Monday, July 4, 2011

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, Book 1)It took me a long time to track down this series of books. I found the 2nd one in the series first, at the Friends of the Library bookstore, then a couple of months later, in the same place, found the 3rd, so when I was at Hastings last week I broke down and bought a copy of the first one - brand spanking new, so I could get started reading them finally.

This series falls into that rather tired sub-genre of urban fantasy; tough chick beats up on supernatural monsters (as opposed to cynical alpha male beats up on supernatural monsters). Hamilton, I think, started it with her Anita Blake series, followed by a whole host of imitators, of various competencies and calibers. Andrews, however, brings what seems to me to be a little fresher viewpoint to the whole sordid affair.

One positive thing, which may disappoint some folks, is that she manages to avoid the obligatory sado-masochistic orgiastic sex scenes every fifty pages. She also has a little different take on shapeshifters and vampires; the shapeshifters of all varieties in Atlanta band together for support and protection, aside from those who are merely vicious blood-crazed loup garoux (that should be an x for the plural, right?), and the vampires are actually mindless undead automatons, controlled by humans and other beings with necromantic powers. The world Kate Daniels lives in also suffers from waves of magic that sweep through the city at random, causing technology to fail for a time, while magic gains in power, though it is always lurking somewhere in the background, for those who know how to manipulate its energies.

Kate is a mercenary, a bounty hunter for hire to dispose of any magical predators or nuisances. She had formerly apprenticed with the Order, a band of magical knights who are all powerful magic users, but had some problems with authority, and left their tutelage to free lance. One of the members of the Order was her god parent, Greg, and when he is murdered by creatures unknown, she decides she must find the culprit herself. For some unknown reason, the local head of the Order agrees, and gives her their support and endorsement.

One great little bit of conversation between the knight-protector:
"You know anything about investigative work?"
"Sure. Annoy the people involved until the guilty party tries to make you go away."
Sounds just like most of the supernatural PIs I've enjoyed.

And later, when she's talking to the king of the shapeshifters, Curran:
"What happened to the alpha wolf?"
"Legos?" It sounded Greek but I couldn't recall anything mythological with that name. Wasn't it an island?
"He was carrying a load of laundry into the basement and tripped on the old set of LEGOs his kids left on the stairs. Broke two ribs and an ankle."

So, Kate must learn to work with the shapeshifter pack, the vampire navigators, and the knights of the order in order to collar the killer. The whole book works quite nicely as a setup for the series, laying out the major players, Kate's enemies and allies, and setting the scene in the magical version of Atlanta. Fun stuff, and I hope her writing continues at this level for a long time.

1 comment:

Blood Rose Books said...

I'm Glad that you were able to find this series. It is one of my favourites. You dont have to worry the writing and stories stay great and it does not become the sex scenes every 50 pages (and 50 pages long), like Hamilton's did(Thank God)