Magic Burns Read-Along Discussion

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Welcome to the second Kate Daniels Read Along – this week’s book is MAGIC BURNS. Which really kick starts the ongoing arc about Kate’s past and introduces new characters like Julie who becomes an important character in the series. When we last saw Kate, she had been paid, Curran was fixing her roof, and she had a prospective job offer but some time has passed, paying for two houses is expensive and Kate can’t afford to turn down work.



Down in Atlanta, tempers – and temperatures – are about to flare…


As a mercenary who cleans up after magic gone wrong, Kate Daniels has seen her share of occupational hazards. Normally, waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide. But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant. Now Kate’s going to have to deal with problems on a much bigger scale: a divine one.


When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta’s paramilitary clan of shapeshifters, she quickly realizes much more at stake. During a flare, gods and goddesses can manifest – and battle for power. The stolen maps are only the opening gambit in an epic tug-of-war between two gods hoping for rebirth. And if Kate can’t stop the cataclysmic showdown, the city may not survive…

Our Impressions:

E: As I promised you last week the continuation of my story.  When we last chatted I was haunting the Ilona Andrews website looking for updates and information about new books in the series.  When I found the release date for Magic Burns I marked it on the calendar.  A couple of weeks after reading it I saw an announcement that Ilona Andrews was doing a book signing at their local Barnes and Noble.  Their local store was 2.5 hours away from me, in a city I had recently moved from.  That Saturday morning I got up, drove down early, killed some time and went to my first ever book signing. I am not going to go into details about the bumbling idiot I was for the first few minutes until I walked away and regained my composure but they were gracious enough not to hold them against me when I returned with copies of their books.  I learned that they were some of a nicest and fun people to be around.  To me discovering that not only did I adore their writing but that I liked them as individuals as well really put the icing on the cake.


Getting back to Magic Burns, I really loved the idea of magic running wild and all those who thrive on magic seizing the opportunity to claim everything they could.  This installment introduces some key individuals and relationships as well as giving a taste of who/what Kate could become.  I also loved seeing someone else who could enrage Curran almost quicker than Kate.  This installment was much smoother reader than Magic Bites because the majority of the world-building was already complete so more time could be spent on developing the different inhabitants of the world.


MinnChica: I remember the first time I read this story that I was a little bummed,  for some reason I don’t remember it living up to the awesomeness I thought the first book was. However, after having re-read this book numerous times, it’s moved into the rank of “favorite” along with the rest of the books. I loved that we got a chance to see Kate kick some serious ass during the flare, and the romance reader in me was doing little happy dances with all the scenes between Kate and Curran. I still wanted more, but the sexual tension between these two continues to smoke and smolder and get the reader all hot and heavy for things to come! One of my other favorite aspects in this book was getting to see Kate’s reaction to Bran. I loved that she acknowledged that she was lonely, and although she didn’t want to pursue Bran, she also came to really appreciate his friendship, and I loved getting to witness that. I have to say, after this book was over, I was more than ready for some sexy time between Kate and Curran!

Has: I really enjoyed Magic Burns because it really stepped up a notch with the world-building and the ongoing story arc. I also loved the introduction of Julie who is one of my favourite characters in the series who has become an integral part of the series. I also felt that it had one of the best epic battle scenes which was full of tense filled moments that I’ve read. I also adored the growing tension between Curran and Kate which grows beautifully and like the scene that MinnChica highlights below has one of my all time favourite scenes between them which sums up their relationship.

 I also loved the plot with Bran and how he so mischievously got under Curran’s nose and the ending broke my heart because he was one of the most fun and charming character’s I’ve come across. But while I really enjoyed Magic Bites, for me Magic Burns really cemented the series for me as one of the best Urban Fantasy I’ve read.



Our favorite scenes: 

E: **debates between sweet and bloody, decides to be nice to fellow bloggers, bloody it is**  I like this scene because it is really the first one that I truly understood how she had been trained from a small child and what it meant when everything was put together perfectly.  My favorite fight scene comes up in the next book.


“A hand jerked my shoulder and Derek’s face thrust into my view. ‘Kate! Snap out of it! Kate!’


I laughed at him and unsheathed my swords.  Scabbards hit the ground and then I was running.


What happens here, stays here.


A roar arose as the opposing lines of fighters collided like two great ships ramming each other.  The first demon swung an blue axe at me.  I disemboweled him, almost in passing and moved on to the next one.


I sliced and cut, my blades biting like two steel snakes with hungry mouths, and no matter how much **redacted** flesh they consumed, it failed to satiate their hunger.  I saw nothing, I felt nothing.  All melted into the scent and warmth of blood, the scorching heat of the sun and the liquid lubrication of my own sweat.”

MinnChica:  There were lots of bloody parts in this book, however I have such a huge love for Ilona & Gordon’s humor, that this was one of my favorite scenes:

I came closer. The bar was thicker than my wrist. Had to be custom made. I tried to count the weight disks on the bar. A normal bar weighed forty-five pounds, and normal disks weighed up to forty-five pounds also. But these didn’t look normal.


I stood to the side and watched the bar rise and fall. Curran wore an old, torn T-shirt, and I could see him muscles pump under the fabric.


“How much are you lifting?”


“Seven hundred.”


Alrighty then. I will just stand over here, out of your way, and hope you don’t remember my promise to kick your ass.


He grinned. “Wanna spot me?”


“No thanks. How about I just scream verbal encouragements at you?” I took a deep breath and barked. “No pain, no gain! That pain is just weakness leaving your body! Come on! Push! Push! Make that weight your bitch!”


He cracked up. The weight stopped, perilously close to his chest, while he shook with laughter. I stepped up and grabbed the bar. It put me into an incredible compromising position, since his head was really close to my thighs and the area directly above them, but I didn’t want to explain to a rapid Pack how I was responsible for the Beast Lord crushing his chest with a weight bar.

Has: I am going to put this scene behind spoiler tags just in case there are newbies checking out the discussion and excerpts. But this scene for me was pivotal for Kate’s character and it made me bawl my eyes out but I also think it gives a tantalising hint about her past as well.

Excerpt (Spoiler warning)


“Don’t die!”

He just looked at me and smiled. I felt a thin line of pain stretch inside me, strained to the breaking point. It hurt. It hurt so much I couldn’t take another breath.

Bran gasped. His body went rigid in my hands and I felt the last of him fluttering away.


I clasped onto that last shiver of life. With all of my magic, with all of my power, with everything I was I held on to that tiny fragment of Bran and I would not let it go.

Magic churned around me. I sucked the power to me, driving it deeper into his body, holding on. It streamed through me in a flood of pain and melted into Bran’s flesh.

I’m not letting go. He will live. I won’t lose him.

“Foolish girl!” A voice filled my mind. “You can’t fight death.”

Watch me.

The spark of Bran’s life slipped deeper. More magic. More . . . Wind howled, or maybe it was my own blood filling my ears. I no longer felt anything except pain and Bran.

I pulled harder. The spark stopped. Bran’s eyelids trembled. His mouth opened. His eyes fixed on me. I couldn’t hear what he was saying. His heart had stopped and it took all of me to keep him.

He looked at me with ghostly eyes. His whisper floated to my ears, each word weak but distinct. “Let me go.”

“This is how undeath is made,” the voice said.

And I felt deep within me that she was right.

I would not become what I loathed. I would not become the man who sired me.

“Let me go, dove,” Bran whispered.

I severed the magic. The line of pain within me snapped like a broken string. It whipped back into me. I felt the spark of Bran’s life melt into nothing. Magic flailed in me like a living beast, trapped and tearing me apart to break free.

In my arms Bran lay dead.

Tears burst from my eyes, and streamed down my cheeks to fall on the ground, carrying the magic with them. The soil soaked in my tears and something stirred beneath it, something full of life and magic, but it didn’t matter. Bran was gone.




1. What was your favorite scene in Magic Burns?

2. What did you think of the friendship between Kate and Bran, and Curran’s jealousy?

3. What did you think of the magic Flare, and the resulting chaos?

4.Who is Julie why is she important?

5.Why does Kate continue to get involved with the Pack.

6.What happens if all of a sudden the magic refuses to ebb like normal and instead keeps growing stronger and stronger?


22 thoughts on “Magic Burns Read-Along Discussion”

  1. 1. I loved the bow on the panties scene
    2. It was a great way to see Curran’s growing feelings for Kate and also seeing loner Kate developing relationships with multiple characters. In the case of Bran it was sort of adversarial respect.
    3. The conversation that Kate and Custer had concerning the University students that never returned after they went to study unpredictable honeycomb summed up the chaos that magic had brought to the world:

    “Ever try and find them?”
    “You’re asking the wrong question,” Custer’s face split into a happy grin. The cigarette performed a pirouette. “The question you should be asking is what they look like when we do.”

    4. I can only guess at what might come out about Julie but for Kate she has brought a an emotional responsibility that Kate needed. Plus she isn’t an unlikable brat, which is not always the case when kids are brought into fiction.
    5. She needs them as much as they need her and its another part of that loner persona falling away. Or though Kate doesn’t want to admit it to herself she really just wants to jump Curran’s bones.
    6. Death of humanity as it known

  2. @Amanda – The panties… *sigh* <3 I think you touched on one of the key elements in this book: "She needs them as much as they need her and its another part of that loner persona falling away." Kate is absolutely growing stronger by surrounding herself with stronger people, stronger emotions, etc. I think she will eventually be able to kick Roland's ass because she has Curran, the pack, Julie, Saiman, and more on her side.

  3. Lisa/BookWorm33333

    I loved this book because it really strengthened my attachment to all of the characters & my understanding of Kate. It is also when she starts collecting friends.

    1. I have several fav. scenes:

    Kate & Curran and the panty scene:)

    Kate in the weight rm w/Curran and her shouting verbal encouragements at him as he lifted crazy-heavy weights.

    I loved the big fight scene where Kate let loose with her magic and sword skills – major excitement!

    I loved the hidden scene mentioned for several reasons but mainly because of the emotion it generated.

    2. What did I think of the Kate/Bran friendship? I thought that aspect of the book was well done. I felt that Kate identified with him because she could emphasize: with his loneliness and being fellow warriors.

    I loved Curran’s jealousy of Bran. It was funny and further proof that “there was something there”:)

    3. I thought the Flare was so interesting – loved how it gave Kate the opportunity to experience more of her true magical self.

    4. To me, Julie reminds Kate of herself when she was young after Voron died and also the unpaid Karmic debt to Greg. She’s important because she is someone Kate can’t push aside to remain the loner-by-choice.

    5. Kate continues her involvement with the Pack because of her bond with Derek and her respect for Curran. She identified with him in Bk 1 at their 1st meeting. She fears getting attached to him but respects his responsibilities to the Pack. She also seems to keep having reasons to need them:)

    6. The beginning of non-stop magic would be pandemonium!

  4. 1. This entire book is a collection of favorite scenes. My favorite laugh out loud scene is the one in Kate’s office when Ghastek’s vampire comes to formally request Kate’s assistance:

    The vampire stared at me, his mouth slack as Ghastek assessed his options. I took a couple of forms from my desk, and put them into the vamp’s mouth, and pulled them up by their edges.

    “What are you doing?” Ghastek asked.

    “My hole puncher broke.”

    “You have no respect for the undead.”

    I sighed, examining the ragged tears in the forms. “It’s a personal failing.”

    2. I’ve read this book many times, and this relationship makes me cry. Every. Single. Time. The conversations between Kate and Bran in the mists, and then later at the Keep before the battle are some of my favorites in the whole series. You learn so much about both of these characters and the layers that they show only to each other.

    3. I’m a reader, and I don’t tend to see movies made from books that I’ve read because the screen version never matches the images I’ve created in my head; but I would pay serious money to watch a film version of the Flare. Movie Producers are you paying attention? SERIOUS MONEY. Saiman on the roof would be a stunning combination of visual effects. The battle sequences would be phenomenal and the scene where Curran releases the Pack from the Code – epic.

    4. Julie is a critical turning point for Kate, an opportunity for a ‘do-over’ of Kate’s life. A family unit, an opening in all of her protective walls, a decision to stand instead of walking away.

    5. Kate initially uses her relationship with Jim as the excuse to maintain her involvement, but I really believe that the truth gets revealed in Chapter 20 when she’s confronting Curran about Myong and Crest. It is there that we see the attraction of the Pack for Kate – the sense of belonging to something, if not a family.

    “You have the Pack. You’re surrounded by people who would fall over themselves for the pleasure of your company. I have no one. My parents are dead, my entire family is gone. I have no friends. Except Jim, and that’s more of a working relationship that anything else. …When I come crawling home, bleeding and filthy and exhausted, the house is dark and empty. …Nobody cares if I live or die. “

    6. Non-stop magic? I’m visualizing a magic nuclear bomb/black hole type of effect that keeps sucking the magic back in to erupt even larger.

  5. 1. When I first started reading I was in love with the world building and the tension between Kate and Curran but what REALLY got me, especially this re-read, was the words of power. I love how Kate keeps gaining them and how she CAREFULLY chooses to use them (especially after that first time with Derek). Every scene with her using words of power starts to show her shift from “Physical Kate” to “Magically Involved Kate”. It’s almost as if the more she steps away from her loner status and moves into a more adult mindset so does her willingness to accept all parts of her heritage, not just her physical abilities.

    2. LOVED this. It was a great character builder for ALL 3 characters. It showed us that Curran was just a bit more interested in Kate than he was letting on and that Kate wasn’t just a “Wham Bam Thank you ma’am” kind of girl. And Bran’s personal character growth was amazing. For a guy who only gets to come out during flares he made some serious leaps and bounds. I think Kate’s honesty, and her abilities, with him really made the difference in how he began to think.

    3. This was a brilliant plot device. Not only did it have humorous sides (HAIR GROWING LULZ!) but I think of the magic in the world like the ocean tides. It comes and it goes, it rises and falls, its current gets stronger. So to me this made perfect sense to have a tsunami magic wave hit at certain points.

    4. Julie is the kid Kate can never have. She is the start of Kate’s own family. She is also Kate’s humanity. She’ll eventually become a lynch pin to Kate’s morality too. I can see someone later on attempting to hurt Julie and it driving Kate over the edge.

    5. She said it in the first book, she had a gut trust of the Pack over the People. She also seems to understand their needs and their behavior. Doesn’t mean she agrees with it or wants it to happen to her, but she GETS it. Plus, I have to think some small portion of her really is considering what will happen when Roland gets wind of her. And having the Pack behind her and backing her up doesn’t seem a bad choice. They are, after all, seeking the same thing, freedom from Roland.

    6. Curran will have to go to work for Vidal Sassoon as a hair model and to get discounts on hair products.

  6. Lisa/BookWorm33333

    @Lisa V
    ” This entire book is a collection of favorite scenes” “Julie being a di-over for Kate’s life” ” Well said!

  7. I have always been struck by the way Kate reacts to Andrea’s parentage. B and Andrea are very concerned and Kate says no Curran isn’t going to kill you lets talk about something important. Also how casual she is about the things that come out during the flare. When she talks about driving across Atlanta during the flare she casually mentions there were a few odd things. Kate and Bran have a lot in common but for Kate there is a way out into a better life. As others have said there are a number of favorite pieces. Derek being confronted by Saiman is especially good.

  8. @Lisa/BookWorm33333 – I like your take on Julie, and her being a reflection of Kate/Voron, Kate/Greg, and her own difficult childhood.

    @LisaV – Oh god yes, the vampire hole punch scene!! LOL At the end with Bran… I cry every time too.

    @Sarah – I totally agree that it seems (at this point in the series), Kate sees the pack as an ally against. ESPECIALLY since the next book goes to show just how much of a threat Roland sees the Pack as. 🙂

    @barbie doll – I think, given Kate’s parentage, she really doesn’t see Andrea’s as a big deal. Hell, she is the daughter of the scariest mo-fo in the world, so Andrea being the daughter of a animal-were isn’t something she can criticize.

  9. Lisa/BookWorm33333

    @ MinnChica “I think, given Kate’s parentage, she really doesn’t see Andrea’s as a big deal. Hell, she is the daughter of the scariest mo-fo in the world, so Andrea being the daughter of a animal-were isn’t something she can criticize.”
    =Ooh, great thought:)

    @ Sarah The thought of Curran as a hair model… Haha:)

  10. Laurie Osborne

    1. I really like the preamble to the last big battle where Curran lets his crew off the leash and Kate makes all the demons kneel. Way cool. A close second is the scene where Kate takes Andrea to Aunt B. and learns the full ramifications of drinking chicken soup. Doesn’t hurt that Raphael is already all about Andrea. Shouldn’t we read THEIR novella, Magic Mourns, as well?

    2. Kate’s conversation with Bran in the mist is the best — Bran helps her define what kind of attraction really means anything WAY better than Saiman does. And her way of prodding Bran into grasping her version of humanity works extremely well, especially in the context of what she sees Curran doing to get Julie back. DESPITE the lesson Kate gives Bran, he still rages at Curran about his “idiocy” and Bran’s assault no only lets us see Curran’s power but also enables the moment when he expects Kate to call him an idiot as well. Their common understanding of what the right thing to do is really works well and advances the difference in their relationship from all the others in these novels.

    3. The magic flare was cool — not only a neat way of showing the dimensions (and limitations) of Kate’s powers but also revealing of the imperatives of the Code as well as Ghastek’s/the People’s incurable curiosity.

    4.Julie is the child of a carpenter and spends part of this book lashed to a cross, so some things about her are fairly explicit. I think that she is a sensate because of her father — after all a master carpenter, whose skills are valued because wood resists magic, would need to be able to distinguish “neutral” wood from, say, wood that housed a Dryad. I suspect that we will find out more about Julie’s dad (because dads are a thing) and that, as Kate’s adopted daughter (and more later), she will have a key role in challenging/defeating Roland — since she is now his granddaughter, as it were.

    5 Kate continues to get involved with the Pack because their values most closely align with hers. Their dedication to the children, commitment to control, and mutual support (and even their understanding of destruction) represent what she wants for herself rather than the actual family heritage she has.

    6 If the magic does NOT ebb, Saiman becomes a god, the pack goes off the reservation, Ghastek and his people discover the error of their necromancy, and Kate becomes Roland’s equal in power.

  11. I think the second book just builds on the first – it gets better and better. I love the pantie scene.
    The other thing that I love about these authors is the way they give their fans treats 🙂 and I think their Curran POVs on scenes in the books are just priceless.
    Of course if you are going to read Andreas story as well you need to read gunmetal magic also 🙂 🙂

  12. I simply cannot pick a favorite scene. I read the ones you guys chose, and I think “That’s so good but wait…” then I read the next one and think that one is the best. Sigh.

    I loved Bran, and I don’t think he would have taken Curran’s place with Kate, but I think he helped her to see that she could care about someone regardless of what she’d been taught. I think that too is why Julie is so important– it gives her a chance to love and be loved in a way she hadn’t been before in her life.

  13. @Laurie Osborne – I love when Kate finally learns the truth about the soup, and B’s reaction to it. <3 It's the first time we truly get to see B scheming in action. 🙂

    @Bea - I *think* we have Gunmetal Magic on the schedule... Hopefully we do, I definitely need to re-read that story. <3<3

    @Brenda Hyde - I couldn't agree with you more, I love getting to see Kate open up and accept love and support from different people in her life.

  14. 1.fave scene? So many, I think the scene I return to over and over is the scene after Bran’s death. The flowers and the transformation of Red. Bran finally earned his place, but the story took on a mythical element. Hero is an active emotional space, not just actions.

    2. Bran was an ass. But I think was written to understand and appreciate ass’es…as shown by Curran’s ‘he man’ testosterone poisoning.

    3. I like that it revealed more of the characters. And presented what could be possible if magic did not die down…

    4.Julie fills a niche left bare by Greg’s death. Derek while a great sidekick, is not vulnerable, Julie I think reflects to Kate herself as a child. Magically special and questing for vengeance and yet still a child and facing the world trying not to flinch even when scared to death. She is a reflection of kate in a way…

    5. I see Kate involvement with the pack at this point partially created by her position within the Order, partially with the beginning of her need for ‘allies” and partially due to her being drawn to Curran. Where as the first book showed us who Kate was..(budding alcoholic burn out) it also showed us her heroic nature, and this book builds on that. And I believe Julie actually is the major catalyst for that. If Kate did not feel the need to protect that child then she would not have had the impulse to ‘grow’ Kate moves from being a ‘survivor at all costs” to a hero.

    6. We live in the world of Gods and Heroes. And that world is often not kind to the ordinary person.

  15. I am loving all of these comments and all the other great scenes. Really interesting speculation about the possible origin of Julie’s powers. And how could I forget the Bouda house? *dies laughing* so many fun discussions took place there.

    @Laurie Osborne @Bea @MinnChica I just went and checked. We have Gunmetal Magic scheduled for Jul 12th :D. I am sure we could talk about Magic Mourns in the comments…

  16. @Lyssa – I don’t think Julie was the sole reason Kate “grew up,” I think Greg’s death was just as important!

    @E_booklover – YAY!

  17. 1) The scene when Kate went to see Curran when she brought Andrea to the Keep after Julie was kidnapped and she was attacked. So many things were addressed in that scene including Curran’s attraction to Kate, his ability to resist a word of power, and Kate’s admission to him about her loneliness and isolation. And Bran gets a good one in our Beast Lord.
    2) I think Bran represents a logical extreme of what Kate could become. He was a character who spent centuries in isolation with a single purpose and completely lost all sense of humanity. This is effectively what Voron raised Kate to become and where Kate consciously decided not to go. I think that despite Bran’s apparent charm, his willingness to sacrifice Julie to keep the monisto showed how far away his humanity truly was. While Kate could understand it, she would never bow to it and Curran would fight it to his dying breath. So to me, the best part of the relationship was seeing how it highlighted their differences.
    I don’t think Curran was acting so much jealous as territorial. I don’t think there was a romantic overtone to his reaction to Bran, but more that Bran was “touching his stuff”. Bran took the Pack’s maps (several times), waltzed in and out of the Keep, and kissed Kate right in front of him. Personally, I think the fact that in his mind Kate was being included in “his stuff” already (especially after the chicken soup) pretty much says it all in terms or where this is going in the Beast Lord’s mind.
    3) Saimon as a God says it all (yipes!!).
    4) Julie serves to further draw Kate out of isolation. Having a kid gives her an anchor that could limit options AND increase Kate’s vulnerability in a war with her father.
    5) I believe the Pack comes closest to the Kate’s moral sensibilities so she naturally gravitates to them. It’s obvious that both the Order and the Guild have a somewhat skewed moral compass at best and the PAD and military are swamped in bureaucratic nonsense (not to mention the whole authority structure thing). Not really a surprise since the Pack’s path is a direct result of Curran’s leadership. And Kate and Curran seem to think very much alike when it comes to protecting the weak, taking responsibility, and acting with honor.
    6) Back to the caves…..

  18. Let’s see if I can remember everything:

    Kate still reminds me a lot of early Eve Dallas, what with the loner persona and her eventually getting a good support system going. And I’m surprised to find that she actually fares rather better in my head than Eve, who I felt kind of got subsumed by Roarke in some of the books.

    I loved Bran. As others have said, I think he’s a great foil for Kate, and my favorite scene was the one near the end, shortly after his final fate that you quoted in spoiler tags. I loved that he was charming but ultimately rather shallow, and again I was amused by IA teasing me with yet another love triangle, all the while clearly showing why being on team anything but Kate/Curran isn’t going to work out in the long run.

    I loved the introduction of Julie. One of the reasons I wasn’t quite as invested in the first book was that Kate didn’t show a softer side until later. But with Julie, I got to see all that.

    I also liked the introduction of Andrea. I’m glad she sticks around and has her own novella. The boudas seem like great people to hang out with.

    I wonder if things are as bad, with all the magic and tech, in other parts of the world, or if Georgia is special. I have all kinds of world-building nerdy questions and I can’t wait to read further to see if they get answered.

  19. 1. The one were curran takes her soup “I`m secure enough in myself to wear underwear with a bow on it, besides it`s comfortable and soft” “I bet” hahaha poor Kate Curran totally won this round

    2. It`s good to see Kate conecting with someone and it shows the effect Kate can have on people. It was good to see Curran developing more feelings.

    3. It was so insane I hope the last book happens during a flare too.

    4.I wasn`t that fond of Julie in this book, the thing with Red was a bit annoying but it`s good that Kate got a new family connection. To have her looking after someone.

    5.Because she is a nice person who cares about people, as much as she likes to deny it.

    6.I think thats what is going to happen in the end, and it will give magically stong people more power.

  20. Pingback: New Reviewer & Kate Daniels read-along | The Book Pushers | Book Reviews | Book Chatter

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