Thursday, September 12, 2013

Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

Kate and Curran's pack, as well as the rest of the lycanthropes in the world, must deal with the hazard of its children going "loup", losing control of their shapeshifting and becoming little more than ravening monsters. Some of them do it at birth, while others face the crisis in adolescence, and it is heartbreaking for the parents and family to watch a child being put down for the safety of the pack. There is, however, a cure called panacea (how appropriate), a chemical and magical concoction that cures "loupism". The formula is secret, and the compound expensive and difficult to obtain from those who manufacture it. In Magic Rises, Kate and Curran and some of the best and brightest of the pack journey to the Carpathians in Europe for the opportunity to earn two barrels of panacea.

How much of this story is about advancing the overall plot arc and how much is about exploring more of the world than that portion of it which we have seen in the earlier Kate Daniels books is up for grabs, but we get the opportunity to see Kate & Co. encounter sea monsters and were-dolphins, so it can't be all bad, right?

It turns out that the entire trip is the result of a ruse designed by Roland's warlord, Hugh d'Ambray, in order to bring Kate to Europe, so he can implement his own agenda. Kate and her pack spend two thirds of the novel trying to discover his game plan.

There appear to be some events in this novel which are definitely setting up Kate's eventual rumble with Daddy. First, Kate's soft heartedness rescues a man whom Hugh has hung in a cage to die slowly, and I surmise that he may be key to providing Kate with access to books of magic which will allow her to learn more words of power sometime in the near future. Second, Kate encounters an ally overseas who is actually more powerful than Roland, though the power may be geographically localized - can't hurt to have powerful friends, can it? Third, Kate stumbles into the method for creating the blood armor that we recall from her earlier conflict with her aunt, Erra. Definitely comes in handy.

Kate also may have come to some emotional revelations in Magic Rises. I think she and Curran fully realize their love for and commmitment to one another, and both of them vow not to run away from that commitment when the final battle with Roland takes place. She also begins to understand, through some key conversations with pack members, that despite her "humanity" she is truly part of the pack and will be defended by them to the end. Contrast this with what is likely in Roland's case; that he is served only by those who fear him.

Transitional story? Perhaps. We'll need to see the next Kate Daniels book to be sure.

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