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Review: Magic Slays

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Magic Slays
Author: Ilona Andrews
Release Date: May 31, 2011
Publisher: Ace
Kate Daniels Book #5
ISBN: #978-0441020423
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): paperback (320 pgs), e-book
I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review.

From the author’s website:

     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 . . .

What I’m talking about:

     The fifth Kate Daniels book opens with Kate and Curran in post-mating bliss, being as domestic as one of the most powerful magic wielders and the Beast Lord of Atlanta can be. Taking place shortly after the end of the fourth story, Magic Bleeds (review HERE), we find Kate trying to make a go of her new business. Kate’s best friend Andrea comes home (she took off after the climax of the fourth book), and her “ward” Julie has run away from school, again. Kate is learning her place as the alpha female and Curran’s consort, and things seem to be going okay. And that’s about as calm as it gets in this book. Right away, things go crazy. It starts with a renegade vampire that threatens innocents and doesn’t slow down until you close the book after the last page.
     WOW – I cannot tell you how much I LOVE this series! Each book just gets better than the last. And I want to stress to you that if you have not picked up the Kate Daniels Series, you really need to add it to your TBR list – at the very top and do not start with this book, please! So this review may entice those that haven’t read the series to start it, but it really will be more relevant to those that have read the series.
     First off I want to comment that Magic Slays is a well-written, intricately woven story. I found a shift in the author’s writing – it has matured right along with the main character, Kate. The plotline is tighter and smoother than the prior stories. The primary plot line – an anti-magic “bomb” is being built in the city and could kill hundreds – is not lost among numerous, confusing side stories. Each deviation from the primary focus adds something to the overall movement of the story and there were no “dead end” plot lines that muddied the waters.
     And speaking of maturing… Kate and Curran are mated and moving forward with their lives together, and it was such a joy to read about in this story. Although this book is classified as Urban Fantasy… let’s face it – the primary couple is the heart of the books and what keeps me coming back for more. The authors do a fabulous job moving Kate and Curran past the first kiss and towards their “HEA.” The development of their relationship flows so naturally in this story: they kiss, they spar, they talk, they fight, they laugh, they cry and they love. They don’t always see eye-to-eye, but they move past it. Simply stated, their relationship is well-written and fabulous to read. Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book; a perfect example of how much Kate has grown:

I took a deep breath and tried to exhale my worry. Too late for warnings now. I was Curran’s mate and the female alpha of the Pack. The welfare of fifteen hundred shapeshifters was now my responsibility. Whatever storm was brewing in Atlanta, I’d find it and fight it. If it was the price of being with Curran, then I would pay it.

He was worth it.

     Kate is an amazingly complex character. Once again, I cannot understate the wonderful job the authors have done allowing Kate to mature over time. As a reader of the series, I can appreciate the changes in her thought process and emotional well-being. She has learned to embrace friendships and love, even after learning some disturbing news about her parents.
     I enjoyed the news twists tossed our way in Magic Slays, including the changes to Julie, the revelations about Kate’s heritage and parents. The overall story arc that is leading to a showdown with Roland stayed on tract. I also enjoy that Kate realizes she must train and learn to use her magic – even the darker side – so that she can stand against Roland one day.
     I really don’t have much to say in terms of a “down side” to the story. The climax was a little quick, but everything was resolved in a meaningful fashion and nothing was swept under the rug. I was a little dismayed at how quick Kate was to believe the news about her parents, but then when I thought about it… that is how Kate would respond. I was also a bit frustrated (and sad) that Andrea and Raphel did not confront one another about everything happening between them.
     Magic Slays is a wonderful book. The plot is emotionally fulfilling, with great highs and lows. The character development is superb – especially over the course of the five Kate Daniel books. This series is a must read and this book is the best one yet.
My Rating:
 
Personal favorite – a must read (A+)
 
     Note: this rating is based on reading the series and not as a stand-alone book. If you haven’t picked up the Kate Daniel books – do so… NOW. For more info on the series books please go HERE.

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