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Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

October 16, 2010
Cover of "Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, Bo...

Cover of Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, Book 3)

Drafted into working for the Order of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems than she knows what to do with. And in Atlanta, where magic comes and goes like the tide, that’s saying a lot.

But when Kate’s werewolf friend Derek is discovered nearly dead, she must confront her greatest challenge yet.

I love the Kate Daniels books. I love, love, love them. I love them far more than the Edge books. I don’t love them as much as the Mercy Thompson books, but they run a close second. Both series have a kick-ass heroine. Though Kate is more kick-ass than Mercy, by far. After all, Kate is the genius with her sword. Speaking of Slayer, I loved this moment:

“Kate, I’m afraid the sword has to stay.”

“No.”

“Weapons are forbidden everywhere but the Pit level. You won’t get through the door.”

S@!t.

I sighed and put Slayer between the front seats. “Stay here. Guard the car.”

Saiman shut the door. “Is the sword sentient?”

“No. But I like to pretend it is.”

I could count the number of ways in which I love Kate, but it would take too long. I wish I could be half as kick-ass as she is but frankly, I don’t stand a chance. Um, and I wouldn’t have wanted her childhood anyway. Yeesh.

Okay, on to Magic Strikes. You may remember that in the last novel in the series, Curran made his intentions clear to Kate. Well, Magic Strikes picks up about four months later. Kate and the Beast Lord haven’t really been in contact all that time, but that doesn’t mean that she never thinks of him. And it becomes clear during the course of this novel that Curran hasn’t stopped thinking about her, either. The slow burn of their romance both takes a back seat in this story and doesn’t. It’s like one more layer. Andrews doesn’t focus on it. Plot isn’t a device designed to get Kate and Curran together. Instead, it plays an element in the plot. It’s important and whatever is between them colors how nearly all of the characters in this book act.

Magic Strikes begins with Kate being drawn into a pack intrigue–but one that is happening outside of Curran’s control. This is a big issue, as Curran is the Alpha of Alphas. Nothing is supposed to happen outside of his control. But Kate stumbles upon something she can’t avoid–something that involves Derek, the young werewolf boy that has become her friend. Kate is well aware of the risks of having friends. She lives dangerously and those around her tend to get killed. Furthermore, there is the secret that Kate has been keeping. It concerns her heritage and her destiny. If you have read any of the other novels, you can guess what I’m talking about. In Magic Strikes, we learn a lot of stuff about Kate that we were just itching to learn. The meat of Magic Strikes is Kate’s struggle to remain an island–and realizing that she can’t, exactly. Without meaning to, she has found people to care about. She’s just that kind of person. She can’t help it and even as she tries to prevent it from happening, she can’t. No one will let her.

The main thrust of the novel surrounds a hellish gladiator-style tournament in which Kate’s friend Derek has become involved. Kate agrees to do a favor for Derek, but it nearly gets him killed. Kate, wanting to avenge her friend, becomes involved in the plot to deceive Curran. She knows how angry this will make him–but that’s part of the allure. Kate is frightened of her attraction to the Beast Lord. She knows that sleeping with him would destroy her credibility with the Order, but the bigger risk is giving him her heart. She is certain that he would break it as soon as she gave it to him. Going against him serves two purposes for Kate: the possibility of saving Derek and pushing the Beast Lord away and making certain he will no longer want her.

I’ve enjoyed the first two books in this series so much that I have been afraid that this intallment would disappoint me. It didn’t. We learn more about Kate and there is, therefore, more to like. She tries to be hard, but we all know she’s a big softy inside. That doesn’t mean she isn’t willing to fight for her friends–quite the opposite. Kate would go to the ends of the earth for those she cares about. What she doesn’t realize is that they would do the same for her.

There’s plenty of action in this book. I have to confess that the fight scenes were probably my least favorite part of the book. I like the meaty character-driven stuff. I was pleased to see more of Julie, and of Derek. I am not-so-secretly hoping those two get together when Julie is, you know, old enough. It could happen. More of Julie also means seeing more of Kate’s mother/aunt side. She should totally be my aunt. How awesome is the scene where she picks Julie up at her school? We should all be so lucky. There is also the trademark Kate Daniels humor. She’s funny even when she’s at her lowest. I can envision her at working so hard she can’t remember if she ate all the pie in her fridge. I can picture her concern for Slayer and her sword smoking when she thinks of the people who hurt Derek. You should read these books. Seriously. They’re awesome. Wait, are you still here? Get thee to a bookstore for heaven’s sake.

 

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