Welcome to this week’s Kate Daniels Read-Along! Although this week’s book is a bit of a departure because the book we will be focusing on is Gunmetal Magic. This is the first full spin-off book set in Kate Daniels world, which concentrates on Andrea. There are Egyptian Gods on the warpath and Andrea dealing with aftermath of the events in Magic Bleeds.
The “New York Times “bestselling Kate Daniels novels have been hailed as “top-notch urban fantasy” (“Monsters and Critics”). Now, Ilona Andrews delves deeper into Kate’s world, and reveals its untold stories…
After being kicked out of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea’s whole existence is in shambles. She tries to put herself back together by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend. When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano–the male alpha of the Clan Bouda, and Andrea’s former lover–die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate. Now she must work with Raphael as her search for the killer leads into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta. And dealing with her feelings for him might have to take a back seat to saving the world…
Has: I adore Andrea and the friendship she shares with Kate so I was very excited to learn that there was going to be a book focusing on her. Andrea is picking up the pieces from MAGIC BLEEDS, by dealing with a break up with Raphael and being kicked out of the Order because her secret for being a shifter is now known. I am glad there was a book that focused on Andrea because the events in the previous book affected just as much as Kate due to the life-changing elements. In GUNMETAL MAGIC, I liked how Andrea embraced her Beastkin side which was suppressed and hidden because of her fear of being shunned and discovered. But I think acknowledging her shifter side – really brought out her character and I think it made her stronger and it was funny, and engrossing to watch Andrea going all out and not giving a damn about what others thought.
I also loved the romance in the book, which was just pure and utter fun especially with her reconciliation and courtship with Raphael. I think one scene in the book was the most funniest ever scenes that Ilona and Gordon ever wrote and it made me chuckle out loud and it definitely gave Kate and Curran’s mating courtship a run for its money. Although this was pretty much a side story that doesn’t really expand the main arc forward, it does set up Andrea and Raphael’s standing in the pack as a literal power couple who are integral characters in the series.
Another reason why I really enjoyed GUNMETAL MAGIC – it also features Roman, the Volhv mage who has fast become one of my alltime favourite characters – (I really really hope Ilona Andrews will base a story around him) – He also adds some spice into the mix along with his crazy dysfunctional family. I hope that there are more supporting characters side stories because this is such a vivid and amazing world.
E: This is such a great story. Things between Andrea and Raphael were in a not-so-good place at the end of the last Kate Daniels book, MAGIC BLEEDS, so I really found it a treat to get something focused on them. The sheer emotion, the anger, the hurt, the shock, and the reactions all while trying to solve the mystery of some shapeshifter murders were extremely enjoyable. At varying times I found myself both cheering for and against Andrea and Raphael separately and together. At other times I found myself laughing at the intricacies of bouda behavior shone through their attempts to remain professional and distant. I also enjoyed seeing more of Roman, a lot more and some of what Ascanio and Barabas could do.
As Has said, this doesn’t directly move the main arc forward it does position some individuals in key places and exposes inner Pack dynamics. It also emphasizes how important the supporting characters are in this entire series to the overall story arc not just as one dimensional pieces. Andrews also provided some interesting history about shapeshifters even if it might have been skewed slightly by the presenter. The information gave me a lot to think about in terms of Kate, Curran and their power balance. If you have read Magic Mourns the Raphael and Andrea novella this fits nicely in with some comments made towards the very end of the story. Yet another example of how Andrews’ world is built so seamlessly.
MinnChica: I was so excited to read this book, because I am such a huge fan of Andrea. And given the way that she and Raphael left things in Magic Slays, I couldn’t wait to find out how they would resolve their relationship. I have to say, the way Raphael left things, I was pretty pissed at the pretty-boy, and told myself that he would have to do some hard-core groveling in order to win me back. Then, after the way he reacted in the beginning of the story, I was even more mad at him. I have to say though, he did alright when it came to trying to win Andrea back. While I thought he could have groveled a little bit more, I was glad with how it all played out.
To top it off, I loved the overall plot. Andrews does an amazing job taking different myths and twisting them around to create amazing plot points. I loved everything with Andrea having to accept her shifter nature, and how she ended up fitting into the pack. It was also great to see Kate and Curran from an outsiders point of view. It added so much more to the series overall that I absolutely loved and adored everything about this book.
E: “Nor Hell a fury like a woman scorned.” William Congreve 1697, the boudas should have studied their literature instead they were introduced to Andrea in her full glory. The scene I picked this week takes place shortly after Rafael’s first visit to Andrea’s office.
Aunt B wanted me to play ball, join Clan Bouda, and be one of her girls. I’d been in a bouda clan once. No thanks.
“We could go out the front door,” Ascanio said.
The thought they could intimidate me. Well, they should have brought a lot more people, because I was done doing things by the book. “Hell, no. We’re going out the back. Whatever happens, you stay out of it or I will never take you with me anywhere.”
I marched through the back door.
The boudas took me in, fur and all. Their eyes widened.
“Where the hell do you think you’re going like that?” Carrie asked.
Wrong thing to say. Wrong, wrong thing to say. “Wherever the hell I please.”
“I don’t get it.” Carrie shook her head. “Are you trying to provoke Aunt B? What your life’s too nice and you need some misery?”
I grinned at them. See the teeth? Take note, you’ll see them up close if you’re not careful. “Can I hope you, ladies?”
“Sure,” Carrie said. “You can tell us what the meeting between you and Raphael was about.”
“And why would I do that?”
“Because Aunt B wants to know,” Deb said.
They must’ve tried to listen in, but before Kate got this office, the same Jim who put me on this case had remodeled it. I didn’t know what he put into the walls, but the place was shapeshifter soundpoof.
“Aunt B’s tailing her own son now?” I asked.
“That’s none of your business,” Carrie said. “Look, we can go with Plan A, where we all have a nice chat and go our seperate ways, or we can do plan B, where we have a more vigerous chat and tune you up a bit until you feel like sharing. Either way, Aunt B will get what she wants.”
“How about Plan C?” I asked.
“What plan would that be?” Deb asked.
“The one where you go fuck yourselves.” A snarl crept into my voice. “You come here to my territory and you think you can push me around? Well, come on. Push. See what it will get you.”
“Fuck you, you stupid bitch,” Carrie growled. “You want a lesson, I’ll give you one.”
Carrie’s eyes stared at me, shining with ruby light. She outweighed me by a hundred pounds. She thought the fight was in the bag.
Inside my head, Michelle’s squeaky voice mocked from the depths of my memories, “Hit her again, Candy. Hit that beastkin bitch. She deserves it.”
Carrie charged me. She thundered across the pavement and lunged at me, swiping with her right arm diagonally and down, trying to gash my chest open. I leaned back. Her claws sliced through the air an inch from my chest. I caught her wrist, yanked her massive arm straight and smashed the heel of my hand into the back of her elbow. The cartilage crunched, the joint popped, dislocated, and her arm bent the wrong way, its elbow inside out. Carrie howled and dropped to one knee, her right leg bent, her left almost flat on the ground. I stomped on that weak calf. I sank all the power of my hip and butt muscle into it. Like getting hit with a jackhammer. The leg didn’t stand a chance. Carrie screamed as the bone broke.
Deb bladed her body, standing sideways, trying to present less of a target. Her hands were up, curled into fists.
I took a step, spun and hammered a roundhouse to the back of her thigh. My shin smashed into her leg. Her knee bend, her thigh suddenly powerless. She gasped, dropping her guard, and I turned swinging into the punch, and landed a haymaker to the side of her head.
The blow took her off her feet. She flew, rolling and smashed into the stone wall bordering the parking lot.
That’s right. No shapeshifter would ever beat on my again while I curled into a ball on the ground. Especially not a bouda.
Carrie sprawled facedown on the pavement out cold. The pain must’ve been too much and Lyc-V had shut her down while it made repairs. Deb moaned weakly by the wall. Ascanio still stood by the door, his eyes opened wide, his face glazed over with shock and something suspiciously resembling admiration.
I walked over to Deb, grabbed her hair, and pulled her face up. She stared at me, her eyes terrified.
“Now you listen to me,” I said. “You tell the clan that I’ll come to see Aunt B with I’m damn good and ready. And if I catch any of you at my place of business or near my apartment, you will regret it.”
I let go of her and straightened. “Ascanio! I need that motor running.”
Has: My favourite scene has to be the purple carpet prank which made me laugh out loud and I loved what happened after! 😉
Raphael glanced up. “Did you hear something?”
“No,” Curran said. “Can we come in?”
“Of course.” Raphael wrapped the bow back up.
I switched to the foyer camera. The door swung open. I held my breath. Raphael stepped inside. I tapped the screen, splitting it in two and zooming the right half on his face. Raphael opened his mouth and froze. The entire house was covered in purple ultra- long shag carpet.
It wasn’t just purple, it was bright, vivid, psychotic grapepurple. It made my eyes bleed after a mere five seconds. Medrano Reclamations had pulled miles of it out of some warehouse they reclaimed, and Stefan sold the entire lot to me dirt cheap, because nobody in their right mind would ever buy it. I had covered everything: the floor, the walls, the ceiling.
The elegant couches, the dark rough- wood coffee table, the swords on the wall, the fireplace. I had wrapped the logs in the fireplace. Raphael just stood there and stared, his face a mask of utter shock. Behind him Curran froze in place. Kate put her hand over
her mouth, trying not to laugh. Slowly Raphael walked inside over what once was his pricy
tile and now was just a sea of cushy hideous purple and looked
at the kitchen. The island was a block of carpet. I had wrapped his pots and pans hanging from the frame identical to the one he had installed at my place. I had wrapped the frame. The fridge. The stove. The butcher block, each knife handle wrapped lovingly
in the purple nightmare. “Wow,” Kate said. “I had no idea you liked carpet so much,
“What is it that you wanted to discuss?” Raphael asked, his voice monotone.
“We’ll do it later,” Curran said. “You’re obviously too tired.
Come on, Kate.”
She hesitated. “But . . .”
“We need to go and do that other thing we need to do.” He pulled her away and they went out. The door clicked shut. Slowly, as if in a dream, Raphael opened the carpetsheathed
cabinet. A stack of carpeted plates looked back at him. I didn’t have the time to do absolutely everything, so I had only done the plates. I knew he would open that cabinet.
That’s where he usually went first. Raphael drew his hand over his face.
Slowly the shock drained away from his face. He inhaled
That’s right, darling. Drink me in.
He went back into the living room and checked the windows,
one by one. Slowly, unhurriedly he made his way upstairs to the master suite.
I switched to a different camera. The bed was purple, too. He locked the windows and
walked into the bathroom. The tub was carpet. The toilet was carpet. I had cut carpet into a long strip and threaded it onto the toilet paper holder. He turned and finally noticed a mirror, the lonely spot in the synthetic moss that had sprouted all over his apartment. On it I had written in red lipstick, “Your personal padded room.”
Raphael raised his head and looked up. An evil smile curved his lips. He was almost unbearably handsome. “Andreeaaaa,” he called, his voice seductive and wicked.
MinnChica: Oh man… picking a favorite scene is soooo hard! I absolutely LOVE the scene that Has picked, as that whole scene just killed me. I think I’m going to have to go with this amazing scene of Andrea taking on the beta role with gusto.
Kamal saw me and did a double take. “I thought Lika was coming.”
I gave him my thousand-yard stare. He shifted uncomfortably in place.
“Let’s try this again, from the beginning. You say, ‘Hello, Beta. Thank you for coming all the way here and subjecting yourself and the Clan to public embarrassment because of my stupidity.’ And I don’t break your arms off.”
“Thank you, Beta,” Kamal and Ian chorused.
I looked at Ascanio. He dropped his gaze to the stairs. “I’m sorry.”
“Yes, you are.” I started down the street to the parking lot. The three boudas followed me.
A man shoved the door open behind us. Beefy, in his late forties. His face had a lovely red color that probably meant he was about to blow his gasket. “Hey! Hey you! I want to talk to you!”
I kept walking. “You threw two humans through two different store windows. Enlighten me, what happens when a shapeshifter goes through a sheet of glass?”
“Nothing,” Ian volunteered.
“Stop,” the man snarled. “Stop, God damn it.”
“What happens when a human goes through a sheet of glass?”
Nobody wanted to answer.
“I’ll enlighten you, then: they get bruises, possible broken bones, and multiple lacerations. And because they don’t have the benefit of Lyc-V, their broken bones will take weeks to heal and the lacerations can kill them if the broken glass happens to slice them at the right place. You almost killed them over a bucket of chicken. What in the world were you thinking?”
We turned the corner, hidden from the building by the stone wall.
“We just wanted to intimidate them,” Ascanio said.
The man behind us took the corner at high speed. “You fucking bitch, I said stop!”
The beastkin-crazy Andrea was about to surface, I could feel it.
I looked at him. “Jeff Cooper, I presume?”
“That’s right. You degenerates think you can just come here and push people around.” He stabbed his finger into my chest.
The three boudas went from chastised to baring their teeth in a blink.
“Don’t put your hand on me again,” I said.
He poked his finger into my chest again. “Well, I have something to tell you: don’t let the sun set on you in this county, because…”
I grabbed his wrist and yanked him forward, tripping him with my foot. He went down back first and I caught him by his throat, three feet above the ground, lifted him up a bit and bent down to his face. My eyes glowed with murderous red. My voice turned rough with an animal growl. “Listen well, because I won’t be repeating myself, you racist prick. If you make any trouble for me or my people, I’ll hunt you down like the pig you are and carve a second mouth across your gut. They’ll find you hanging by your own intestines. The next time you hear something laugh and howl in the night, hug your family, because you won’t see the sunrise.”
I opened my fingers. He crashed on the ground, his face white as a sheet. He scrambled backward, rolled to his feet, and took off.
The three shapeshifters stared at me, openmouthed.
“That’s how you intimidate people. No witnesses and not a mark on him. Get your asses to the car.”
– What did you think of Roman’s introduction?
– Did you think Raphael did the appropriate amount of groveling?
– What did you think of Andrea’s way of becoming Aunt B’s beta?
– Did you enjoy seeing Kate and Curran from another perspective? Why/Why not?