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Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

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Gunmetal Magic
Author: Ilona Andrews 
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Publisher: ACE
Kate Daniels #5.5
ISBN: #978-0425256138
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): Paperback (448 pgs*), e-book
*includes novella, Magic Gifts
Book Source: Publisher

About the book:

     After being kicked out of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea’s whole existence is in shambles. All she can do is to try to put herself back together, something made easier by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend Kate Daniels.
     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…and must work with Raphael. As Andrea’s search for the killer leads her into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta, she knows that dealing with her feelings for Raphael might have to take a back seat to saving the world…

What Im talking about:

     Note: although the book is 434 pages, Gunmetal Magic is only 326 pages, and the rest of the book (108 pages) is the novella, “Magic Gifts”, which is told from Kate’s POV and overlaps in time with some of Gunmetal Magic. “Magic Gifts” was offered as a free novella on the authors’ website in December 2011, and our review is HERE.
     When I found out that Ilona Andrews was going to write a book in her Kate Daniels series from the POV of Kate’s best friend, Andrea, I was SOOOOO excited. Andrea and Raphael were my introduction to the Kate Daniels world via the novella, “Magic Mourns” found in the anthology Must Love Hellhounds. I’ve held a soft spot in my heart for the couple since the start, and boy have they had some tough times lately.
     Andrea is a hyena-shifter (bouda), but she had a father that was an animal who turned human, making her a “beastkin.” Most beastkins are killed immediately; however, Andrea was kept around to be tortured for entertainment purposes by her sadistic pack. Once she escaped her clan, she dedicated her life to the Order – protecting mankind from the magic that has taken over the Earth. The only thing – she had to hide her true self, so when the Order discovered Andrea was a shifter, she was “retired.” Andrea went into hiding, and Raphael apparently moved on. Let’s just say the opening of this book not only ripped out my heart, but stomped on it with very large boots.
     If you haven’t read the Kate Daniels series, stop right now… go buy Magic Bites, and you can thank me later. I will say one could pick up Gunmetal Magic without having read the series and enjoy it quite a lot, but the book is so much more because of the well-written, richly detailed series. The fact that this book is told from someone other than Kate’s point of view makes it even easier for new people to pick up the series. However, you would really be doing a disservice to yourself if you didn’t read the entire Kate series from the start. It’s just that incredible.
     Gunmetal Magic has two primary tales to tell. First (and foremost for me) is the story of Andrea and Raphael. They are in a very low place, and the book chronicles their efforts to work through the pain and find a happy place-whether together or alone. Second, the book outlines a mystery to be solved. Raphael’s reclamation company is working a building when four shifters are killed. Pack security hires Andrea to find out what happened. Unfortunately, the murders appear to be related to some deadly supernatural beings no one has seen before – and someone will stop for nothing to possess Andrea.
     Once again, I find that the writing team of Ilona Andrews has created a story full of of wit, sarcasm, action, friendship, love, and put it all together with amazing detail and description. Yet the weight of the world-building details never bogs down the plot. The flow of the story is seamless; each scene building upon the last. Their ability to create such a richly detailed world will draw you in and not let go.
     Did I mention the humor? There are so many places where I found myself chuckling. One perfect example is this exchange between best friends, Kate and Andrea:

Kate smirked.

“What?”

“Your horse looks pink.”

“So?”

“If you paste some stars on her butt, you’ll be riding My Little Pony.”

“Bugger off.” I patted the mare’s neck. “Don’t listen to her, Sugar. You are the cutest horsey ever. The correct name for her color is strawberry roan, by the way.”

“Strawberry shortcake, more like it. Does Strawberry Shortcake know you stole her horse? She will be berry, berry angry with you.”

I looked at her from under half-lowered eyelids. “I can shoot you right here, on this road, and nobody will ever find your body.”

     At the heart of this book is the story of Andrea and Raphael. Forced to work together after things have fallen apart, their love story is woven into the plot and around the murder mystery perfectly. Andrea is hurting beyond words, and her pain reaches the depths of my soul, causing more than a few tears during the book. She is tough and struggles to find her place in her new, post-Order world. Her fierceness is incredible, and she rivals Kate for the best “kiss-a$$ chick.”  I don’t want to give any spoilers, but let’s just say that both Andrea and Raphael make both good and poor choices during the story. I love that the writers push you right to the emotional edge, but then make it better. There are so many paths their story could have played out, and the writers chose not to use overplayed cliches and plot devices.
     For long-time fans of the series, Kate, Curran, Doolittle, Jim, Aunt B and others all play rolls in this book. By far, my favorite side character is Roman, the black volhv (think dark priest with magical abilities.) Roman was first introduced in Magic Slays when the Pack needed to disarm an anti-magic bomb. His humor is the ideal contrast to the severity of the situation. I hope to see more of Roman in upcoming novels.
     Gunmetal Magic is an amazing story and wonderful addition to the Kate Daniels series. Andrea and Raphael go through so much and just when you want to scream, kick and cry, the world turns out okay. But the things that happen are not contrived. Every detail, whether painful or joyous, is honest and exciting. The book takes you to highs and lows. It is pretty perfect in that way. The story flowed and action never stopped. It rocked my emotions and warmed my heart.

My Rating:

 
Personal favorite – a must read (A+)
and Gunmetal Magic is one of…

Purchase Info:

Gunmetal Magic: Kate Daniels 5.5

Books/Reviews in the Series:

Magic Bites
Magic Burns
Magic Strikes
“Magic Mourns”
Magic Bleeds 
“Magic Dreams” 
Magic Slays 
“Magic Gifts” 
 
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08952103323793072580 A Buckeye Girl Reads

    I can’t wait to read this! My ARC still hasn’t arrived yet. Glad to know it’s just as good as the others.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05164981880837468084 Mandi

    Can’t wait for this one!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11003577248851216902 Una

    I so cannot wait to read this. Ilona Andrews is one of my top 3 must read authors!?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17535658390713138582 Emily

    I remember reading the office scene on the author’s blog way back when and just sitting and staring at the screen thinking, oh snap! I think I went and pre-ordered the book that day and now I can’t wait to read it when it comes out. It’ll be a good reward for the end of summer school, which for me is next week!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02789467424686649946 Julie

    OMG your review is amazing! I adored this book too. :)

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