Welcome to this week’s Read-along and the book we will be looking at is MAGIC SLAYS! Dealing with the major aftermath of MAGIC BLEEDS, Kate has decided to set up her own business as well as adjusting to being Curran’s mate which has its challenges.
Plagued by a war between magic and technology, Atlanta has never been so deadly. Good thing Kate Daniels is on the job.
Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but she’s still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be—now that the Order is disparaging her good name, and many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate’s mate.
So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. Turns out this is not an isolated incident, and Kate needs to get to the bottom of it—fast, or the city and everyone dear to her might pay the ultimate price . . .
E: I felt that MAGIC SLAYS is more of a transition book. Granted Kate has left the Order but she seems to be searching for something to do besides act as Consort. Yes she has the investigation shop fronted by the Pack but business is extremely slow then all of a sudden a vampire breaks free of his journeyman controller and heads by the direction of Kate’s office. Her involvement in attempting to recapture the vampire is the first of a series of seemingly separate events that I think led Kate the closest to breaking internally than she has ever been. She learns some pretty harsh lessons about people, the extent that her father through Hugh will target the Pack, and what it really means to love someone. As a result Kate emerges focused and with a much deeper appreciation of what being Consort really means.
Has: While the previous book MAGIC BLEEDS had an epic showdown for Kate and the inhabitants of Atlanta. In MAGIC SLAYS, Kate is getting use to her new status as being Curran’s mate and consort which is amusing with her reactions dealing with it. Kate has also started a new business and like E said this is definitely setting up a new arc and establishing new changes, such as Kate’s new job and her new standing with the pack. There’s also new changes with Kate making new allies with the Witches which I suspect will have some interesting consequences down the line.
I also felt MAGIC SLAYS was the darkest book yet in the series especially towards the end which Kate and her friends had to face some hard choices and devastating losses. But despite the darkness, I loved that Kate was much more steadfast and willing to face it even though it made her vulnerable and it showed how much she has developed from the snarky, lonely merc from the first book. She is willing to fight and protect those she loves even though it may unveil her true identity.
MinnChica: This book both crushed me and brought me great joy. Like E said, it does have a transitional feel to it, yet the plot line was so incredibly intense that it felt like Andrews ripped apart each and every character. It wasn’t my favorite book in the series, but I think it’s the book that really sets up the rest of the series to come. Between Kate learning the truth about her mother and Voron, to making an odd alliance with the witches, to her new deal with a certain navigator, to the healing of Julie, so much was revealed and set up in this book. The uncertainty in her relationship with Curran broke my heart and then Curran’s confession just patched it all back up. I had forgotten just how much I enjoyed this installment of the series until re-reading it this time around.
E: Since this book does have some serious, really serious moments I am picking one that made me laugh towards the beginning. Curran is doing his best not to freak out over Kate’s job and its associated potential hazards. After things get a bit dicey he figures out a way to handle a couple of different problems and provide Kate with more protection. Enjoy.
Ascanio finally deemed it necessary to acknowledge derek’s existence. ‘Is something funny?”
“I don’t even know you, and I feel sorry for you.”
Ascanio turned a shade paler. “Are you saying I’m not capable of protecting the Consort, wolf?”
Derk let out a derisive chortle. “You got arrested by two human cops while getting your freak on at a morgue. You’re not capable of protecting yourself, let alone her.”
“They were female cops,” Ascanio said. “And I had a fun time. When was the last time you got laid? Let me know if you need some pointers.”
Derek bared his teeth.
I hit him with my hard stare. “I’ll be right back. Stay here. Don’t touch each other.”
“You don’t have to worry about me,” Ascanio said. “I can’t speak for the wolf, but I prefer women.”
I turned around, marched back into the Keep, picked up the first phone I saw, and punched 0011 into it. The phone rang once and Curran’s voice answered. “Yes?”
“What’s wrong with you?”
“Many, many things.”
“I’m not taking him with me. He’s a kid.”
“He is a fifteen-year-old male bouda. He mazes out his bench press at three sixty and his alpha tells me he has a decdne half-form.”
“I love it when you same my name. It sounds so sexy.”
“I’m investigating people who sacrifice trained killers to dark gods.”
“Perfect it will keep him occupied.”
“He needs an outlet for all that energy, and you could use him.”
“In what capacity?”
Why me, why? “I hate you.”
“If you don’t take him, the ball is back in my court and I have to give him hard labor. The last time I sentenced him to the Keep building, he was bench-pressing rocks to bulk-up ‘for the girls.’ He has a brain, and hard labor accomplishes nothing in his case. This way he can waste his energy trying to bodyguard you and might accidently learn something in the process. It might be what not to do, but that’s also useful. When Raphael comes to liberate him, he’ll be kissing his boots.”
“Curran, I’m not running a nursery here. This shit is going to turn hairy. You know it and I know it. The kid might get hurt.”
“I have to bloody him sometime, Kate. He came to the Pack late. Most kids his age have already had their first fight with real consequences. He hasn’t. B has a soft spot for him, because he is mail, and he had a rough childhood. She won’t take him in hand, and even if she did, there are seventeen males in the bouda clan right now, all of whom are under the age of ten or over twenty. He has no peers and he’s isolated.”
“So put him with other kids his age.”
“No. He can’t be challenged, because he is a minor, but adolescents fight for dominance among themselves. He doesn’t get the pecking order, and he thinks it’s all a big game. He’ll run his mouth, and they will beat him, which will accomplish one of two things: either they will break his spirit or he will snap and kill somebody, then neither B, nor you, or anybody else in this Pack can protect him. He needs to learn how to be a Pack male.”
“And you think I can teach him that?”
“You-no. But Derek can.”
Ah. Now it became clear. He’d arranged this whole thing, like moving chess pieces on a board. I unclenched my teeth. “I’m really pissed off at you right now. You could’ve told me all of this last night and asked me to take him. Instead you manipulated me into a corner. I don’t like feeling manipulated, Curran. I don’t appreciate being put into this position, and in case you’ve forgotten, I’m not one of your flunkies. I don’t need to be managed and led by the hand.”
His voice dropped into a measured patient tone that made me want to rip his head off. “You’re blowing this out of proportion. You’re trying to make a fight out of nothing.”
I hung up.
The phone rang. I picked it up.
“Kate,” he snarled.
“Guess what? I don’t have to listen to you.” I hung up again and marched outside. Derek and Ascanio stood on opposite sides of the vehicle. I pointed at Ascanio. “Into the car. Now.”
Ascanio climbed into the jeep. I turned to Derek. “What are you doing here?”
He smiled. “My job.”
What in the name of all that was holy…”Why?”
Derek shrugged. “Just felt like it.”
Like pulling teeth. I tried to speak slowly and form coherent sentences. “What precipitated you quitting your job.”
He looked up at the night sky above us. “Curran and I had a conversation.”
“So…” Derek shifted from foot to foot. “Can I have a job?”
Has: I have to go for a funny one in the book where Kate makes a bargain with the Witches for an alliance. While this scene is understated – and is certainly amusing with the dynamics of a very dysfunctional and feuding family of Vohlvs and Witches. I think it is an important scene which will reverberate for the rest of the series because I think it is a decision which Kate isn’t fully aware of the repercussions it can bring.
Across the table Evdokia smiled serenely, knitting something blue. Her duck-bunny-kitten rolled around on the floor, playing with the yarn. The celestial wolf watched it with a slightly hungry look on its face.
Behind Evdokia two witches waited, both young, pretty, and looking like they wouldn’t back down from a fight. Same dark hair, same small neat mouths, same large eyes. Probably sisters. The witch on the left wore a long hooded robe of gray fabric. Her friend chose jeans and a sweater instead. She’d pulled her sweater sleeves up to the elbow, exposing bright turquoise tattoos of mystic symbols sheathing her arms.
I came to the table, pulled up a chair, and sat. “Everyone brought a pet. I feel left out.”
An enthusiastic howl broke the silence, and Grendel bounded through the doorway. He galloped through the steak house, skidded on the floor, smashed into my chair, and dropped a dead rat on my lap.
The volhvs stared.
“Thank you.” I put the rat on the floor and petted Grendel’s throat. “We will begin shortly.”
“What is that?” Grigorii stared at the dog.
“A shaved poodle.” Technically he was now a closely cropped poodle, but who cared about semantics.
“You will sign a writ of kinship. A document that acknowledges your mother and her ancestry. It will be kept sealed, so do not worry. We just want a paper. In case things do not go as expected.”
What was the catch? There had to be a catch in there somewhere.
Grigorii came to life like a shark sensing a drop of blood in the water. “Why? What is so special about her?”
Evdokia slapped the table. “I’ve told you to mind your own business, old goat! This has nothing to do with you. Go kill something and revel in its blood.”
Grigorii’s eyes bulged out of his head. “You will keep a civil tongue in your head!”
Evdokia leaned forward. “Or what?”
“Or I will teach you some manners, woman!”
The tattooed witch behind Evdokia glared in outrage. “Dad! You will not speak to Mother this way!”
“I will speak to her in whatever way I please!”
The witch in the robe heaved a sigh. “Oy. Papa, really, there is no need.”
I backed away from the table in case somebody started throwing things. Andrea backpedaled right behind me. Curran stayed, his chin resting on his hands clenched into a double fist, probably trying to decide if he should get in the middle of this.
“Yes, go right ahead.” Evdokia pointed at Grigorii. “Live up to your reputation. Civil like a rabid badger.”
The duck-bunny hissed and growled. Grigorii’s raven cawed, beating its wings. Grendel lost it and broke down in a cacophony of excited barks.
Vasiliy put his hand over his eyes.
Grigorii slipped into Russian. “Crazy old hag!”
“A hag?” Evdokia rolled up her sleeves. “Let me show you how haggish I can be.”
MinnChica: Poor Kate had to learn a lot of truths in this book, but the one where she began to doubt Curran was the hardest for me to stomach. Until this:
“Did you take who I was into consideration before you offer me the mating?”
Curran leaned forward. A faint glow touched his eyes and vanished. “Of course I did.”
And here it was. At least he hasn’t lied. Deep down I had known it. Curran was too used to calculating the odds. Like Evdokia said, it wasn’t his first time at the love rodeo. It’s not like he would have fallen head over heels into it, the way I did.
“I have a string of safe houses set up all across the country,” he said.
I must’ve misheard. “What?”
“I have a safe house in almost every state. I have more than enough money to keep us comfortable for the rest of our lives, if it comes to it. I’ve moved most of my funds to places outside the Pack.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I know he is coming and you are afraid. If you don’t want to fight him, you and I can disappear.”
I stared at him.
“The mass transit is gone. No planes, no reliable roads. The world is big again, Kate. He will never find us.”
“What about the Pack?”
His upper lip trembled, betraying the edge of his teeth. “Fuck the Pack. I have them fifteen years of my life. I fought for them, bled for them, and the moment my back was turned, they attacked my wife. I owe them nothing.”
Curran reached over and covered my fingers with his hand. “I’m serious. Say the world right now and we’re gone. We can take Julie with us, if you want.”
His gray eyes looked into mine. “If I fought for them and was crippled, they would all say nice things, and then they would replace me and forget I was ever there. You would stay with me. You would take care of me, because you love me. I love you too, Kate. If you ever became hurt, I would not leave you. I’ll be there. Wherever you want ‘there’ to be.”
– What do you think about the deal that Kate made with the Witches? Do you think they have a hidden agenda and what do you think they really want from Kate?
– How /Do you think the ritual with Julie will affect Kate and Roland’s showdown?
– What was your favorite scene from the book?
– What do you think Hugh meant by sending Kate those flowers and card?