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Romance and other things

SPOILER ALERT!

Move along nothing but gushing review to see here :-)

Magic Shifts  - Ilona Andrews

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. Eduardo was a fellow member of the Mercenary Guild, so Kate knows the best place to start looking is his most recent jobs. As Kate and Curran dig further into the merc’s business, they discover that the Guild has gone to hell and that Eduardo’s 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.

SOME SPOILERS FROM THE PREVIOUS BOOKS BEWARE.

 

Review.

Dear Ilona Andrews,

I love these series, but I never reviewed Kate Daniels book at DA. This is eighth book in the series, so you cannot start reading from this book. You just can’t. You will miss *a lot*. My review will make couple of references to the events of the previous books – it is impossible not to, but really blurb tells you the main spoiler of the previous book anyway.

The confrontation with Kate’s Daddy Dearest at the end of book seven ended up with Kate and Curran leaving the positions of Beast Lord and Consort and separating from the pack. Technically they cannot even visit the pack for 90 days in order not to influence anybody who may want to leave the pack as part of their “separation staff” and I believe there is a month or so left of this period when this book begins. I think it was very wise of the writers to come up with “separation staff” idea, because while I love Kate and Curran very much, I cannot imagine these books without Derrick, Andrea, Jim, Barrabas and several other people anymore. Thank goodness that their friends who did not leave with them would still remain their friends as this book made clear, but I definitely missed the Pack much more than I thought I would be. Do not get me wrong, I absolutely understand and appreciate why the writers took Kate and Curran and gave their lives somewhat new direction. This book overall read to me as an interlude before last (hopefully!) big arc in the series which will be taking place in books nine and ten. Oh there was a villain and scary villain, but overall the book definitely left me with less intense feeling than the last one – probably because Kate’s fight with her father, which is supposedly a main conflict of the series did not receive any new developments (dinner does not count ;)). It is also possible that I was not as worried while I was reading this book because person they were trying to save was a character I did not really know or had emotional attachment to. I was worried for George sure; I did not want her to be devastated, but Eduardo himself? So far he had such a tiny role in the books that I do not think I would have been too upset if the mission of this book would fail.

I am not offering this as a criticism. As I said before I think the book was an interlude and I appreciate that the writers gave readers a chance to catch a breath in this book. Although “catching a breath” is a matter of degree of course – lives are in danger, Kate gets a serious injury – business as usual in a way.

I really appreciate that Kate did not lost her sense of humor. I smiled and laughed many times throughout a book. Humor is such a subjective thing, but Andrews’ humor works for me pretty much all the time in this series. Before Kate and Curran learn about Eduardo’s disappearance and decide to take on the case, they needed to defeat some ghouls (don’t ask!). Usually conversations with your opponent before you actually decide you may want to start the fight make me roll my eyes, but here it all made sense, because Kate does not just chit chatting with them, she at first even tries to get them to leave, but then she is distracting them in order to prepare her weapon of choice and give Curran a chance to attack *and* she is funny.

“This is your last night. These are the last breaths you will take. I will kill every one of you.”

The leader ghoul snarled, dropping all pretense. “You and what army?”

I began pulling magic to me. This would hurt. This always hurt. “That’s the great thing about werelions. You don’t need an army. You just need one.”

The ghoul twisted his face.

“You’re not a werelion, meat”

“I’m not.” I nodded behind them. “He is.”

The leader ghoul spun around.”

The readers of the series know that while the echoes of certain mythologies (like Russian and couple others for example) show up in the books quite often, several books have focused on specific mythos from very different origins. The writers incorporate it in the story very well, and this book is no exception, but I do not want to tell you which mythology plays a major role here, because this may give you a hint about the villain of the story.

I always love Kate and Curran’s developing relationship. I cannot give it enough praise. I love that they made me like an Alpha hero (because to say that I usually don’t will be a huge understatement), I love that they are constantly growing and become more and more attuned to each other with every book. They love each other’s best parts, but they also seem to know each other’s flaws and more importantly learn to deal with it without being silly about it. I have read reviews which stated that when Kate and Curran finally got together they became boring and I just disagree, because yes, they do not do as much of hilarious bickering which they did when they were dating (if one can call their courtship “dating” J), but they are still dealing with the matters of life and death on the regular basis and they both have very strong personalities and they do clash sometimes, but more often than not they know that they love each other and they need to accept each other’s quirks and deal with what life keeps throwing at them.

I always loved Kate holding her own to Curran when he is issuing directives (even when he has the best intentions in mind), like she does here for example:

“Fine. I’ll stay here with this thing, and you will drive herself to the hospital.”

“No.”

He hit me with the alpha stare.

I opened my eyes as wide as I could.

“Why, of course, Your Majesty. What was I thinking? I will go and do this right away, just please don’t look at me.”

“Kate, get in the car.”

“Maybe you should growl dramatically. I don’t think I’m intimidated enough.”

“I will put you in the car.”

“No, you won’t.”

***

“He snarled. “Argh! Why don’t you ever do anything I ask you to?”

“Because you don’t ask. You tell me.”

We glared at each other.”

But then there is a time later in the book where Kate realizes that Curran was being justifiably upset with her for rushing into another fight when he specifically asked her not to do “one thing” and she apologizes because she saw how much toll her previous injury took on him . These two just exhibit so much of real couple behavior to me.

I think that one of the big reasons why I love these books so much is because I have no idea what is going to happen at the end. Actually let me scratch that, authors hinted very strongly that they are not so edgy as to kill Kate and Curran at the end (I am pretty sure they actually came out and said that, but how “Kate versus Roland” will be resolved I have no idea. I surely hope for not “Star Wars” like resolution but one never knows.

Grade A-