Author: Ilona Andrews (click author's name to go to their website)
Publisher: Ace Fantasy
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Friday Coffee Chat, we discussed whether we judge a book by its cover. Well, I have to admit that I judged Magic Bites by its cover. When I received it, I wasn't interested in reading it at all, but after hearing some really good things about it I was more excited to give it a try. I was not disappointed. This book is fantastic!
Kate Daniels is a member of the Mercenary Guild. Mercenaries are called in to deal with situations involving magic that the police either can't or won't handle. When Kate's guardian, Greg is found dead, Kate sets off on a mission to find out what happened. She finds a case of strange killings Greg has been working on, and it leads her to the necromancers who control vampires and The Pack, a group of shapeshifters.
Urban fantasy can be hit or miss with me. Magic Bites was definitely a hit. The story was never boring and kept me entertained the entire time. It reads like a thriller with some magic, vampires, and shapeshifters thrown in. The necromancers and The Pack are both suspected in the killings Kate's guardian was investigating, and it is left up to her to figure out who is responsible before all hell breaks loose between the two groups. Some people might be burned out on vampires and werewolves, but I assure you...these are more your standard fare than those of the sparkling, buff teenage variety. They are menacing. I found myself thinking that Kate was in danger throughout most of the book and had that "edge of my seat" feeling throughout the entire read.
It only took the first few lines of the book for Kate Daniels to become one of my favorite female characters. The story opens with her drinking Boone's Hard Lemonade and watching television...and she drinks Boone's not because she's poor but by choice! Who does that?!! Only someone who is very secure with themselves and VERY cool. When I read those first few pages I immediately knew that this book would be more like reading The Dresden Files than reading a romance-y girlie urban fantasy book. Kate seems more down on her luck in the romance department and can definitely handle herself in a fight. I happen to love female protagonists that aren't all bosoms and eyelash batters. Call it the feminist in me, but I like it when writers make women capable of more than seducing a man. Kate Daniels fits that profile for me, and I want to read more of her story!
For those of you that like a little hint of romance, there's definitely some romantic tension, and the series seems to hint at that being a part of the story arc in the coming books (which I will most likely be picking up soon). My hope is that they continue to focus on Kate Daniels being a hardened merc with a little bit of a soft side.
The only thing that left me wanting in the book is that I wish there was a little more world building on the part of the neuromancers and The Pack. Since the books are relatively short, that might come later in the series. Overall I thought the book was fun and quick. If you're an urban fantasy fan, like women who can kick booty, or even want to delve into urban fantasy, I highly recommend Magic Bites. It's definitely a good way to spend a lazy Saturday!
*Notice of disclosure: I received this book for review from Penguin Books.