Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1)

Magic Bites -  Ilona Andrews

Set in a nearly-this-universe but where tech and magic take turns being in charge, magic is back on top - but it comes and goes in waves and depending which is on top, neither magic nor tech are totally reliable. With the usual suspects of wizards and witches, vampires and shapeshifters. Not your usual vampires though, no sexy broody boys here, for once the vampires are nasty bitey killers. Kate Daniels is a member of the mercenaries guild, effectively the for hire mop-up squad for supernatural mayhem, but is dragged back into the more formal world of "The Order of Merciful Aid", a place she left behind, when one of her only friends in the world is murdered.


This was a very fun and quick read. Light on the romance, and no love triangles or Mary Sues in sight.


Reviewy thing below the fold.


The author drops you directly into the world, with almost no setup, which I personally like a lot, preferring to pick things up as I go along. If you like lots and lots of description and backstory before the action, you won't like this. Even by the end of the book, after having seen her in action a bunch of times, we still don't know exactly what Kate actually is.


I loved some of the touches, for instance magic "eating" skyscrapers, so someone enterprising figures out a way to keep one up by enchanting it to pretend it's a rock - and thereby making millions off the people who want to have apartments in there. It just seems like the kind of thing a land developer would do!  Or the fact telephones are hit and miss now, but cars still work fairly well most of the time (because you can run them on magic and water as well as gasoline) - but just in case, they get around urban Atlanta on horses when they really need to be sure to get somewhere.


As a series opener it's brilliant. A great introduction to the world and it's major players, clear characterization - for once I wasn't even close to mixing up which shifter was which or forgetting who the characters were, and a self-contained storyline that doesn't end on a cliffhanger, but leaves all the doors open. And the plot is an actual murder mystery case that gets solved. I know right? That never happens in urban fantasy!


I really enjoyed the heroine, Kate is sassy and smart and capable, but not invulnerable and she screws up sometimes both professionally and personally and has to reap the consequences. She is such a relief after the glut of Mary Sue's of various flavours, I have no idea why I didn't read this series long ago.


Also, I am pretty sure Kate could take Anita Blake.