes. Similarly, in this novel the whole struggle against evil boiled down to just trite bloodbath including the main heroine which, of course, is left pretty much uscathed. Right. It might perhaps excite frenzied teens high on hormones but not a more mature reader. I am not sure if the Adnrews team would like their own daughters to read such a book by the way. I hope other installments will be based more on thinking and psychology, less on action. We’ll see.
The final verdic:
I’ve never been into urban fantasy but now I feel tempted to check out other books from this series; the first one, despite its weak points, really wasn’t that bad as recreational reading.