Review: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews.

The world balances between technology and magic. When magic waves flow in, technology stops working. Just like the ocean waves of this world, the shifts of ebb and flow between the two leave nasty little problems in their wake.

This is where the heroine of the story comes in. Meet Kate Daniels, a mercenary who cleans up mishaps of a magical nature in the city of Atlanta. Kate is part of the Mercenary’s Guild, a organisation that deals in minor magical problems. When Kate’s guardian, Greg, is murdered, she seeks revenge. Kate gets drawn into the middle of a power struggle between two equally powerful, and not very friendly groups known as The Masters of the Dead and the Pack, who blame each other for a spate of murders. Kate has to figure out what happened before a war starts. The Masters of the Dead are a union of necromancers who are very powerful. The Pack are a group of shape-shifters, ranging from different species, carnivorous mammals, all controlled by one “man”.

One of the things I loved about this book is the world building, which is entirely original and a breath of fresh air. The super-naturals are not the usual suspects you find in other Urban Fantasy books. Vampires in this world are not brooding, handsome silent types. These beings are ugly, completely void of human empathy. They are walking corpses controlled by The Masters of the Dead.

Kate is someone you can’t help but champion on. You can sense the past heartache in her life, and losing Greg severs the tie of ‘family’ connections completely. I’m not a fan of ‘warrior’ type heroines, but Kate shows how strong she is physically and magically, but there is a vulnerability that tempers it. Kate is alone in a world with no true friends to call her own. That’s not to say she doesn’t have her faults, she does, and it comes in the form of her mouth. At times, I like Kate’s quick comebacks, but it can come across as reckless. This is especially true when she meets Curran, the Beast Lord in charge of the Pack.

Right from the beginning, Kate and Curran ignite sparks off each other. They practically sizzle, but they have a relationship of dislike. The banter between them seems natural, and most of the time you feel like kicking Curran for his arrogance. The romance pace is very slow. We gather early on that Curran is a potential love interest, especially by the lion on the book cover, but nothing really happens of a romantic nature between them as of yet. Hopefully their relationship kicks up a gear in future books, but that’s the smut-hound in me.

The world building and the attention given to individual characters are what makes this book a very good read. If you like strong female characters with a smart mouth, and a world brimming with magic and strange creatures, this is the book for you.

I give  Magic Bites 4/5.

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