Book Review: Magic Shifts by Ilona AndrewsMagic Shifts by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #8
Published by Ace Books on August 4, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
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five-stars
In the latest Kate Daniels novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews, magic is coming and going in waves in post-Shift Atlanta—and each crest leaves danger in its wake…

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.

It’s hard to believe that a year ago, I had never read a Kate Daniels book because I am officially a full-on fan of this series, complete with hearts in my eyes and money ready to spring out of my pockets (or rather my credit card) the moment a new volume from hubby-and-wife author team Ilona Andrews is out. And the latest book in the series, Magic Shifts (Book 8) only cements this deep and abiding love for this urban fantasy series.

First off, if you’re only coming into the series now, it won’t be so bad if you start off with this book. You’ll eventually want to backtrack to book 1, but if you just randomly picked this book up, you would be able to follow along without going, “Wait, what?” every couple of chapters or so.

That said, having read all the previous novels in this series, I fully expected this to be a calm-after-the-storm installment. I’ve read my fair share of fantasy book series, and usually when a seismic shift in the main characters’ world occurs the way it did in Book 7, Magic Breaks, the following novel is one that allows the characters to find their equilibrium given the new order of things. Some people call it a “filler” novel in a book series, but I’ve learned to appreciate the value of falling action when there are multi-book plot lines to follow. This book maybe lets you settle for a couple of chapters before the action and intrigue start ramping up again and suddenly nasty things are flying and the main characters are in full-on battle mode.

No rest for the weary, I see.

There are many things to love about this novel, but one thing I really appreciated was the way the authors delved into mythology that isn’t featured quite as often as it should be—namely, Arabic mythology and folklore. Which is about the extent of the spoiler I’m going to try to give as far as the story goes. While Greek, Roman, Norse, and other Western mythological creatures and magics are so often featured in fantasy, I love that the Ilona Andrews team brings to ass-kicking life a lot of the myths from the Middle East, and it is never more evident as in this novel.

Apart from that, there’s the way the whole story, its mystery and action, builds. You begin with what seems like a standard missing person case, something you’d figure our heroes—Kate with her sick, slick sword skills and barely understood magic and Curran with his leonine awesomeness (and let’s not talk about the not-so-muted roar of his alpha hotness)—could solve in their sleep. But the case turns out to be an onion, and as each layer is peeled back, you get more complexity and firepower, until finally our alpha couple finds themselves up against a foe that could end them and the entire city. (There is just so much going on and so much at stake that if you’re marathoning the Kate Daniels books, you may want to take a short break between Book 7 and this one.)

Finally, we do get some sense of that domestic bliss you expect in “filler” novels, as the idea of how Kate, Curran, and Julie’s lives will be after departing the Pack’s Keep begins to solidify not just for you as a reader but for the characters as well, particularly Kate. You wouldn’t think there would be much time for character relationship development, given how much butt-kicking occurs in this novel, but the truth is there’s more than I expected, which was a pleasant surprise once I got adjusted to the fact that this wasn’t going to be a typical aftermath novel. I especially enjoyed the vulnerabilities revealed on both Kate’s and Curran’s part, as well as the continuing is-he-bad-or-isn’t-he mystery that is Kate’s father.

There was nothing I wanted more of or less of in this novel, which is why it gets the full five stars from me, and while I’ll admit that I am probably not going to be able to give an unbiased opinion on this series (I’m surprised I had more to say than simply yelling “BUY IT, READ IT, LOVE IT!” at everyone), I found this installment earned a notch on my faves list, and it could well be my favorite of the series so far. So yes. Buy it, read it, love it! Because I want these authors to have enough money to keep writing more and more and more of their books!

 

Feel Factor Rating:

fan-factor4

adrenaline-factor4

swoon-factor4

intrigue-factor3

steam-factor1

 

Series eading Order

Series Spotlight: Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews

1. Magic Bites
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2. Magic Burns
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3. Magic Strikes
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4. Magic Bleeds
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5. Magic Slays
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6. Magic Rises
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7. Magic Breaks
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8. Magic Shifts
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About Ilona Andrews

Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Texas with their two children, and many dogs and cats. They have co-authored two series, the bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge.