Welcome to our first read-along of Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series. Do we really need to introduce the infamous, Kate Daniels? In case some of you haven’t met her yet, I’ll write a short summary so you’ll get the gist of the series.
Heroine fights and kills monsters and bad, evil people. She meets up with a sexy were-shifter cat with awesome blonde, tousled hair. They bicker and fight and make frowns at one another. They join forces to kick the evil monster’s butt. The end.
In case that wonderful summary went into too much detail, here’s the ‘official’ blurb for the first book in the series, Magic Bites.
“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 a series of 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…”
Our first impressions of Magic Bites:
Has: I didn’t think I would be blown away when I first read Magic Bites but within the first chapters I came to adore world that Ilona Andrews created. And I think I fell in love with Kate and Curran and the rest of the cast of characters almost immediately. The world-building was amazing and while it took awhile to get use to it – it was different and unique and I loved how the magical and technological waves brought upon so many crazy events and happenings. I think the moment I closed the book, this series was a real keeper.
Lou: When I first read Magic Bites, I knew instantly that this was a series that would become something that would stick with me for life. I could talk about the world-building for hours and hours because there’s not another world like Kate Daniels in the UF genre. World-building that doesn’t make your eyes glaze over is a plus for me. A heroine that not only is self-sufficient and commands her own agency gets a plus for me. Secondary characters that don’t bog down the story but make it even more exciting is a plus for me. A potential hero that is unique and all RAWR is a super plus for me.
MinnChica: I had Magic Bites recommended to me through Amazon for months before I finally picked up the first book at my local library. Within the first chapter I was so hooked on Kate Daniels that I knew right then and there she would become one of my favorite book heroines of all time. I gobbled up the series, stalked Ilona and Gordon on Twitter and Facebook and joined the forum, all so I could get any tidbit on Kate Daniels possible. The world was new and exciting and different from anything I’d read. The cast of characters were all snarky and fun and so incredible that when the book ended, I was devastated. I will admit though, the romance reader in me was a little bummed that things with Curran didn’t progress past one kiss and the obvious attraction.
E: Hi, My name is E and I am addicted to Ilona Andrews’ writing. So I found Magic Bites when I was browsing in the book story. Everything about the blurb just screamed “read me” so I decided to take the subtle hint and I picked it up. After I finished reading it, I had to find their website because I wanted MOAR. While the writing style in Magic Bites isn’t as polished as later books in the series it delivered a very satisfying punch. Kate was smart, spunky, skilled, but not perfect or a know-it-all. Curran was strong, driven, arrogant, sometimes needing to be taken down a notch or two but extremely loyal. And the cast of other characters each had their own attraction. At the time, this was the only book they had out so I waited, and checked the website weekly looking for updates. I will have to continue this story when we talk about Magic Burns (Book 2) next week.
Lou and Has’ favourite scene:
‘Where was he? I scanned the building, peering into the gloom. Moonlight filtered through the gaps in the walls, creating a mirage of twilight and complete darkness. I knew he was watching me. Enjoying himself.
Diplomacy was never my strong suit and my patience had run dry. I crouched and called out, “Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.”
Two golden eyes ignited at the opposite wall. A shape stirred within the darkness and rose, carrying the eyes up and up and up until they towered above me. A single enormous paw moved into the moonlight, disturbing the dust on the filthy floor. Wicked claws shot forth and withdrew. A massive shoulder followed, its gray fur marked by faint smoky stripes. The huge body shifted forward, coming at me, and I lost my balance and fell on my ass into the dirt. Dear God, this wasn’t just a lion. This thing had to be at least five feet at the shoulder. And why was it striped?
The colossal cat circled me, half in the light, half in the shadow, the dark mane trembling as he moved. I scrambled to my feet and almost bumped into the gray muzzle. We looked at each other, the lion and I, our gazes level. Then I twisted around and began dusting off my jeans in a most undignified manner.’
MinnChica’s favorite scene:
While the last one is pretty hilarious – this was the first moment I fell in love with Kate:
The vampire raised its left hand. The dagger talons sliced the empty air, back and forth, like curved knitting needles. The vamp turned its head doglike and studied me with eyes luminescent with a particular kind of madness, born of bestial blood thirst and free of any thought or restraint.
In a single motion I whipped around and hurled the dagger. The black blade sliced cleanly into the creature’s throat.
The vampire froze. Its yellow claws stopped moving.
Thick, purplish blood swelled around the blade and slowly slid down the naked flesh of the vampire’s neck, staining its chest and dripping on the floor. The vampire’s features twisted, trying to morph into a different face. It opened its maw, displaying twin fangs, curved like miniature ivory sickles.
“That was extremely inconsiderate, Kate.” Ghastek’s voice said from the vampire’s throat. “Now I have to feed him.
“It’s a reflex. Hear a bell, get food. See an undead, throw a knife. Same thing, really.”
E’s favorite scene:
I will agree that the scenes the other three ladies picked were quite entertaining my vote is for the saucer of milk.
“I motioned to the waiter and he glided over. ‘Yes, ma’am?’
I nodded toward Curran. ‘See that man over there with the very short hair? Next to a beautiful woman?’
‘Would you please deliver a saucer of milk to him with my compliments?’
The water didn’t even blink, a testament to Fernando’s excellent service, ‘Yes, ma’am.”
Crest looked at me, obviously itching to ask for an explanation.
The waiter delivered the milk, murmuring to Curran. Curran’s smile turned predatory. He took the saucer and raised it in a kind of salute. His eyes flashed gold. The gleam flared and vanished so quickly that if I hadn’t been looking straight at him, I would’ve missed it. He brought the saucer to his mouth and drank from the edge.”
– What was the first thing about this book that set it apart from other UF series you’ve read?
– What is your favorite scene/Kate Quote from Magic Bites?
– What aspect of the unique worldbuilding is your favorite?
– What about this book caught your attention and made you decide to give it a try?