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I Belong

Review: Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews

Magic Burns (#2) by Ilona AndrewsTitle: Magic Burns

Author: Ilona Andrews

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Kate Daniels (Book 2)

Publication Date: April 1, 2008

Format: Paperback, 260 Pages

ISBN-10: 0441015832 (Penguin/Ace)

ISBN-13: 978-0441015832 (Penguin/Ace)

Reviewed by: Sheila


Down in Atlanta, tempers — and temperatures — are about to flare…

As a mercenary who cleans up after magic gone wrong, Kate Daniels has seen her share of occupational hazards. Normally, waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide. But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant. Now Kate’s going to have to deal with problems on a much bigger scale: a divine one.

When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta’s paramilitary clan of shapeshifters, she quickly realizes much more at stake. During a flare, gods and goddesses can manifest — and battle for power. The stolen maps are only the opening gambit in an epic tug-of-war between two gods hoping for rebirth. And if Kate can’t stop the cataclysmic showdown, the city may not survive…

Quick & Dirty: Sassy Merc attempts to stop a Celtic god from entering her world and destroying everything.

Opening SentenceThe phone rang in the middle of the night.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Magic Burns, the sequel to the debut series by Ilona Andrews, finds our heroine, Kate Daniels, in a fight against a god.  If that doesn’t pique your interest, I’m not sure what will.  Kate is a mercenary that has been hiding her magical heritage for all of her life.  She has always flown under the radar, up until the point her guardian was found murdered.  Now, she is on a first name basis with some of the most powerful factions in Atlanta.  With all that’s going on, how much longer can Kate’s past stay hidden?  The latest case has Kate taking care of a teenage girl while searching for her missing mother all while keeping the girl safe during  a dangerous time; a magic Flare. Kate’s world is Post-Shift: A world where technology and magic are at odds with one another, both fighting for dominance on our plane.  A flare is when magic reigns supreme and things that seem impossible can exist; like a god coming to life.

Kate’s new job is working as a liaison between the Mercenary Guild and the Knights of Merciful Aid.  Not a bad job and there is steady pay.  The downside is that she no longer has the option of staying on the side lines when something big goes down.  That, and her Friend of the Pack status puts her into contact with the one man (lion) that confuses her on a multitude of levels; The Beast Lord, Curran.  This shift in job responsibilities is a new one for Kate.  She has been taught her whole life to count on no one but herself.  Now, she is opening up to the idea of making friends and allies.  Is this going to be the salvation or damnation of Kate in the future?

Kate’s emotional growth is also in evidence.  Her whole purpose in life to this point has been simple; hide and get stronger so that one day she can kill her biological father, the infamous Roland.  She puts her mission in life at risk by helping out one teenage girl.  Julie marks a change in Kate’s life.  No longer is she alone, she now has another person dependent on her.  It not only changes how Kate acts, but also how she fights and strategizes.  I appreciate this change in logic.  As a parent with dependents, you must think things through from an entirely different perspective.  No longer can your actions be haphazard, for what will happen to the people whose very lives depend on you if something bad happens.  This new idea also seems to affect how Kate is now seeing relationships in general.  Julie has given her a great gift; Kate now has opened up her heart for not only friendship, but also love.

This book presents two possible love interests for Kate: Bran the hero, and Curran the Beast Lord of Atlanta.  Bran is the Hound of the Celtic God, Morrigan.  His life is tied to hers and he does her bidding.  So when Morrigan’s godly rival tries to find a way onto the human plane, Bran is there to help prevent it.  Of course, the man is a complete brute.  He fights and he screws, there is no sugar coating it.  His interaction with Kate consists of him stealing a set of maps that she keeps trying to get back.  He also tries very hard to bed her, which naturally pisses her off.  Bran’s interest is superficial but honest.  He has no interest in Kate other than she is hot and readily available.

Curran, on the other hand, is also interested but shows it in very odd ways.  The two of them don’t really get along: He is used to being in control and she fights all authority.  But the sexual tension between them is truly intense.  Though Kate may not understand what Curran is playing at with her, she does trust him to a certain degree, unlike Bran.  By comparing the two of the guys side by side, Kate can see what she really is looking for in a partner.  Bottom line; what is really most important to her?  When they all team up to take down Morphran, which man can she count on the most?  Will she even rely on either to get the job done, or will she be forced to fight the god alone?  If she fails, who will take care of Julie?

This is a much more elegantly written book than the first one.  Not only has Kate’s character developed much more depth, the whole book flows more smoothly.  Kate’s world is as fantastic as it is deadly.  I look forward to seeing more of what Kate Daniels brings to the table in the future.

Notable Scene:

I stood to the side and watched the bar rise and fall.  Curran wore an old, torn T-shirt, and I could see his muscles pump under the fabric.

“How much are you lifting?”

“Seven hundred.”

Alrighty then.  I will just stand over here, out of your way, and hope you don’t remember my promise to kick your ass.

He grinned.  “Wanna spot me?”

“No thanks.  How about I just scream verbal encouragements at you?”  I took a deep breath and barked.  “No pain, no gain!  That pain is just weakness leaving your body!  Come on!  Push!  Push!  Make that weight your bitch!”

He cracked up.  The weight stopped perilously close to his chest, while he shook with laughter.  I stepped up and grabbed the bar.  It put me into an incredibly compromising position, since his head was really close to my thighs and the area directly above them, but I didn’t want to explain to a rabid Pack how I was responsible for the Beast Lord crushing his chest with a weight bar.

The Kate Daniels Series:

1. Magic Bites

2. Magic Burns

3. Magic Strikes

4. Magic Bleeds

5. Magic Slays

5.5 Gunmetal Magic

FTC Advisory: Penguin/Ace graciously provided me with a copy of Magic Burns.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  The only payments I receive are hugs and kisses from my little boys.

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