Magic Bleeds

Magic Bleeds - Ilona Andrews Originally posted at Smokin Hot Books
5 Things I love About The Kate Daniels Series:

1) Kate’s weapon specialty is the sword. She has her own magical sword and it’s named … Slayer. She can do crazy awesome things with it and she has to feed it blood. I don’t know about you but that is hands-down Awesomesauce in my book.

2) The most treacherous and sinister neighborhood where bad things go down is called Unicorn Lane. A terrifying place with Unicorn in the name? YES, PLEASE!

3) Vampires are so not sexy, they are nude and hairless freaky looking creatures who are actually controlled by necromancers. That removes vampires from the dating pool (well, it should!!), which is a nice refreshing change from other popular series out there.

4) There are shapechangers in this series that actually shift, and it can be quite gross to witness. They don’t go “*POOF* TaDa! I’m a lynx!” They physically change from human to beast with all the pains, noises and muscle & bone movements to go along with it. Kewwwwl.

5) Curran, the Beast Lord (and also Kate’s love interest), commands a force of three hundred thirty-seven shapechangers in their city of Atlanta alone and has yet to meet anyone who can kick his ass. He is also a hugungous Lion. And his chemistry with Kate goes BOOM!

My friend K.C. here at Smokin’ Hot Books told me that I had. had. had to read this series, and I am so happy that I listened to her. I picked up Magic Bites, Magic Burns, and Magic Strikes about three weeks prior to the release of Magic Bleeds, and I was HOOKED from book 1. True to a majority of Urban Fantasy series, the novels are told from Kate Daniels’ point of view and she is the ultimate Urban Fantasy Heroine. If you are an Urban Fantasy fan, this is THE series you cannot miss.

In Magic Bleeds, the fourth book in the Kate Daniels series, we pick up with Kate working for the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid. She is in a new position as a liaison with the mercenary guild, but pretty much busts her butt cleaning up the town when things go wonky with paranormal activity. Which is pretty much all the time. Our girl does not get much sleep. Ever. To kick off this tale, Kate is called to clean up a very nasty mess of a plague at a bar in the territory between necromancers and shapechangers. She learns that she may very well have met her match in someone she can call Auntie, including Auntie’s crew of nasty demons.

Saying this is one of my most favorite books of 2010 is pretty bold, so here is why I can say this with absolute confidence. It’s been quite a journey with Kate so far. We’ve watched when Kate first met most of the characters in this series who all play a significant role in her life now. We’ve watched as she first met Curran and called out “Here kitty kitty kitty” to him, much to his chagrin. We were there when she first met Derek, her utterly endearing occasional side-kick, as well as the alpha pack leaders such as Doolittle and Aunt B. Her friends she knew when the series started such as Saiman (part Norse god), Jim (were-leopard and fellow Merc), Andrea (hyena beastkin and fellow Order member)… they all shape this series and lend such fantastic support to Kate as well as the story overall. Because of this, they feel like old friends to me, no matter what krazy krap they pull. Ilona Andrews writes the characters in such a realistic way that you feel they remind you of someone you already know, or someone you want to know. Their dialog and comradery with Kate and with one another simply pulls you in and doesn’t let go.

The chemistry between Kate and Curran is what has also kept a lot of us coming back. Kate and Curran have gone toe-to-toe with one another each and every interaction they’ve had in the past three books. They just cannot resist one another and the attraction comes alive on the pages as you are reading. The way they show their affection for one another and the gestures they take become downright laugh out loud hysterical. By the time we get to Magic Bleeds, the growing tension between the two is ramped up so high you are practically cheering out loud by the time they do seal the deal. But of course, they still have a lot of things to work through, and they are tasked with a huge test on commitment towards the end of the story. The point, however, is made crystal clear that they have both accepted to work with each other as a Team and take on anyone who dares challenge them individually or their union.

Just take a look at one of many of my favorite interactions between Kate and Curran from the book:

“He leaned his head to me, his neck so close to my lips, I felt the heat coming off his skin. His breath was warm against my ear. His voice was a ragged snarl. “I miss you.”

This wasn’t happening.

“I worry about you.” He dipped his head and looked into my eyes. “I worry something stupid will happen and I won’t be there and you’ll be gone. I worry we won’t ever get a chance and it’s driving me out of my skull.”

No,no,no,no………

We stared at each other. The tiny space between us felt too hot. Muscles bulged on his naked frame. He looked feral.

Mad gold eyes stared into mine. “Do you miss me, Kate?”

I closed my eyes trying to shut him out. I could lie then we would be back to square one. Nothing would be resolved. I’d still be alone,hating him and wanting him.

He grabbed my shoulders and shook me once. “Do you miss me?”

I took the plunge. “Yes.”

Ilona Andrews’ world building in Magic Bleeds is nothing short of phenomenal. There is a heavy dose of raw dark grittyness instilled in this series and more specifically this novel. The neighborhoods and establishments of Atlanta are filled with shady characters and sketchy activities, described so vividly. Most creatures we meet are magical in some way, there is no time for regular boring humans here. You are immersed in a world you have no familiarity with, which is incredibly descriptive and imaginative. There is violence and gore, fighting and discord, and nothing is sugar-coated. Add all this together with Kate’s down-to-earth personality, hilarious wit, and huge sense of loyalty and this book is pure gold.

Is Kate Daniels someone I want to meet? No. When I grow up, I want to BE Kate Daniels. Sword and all.