Books : reviews

Ilona Andrews.
On the Edge.
Ace. 2009

rating : 5 : waste of time
review : 6 April 2010

Rose Drayton lives in the Edge, a between-place, separating the worlds of the magic-free "Broken" and the magic-full "Weird". Abandoned by her family, she is bringing up her younger brothers, making ends meet by working as a minimum-wage office cleaner in the Broken. But she has a valuable power, being able to "flash" white, which makes her potential breeding stock from the bluebloods in the Weird. So when Earl Declan Camarine turns up, she is naturally hostile. But then a powerful evil seems into the Edge, and she and Declan must work together to defeat it.

This is a standard fairy tale / romance tale (no prizes for guessing how it ends) with some mildly interesting set-up of the "Edge", a place where outcasts and non-people struggle to make a living, belonging neither to the Broken nor to the Weird. There are some good set pieces, but it soon becomes all too predictable, and Rose caves in much too quickly. Also, the name of the Power, "flashing", leads to some unintentionally hilarious sentences nearly every time it's used (maybe the word doesn't mean the same thing on the other side of the pond?)

Ilona Andrews.
Magic Bites.
Ace. 2007

rating : 4.5 : passes the time
review : 19 April 2008

In a near future world where technology is constantly disrupted by flares of magic, Kate Daniels is a magic mercenary for hire, cleaning up people's magic problems. When her guardian is murdered, she insists on investigating, and discovers that someone seems to be attempting to stir up a war between the shapeshifters' Pack, and the vampire-controlling Masters of the Dead. And Kate has her own secret brand of magic to conceal.

It's an interesting world, with the decay of technology all around. Kate's investigative technique is, as she puts it, to annoy enough people until the murderer tries to kill you. Actually, she eventually annoys people enough that they all want to kill her, which makes it hard for her to spot the bad guy. It takes a while to get going, but once the slam-bang action takes off, there are bodies flying in all directions. Good mind candy.

Ilona Andrews.
Magic Burns.
Ace. 2008

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 18 May 2008

Magic mercenary Kate Daniels is back, in even bigger trouble that before. Ever-stronger magic flares are allowing more powerful creatures to manifest, and people start calling in old debts. Pretty soon she finds herself guardian of a young girl being hunted by the minions of a minor Celtic deity, whilst simultaneously being plagued by the hero companion of another minor deity.

This sequel is better than the first, in that the action starts straight away, and essentially never lets up. There are also some extremely weird characters and situations (what's with that tortoise?), lots of great slug-fest, and some interesting character developments. Kate's life is getting quickly more complicated.

Ilona Andrews.
Magic Strikes.
Ace. 2009

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 9 August 2009

Kate Daniels is back in the fray. Her werewolf friend Derek is left half-dead by the Reapers, a group of dangerous pit-fighters, as a message to the local Pack. She and her werepanther friend Jim are hiding this fact from the pack leader Curran, and she's not sure which is more dangerous, the reapers or Curran. But she's about to find out that the real danger lies in her past, which is about to catch up with her.

Another load of slam-bang action with some good set-piece fights (although a few of them do seem to be a bit too easy for the good guys), with a few great scenes in between. I particularly enjoyed the part where Kate goes to pick up her adopted niece Julie from her school in a way that will give Julie's bullying tormentors something to think about. So, great action, and we get to see more of Kate's past, and how that's going to be a real problem for her soon...

Ilona Andrews.
Magic Bleeds.
Ace. 2010

Ilona Andrews.
Magic Slays.
Ace. 2011

Ilona Andrews.
Magic Rises.
Ace. 2013

Ilona Andrews.
Magic Breaks.
Ace. 2014

As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, but she must now deal with the affairs of the Pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel, ancient being with godlike powers.

As Roland s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend a gathering of leaders from Atlanta’s supernatural factions. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered by a shapeshifter, Kate is given less than twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war that could destroy everything she holds dear…

Ilona Andrews.
Magic Shifts.
Ace. 2015

Magic is coming and going in waves in post-Shift Atlanta—and each crest leaves danger in its wake…

After breaking from life with the Pack, mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate—former Beast Lord Curran Lennart—are adjusting to a very different pace. While they’re thrilled to escape all the infighting, Kate and Curran know that separating from the Pack completely is a process that will take time.

But when they learn that their friend Eduardo has gone missing, Kate and Curran shift their focus to investigate his disappearance. As they dig further into the merc’s business, they discover that the Mercenary Guild has gone to hell and that Eduardo’s recent assignments are connected in the most sinister way…

An ancient enemy has arisen, and Kate and Curran are the only ones who can stop it—before it takes their city apart piece by piece.