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Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews

October 18, 2010

 

Cover of "Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels, Boo...

Cover of Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels, Book 4)

 

I’m going to start this review with a disclaimer.

I, Ruby, am a wuss. I am that girl in the movie theater who covers her face with her hands during the fight scenes. I plug my ears, squinch my eyes shut and sing “Lalalacan’thearyoulalatellmewhenitsoverla!” when any character might or might not be killed. So, if you’re looking for a review of Magic Bleeds that gives a thoughtful, insightful review of the action of the book, look elsewhere. My interest is in the story, the characters, the world-building and, yes, the romance. Here’s the dry-as-dust description from Amazon:

Kate Daniels cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to deal with-especially if they involve Atlanta’s shapeshifting community.

And now there’s a new player in town-a foe that may be too much for even Kate and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, to handle. Because this time, Kate will be taking on family.

Oh, wait, I have to make disclaimer number two: This review contains spoilers for the first three books in the series. Especially book three.

Magic Bleeds picks up where most of us wanted it to: with the naked dinner between Kate and Curran. Okay, Curran gave Kate permission to wear a bra and underwear, as long as the latter had bows on them. Unfortunately, we learn pretty quickly that though Kate has come through on her part of the deal, Curran hasn’t. All the food has gone cold while she’s waited for him to show up. Kate, being Kate, debates whether or not to call and find out what’s going on. When she gives in and calls, she gets the worst response possible. A third party stonewalls, telling Kate she can’t talk to Curran and that, in the future, she should refer to his head of security.

I was pissed at Curran, right along with Kate. I couldn’t think of any reason good enough for him to blow her off. Although…death, maybe, would work. I say this because the novels are entirely first person. Kate’s mind is the only one we have privileged access to. All the stuff I’ve learned about Kate in the last three books makes me want to scream at Curran for standing her up. Kate may be a hard ass–okay, she is a hard ass–but inside, she’s a softy. Opening herself up to Curran even a teensy bit was a big risk for her. The girl’s got baggage that’s fathoms deep. I wanted Curran to understand how much damage he’d done to this already damaged person and I wanted him to grovel, yesterday.

As it turns out–and I don’t think I’m spoiling anything here–there is an explanation for Curran’s absence. But the message that Kate should refer to Jim in the future was never resolved to my satisfaction. Curran apologizes for it–and refers to it as a misunderstanding–but it was that more than Curran’s absence that really cut Kate more than anything. And I wanted Curran to understand that, and to make it better. It’s satisfying that Kate gives Curran no quarter when she thinks that he’s screwed her over. She said all the things I wanted her to and, ultimately, all the things that he needs to hear, even if it’s hard for her. Both Kate and Curran act like adults (though not all the time–with hilarious results). What I mean is, they don’t just jump in the sack and voila–they’re in love. They communicate. They have dialogue about what both of them would need in order for a relationship to be possible between them. They also talk about the things that they consider nonnegotiable. I can’t help thinking that the husband-and-wife writing team made this possible.

Okay, Kate/Curran rant over. I sweah. You want to know about the rest of the book, yeah? Okay, here goes. Magic Bleeds is a important book in terms of the larger story arc of Kate’s past and Kate’s future. We learn more about her horrific childhood and but also more about what makes her tick. One of Kate’s overriding issues is that she believes that friendships make her vulnerable. No, scratch that, Kate worries that being friends with her makes others vulnerable. Yet, she can’t stop caring for people. And she’s so kick ass, they can’t stop caring in return. What I like is that Kate doesn’t try to push people away by doing awful things to them–which is the traditional M.O. of people with this complex. She does try to protect them, but she doesn’t hurt those she loves to do it. I think that Kate realizes her ability to care for others is her saving grace. She was raised to be a killer and she is that, but she’s also a great defender of what she believes in and those she cares for.

For those of you who have been following the series you know about Kate’s friend Andrea and Andrea’s paramour, Raphael. If you haven’t read their short story, you might want to do so before you read Magic Bleeds. They make several appearances in this book, including one scene that had me laughing out loud. Let’s just say that the mating period sounds like a roller coaster ride. Raphael is there in all his glory–and we get to see how Curran views the sexy bouda. There’s also more of Saiman and our favorite teenage sensate, Julie. Derek makes an appearance, but is apparently exhausted from taking up so much of the story last time. We learn more about the Pack and how it works. Finally, we also meet a member of Kate’s family. There are hints pretty early on about this, if you’re looking for them. Also, by the end of the novel, Kate’s secret isn’t so secret.

The ending of this book is about as awesome as I could wish it. I’m excited to see more of Julie and to see the next step in Kate and Curran’s relationship. The fifth book, Magic Slays, comes out June 2011. For those of you who haven’t yet gotten your hands on a copy of Bayou Moon, here’s a reason to get on it: there’s a sneak peek of Magic Slays in the back. I can’t wait till June. My love for this series–and these characters–started at a slow burn, but now it’s a raging inferno. Only, now, to add to the burn, I really, really want to see a book (or series) featuring Derek and Julie. Has anybody heard whether or not I’m having a pipe dream?

I’m curious to know what you guys think, or if you can recommend a series I might love as much as this one. Care to share?

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