Welcome to this week’s read-along! The book of the week is the third installment – Magic Strikes! In this entry in the series, Kate faces the Midnight Games which is an underground tournament that challenges the allegiances she’s made. A hot tub scene that had the worst timing in smexing. And the introduction of Hugh D’Ambray and the delightful addition of Dali to the cast of characters.
When magic strikes and Atlanta goes to pieces, it’s a job for Kate Daniels…
Drafted into working for the Order of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems than she knows what to do with these days. 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. As her investigation leads her to the Midnight Games—an invitation only, no holds barred, ultimate preternatural fighting tournament—she and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, uncover a dark plot that may forever alter the face of Atlanta’s shapeshifting community…
Has: I think Magic Strikes is one of my all time favourite ever Kate Daniels books, although I think Magic Bleeds is currently on top of the list. I loved the subplot with the Midnight Games, especially with the way Kate has finally realised she made a real connection with her friends and the growing tension with Curran which I think had reached boiling point!
This was also a book which was much darker in tone with the personal stakes especially with Derek and Kate’s past catching up to haunt her. But at the same time it also had some of the funniest and humourous scenes which helped to balance the darker tone. I loved the introduction of Dali and Hugh who both made a real impact and more hints are set in stone which has become a pivotal book that sets up future story threads. While the previous two books built up the world and established the core characters. Magic Strikes culminates what made the ingredients on what made the Kate Daniels series so magical and addictive!
MinnChica: Even after my fourth re-read of this book, it is still one of my all time favorites, both in the series and of all the books I’ve ever read. Something about the Midnight Games just pulls me in every single time, and I just devour this book from start to finish. Plus, the relationship between Kate and Curran heats up to some incredibly sexy levels, and the tension between these two is so well done, so intense, and has reached a boiling point. Although we don’t get any naked time in this book, the tension between these two leaves little to the imagination, and a night of passion is imminent and highly anticipated. I loved getting to meet Dali, and see the relationship between Andrea and Raphael take off. Again, I can’t even tell you how much I love this book, how much I adore every word, every action, every single moment of this book!!
E: Like both Has and MinnChica I have read and re-read this installment multiple times. In addition to the humor mentioned earlier and meeting some truly memorable characters who continue to play important roles, I thought Magic Strikes really stood out for the characterization. On one hand Kate demonstrated the lengths she was wiling to go to protect people she cared about and on the other she learned that some people were willing to go the same lengths for her. In my opinion, this is the installment, which ended any thought of Kate going after her father lone and afraid. I think she would always be afraid but the fear would be more for others and she would not be facing him alone unless everyone else was already dead. For my romance reader side the relationship between Kate and Curran took a huge leap forward which was a step I certainly enjoyed.
MinnChica: While I was going through and reading this book I think I marked about 4-5 scenes that I wanted to share, because there were so many fabulous parts in this book. SO MANY! But I think my all time favorite scene would be right after one of the Midnight Games matches:
Jim waited for us at the Golden Gate. His teeth were bared. “What happened to barely winning?”
“You said sloppy! Look, I didn’t even use my sword; I hit him with my head, like a moron.”
“A man with a sword attacked you and you disarmed him and knocked him out cold in under two seconds.” He turned to Curran.
The Beast Lord shrugged. “It’s not my fault that he didn’t know how to fall.”
Jim’s gaze slid from Curran to Dali. “What the hell was that?”
“Crimson Jaws of Death.”
“And were you planning on letting me know that you can turn people’s elbows backward?”
“I told you I did curses.”
“You said they don’t work!”
“I said they don’t always work. This one worked apparently.” Dali wrinkled her forehead. “It’s not like I ever get to use them against live opponents anyway. It was an accident.”
Jim looked at us. The clipboard snapped in his hands. He turned around and very deliberately walked away.
“I think we hurt his feelings.” Dali looked at his retreating back, sighed, and went after him.
Curran looked at me. “What the hell was I supposed to do catch the werebison as he was falling?”
Has: I agree with MinnChica there are way too many scenes to choose from the infamous hot tub scene to the big epic ending at the end. But I think one of my favourite scenes between Curran and Kate is just after one of their matches in the Midnight Games. I think this is when Kate’s walls towards Curran was really starting to crumble. Also it was a bit like foreplay because the tension between them was utterly delicious.
‘I stomped into our quarters, straight into Doolittle’s makeshift hospital. Curran followed me, slapping the door closed. I whirled around. The beast melted and Curran stood before me in his human form. Black spots peppered his chest where the spikes had pierced his flesh.
I stared at him for a second and smashed my fist into his midsection, right over the solar plexus. He grunted.
Doolittle took off.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” I looked for something heavy to hit him with, but the room was mostly empty. There were surgical instruments but no heavy, blunt objects capable of causing the kind of pain I wanted.
“He was silver!” I snarled in his face. “I had it under control. What was going through your head? Here’s a toxic silver golem; I think I’ll jump on his back! That’s a damn good idea!”
He scooped me up and suddenly I was pressed against his chest. “Were you worried about me?”
“No, I’m ranting for fun, because I’m a disagreeable bitch!”
“You’re a moron!” I told him.
He just looked at me. Happy golden lights danced in his eyes. I’d learned exactly what those sparks meant. Fury fled, replaced by alarm.
“Kiss me and I’ll kill you,” I warned.
“It might be worth it,” he said softly.
If he held me a moment longer, I’d lose it and kiss him first. I was so damn happy he was alive.
When drowning, grasp at anything in reach. Even a straw will do. “My side is bleeding, Your Majesty.”
He released me and called for Doolittle.’
E: A certain MinnChica snagged my favorite fight scene that I was going to pick for today so after flipping several coins I think I will go for a touch of humor this time.
For people who frequently turned into animals and ate their prey raw, they sure were a choosy lot.
“Kate makes good sausage,” Jim said.
Six pairs of eyes stared at me. Thank you, Mr. Wonderful. Just what I needed.
“Oh yeah.” Andrea snapped her fingers. “The links? The ones we had at the beginning of the month? I didn’t know you made those. I thought they were bought. They were so good.” Her smile was positively cherubic. Of all the times not to be able to shoot laser beams out of my eyes…
“What do you put into your sausage, Kate?” Raphael wanted to know, giving me a perfectly innocent look.
Werejaguars with big mouths with a pinch of werehyena thrown in. “Venison and rabbit.”
“That sounds like some fine sausage,” Doolittle said. “Will you share the recipe?”
“I had no idea you were a sausage expert,” Curran said with a completely straight face.
Die, die, die, die…
Even Derek cracked a smile. Raphael put his head down on the table and jerked a little.
“Is he choking?” Dali asked, wrinkling her forehead.
“No, he just needs a moment,” Curran said. “Young bouda males. Easily excitable.”
1. What was your favorite scene?
2. What did you think of the Midnight Games as a whole?
3. At this point in the series, what are your thoughts on Kate and Curran’s budding relationship?
4. What do you think about the introduction of Dali and Hugh?