Monday, August 17, 2009

REVIEW: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Series: Kate Daniels series
(c) 2007, ACE Fantasy, Penguin Group
260 pages, Mass-Market Edition
Author's Website


Kate Daniels was devastated by the death of her guardian, knight-diviner Greg Feldman, and sought to unravel the mystery of his murder. Her investigation led her into the midst of the People (vampires) and the Pack (shapechangers), and it became clear that someone was trying to stir up trouble between these two groups of creatures and Kate may be caught in the middle of it all.


People who have been following my blog know that I want to read Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series because I was impressed with her novella Silent Blade. (Incidentally, Ilona Andrews is a husband and wife writing team.) Suffice it to say, I wasn't disappointed with Magic Bites.

Though the story started out slow (for me, as I had a hard time getting into the story initially), I was soon caught up in this richly-detailed world that Kate Daniels inhabited, which was a curious blend of science and magic. However, since the story opened with a vamp in Kate's home, the action-filled sequences were never-ending, and terminologies like residual magic, feylanterns, etc lend a certain authenticity to the story, thereby creating a believable world where a suspension of disbelief on the part of the readers is easily maintained.

Kate Daniels is a likeable, spunky heroine who faces life head on. Though she's a strong woman powerful in magic, she also has moments of vulnerability, like being afraid and being down on her luck at times, that causes me to sympathize with her, as I have been there before. However, she's also a woman running from something, and the author has shrouded her identity with a mystery that aroused my curiosity. I think Kate knows who she is, as in she knows whose blood runs in her veins, but the author doesn't reveal it to us, while giving us tantalizing hints as to what she could be. And I'm a sucker for secrets, so suffice it to say, I'll be following this series.

There's no overt romance in this series, although there's an almost-romance with a non-hero, but I thought Kate's hero might ultimately be Curran, who's the Beast Lord. Yup, the Lord of the Free Beasts, the King of the Shapechangers. He certainly fit the descriptions of what a hero should be--a true alpha male--plus he and Kate have these flirty conversations and they set each other on edge, so I bet we'll see more of Curran in the later books. (There are six more of them, not counting novellas.)

At 200 over pages, it's a short read as the pages flew by, with the author really catching my imagination and interest, even though the heroine wasn't engaged in a romance.

Book Rating: 4 stars

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

1st Half 2009 Recommended Reads

My Recommended Reads:

Except for Silent Blade, I read the books below on faith, i.e. on the recommendations of other bloggers/reviewers, and I'm not sorry. All these books are fabulous!

The Spymaster's Lady - The author captivated me from the start by the clarity of her prose, her use of unexpected humor and her unique heroine.

Lord of the Fading Lands - What can I say? Strong, handsome men, beautiful women, a fairy-tale like ambience to the story, and magic! The start to a great series.

Silent Blade - Love the story, especially the twist toward the end.

Kushiel's Dart - Love the lush descriptions and the epic story and Phedre's and Joscelin's angsty romance, though some books in the series don't quite match up to this first book. However, the last book in the Kushiel series, Kushiel's Mercy, is a great finish to this series.

Other Worthy Reads:

Sunday, August 2, 2009

REVIEW: Demon Moon by Meljean Brook

Series: The Guardians


Book 3 in the Series

Savitri Murray finds herself in the airplane with a nosferatu, which is hell bent on blowing itself up and taking down all the passengers with it. Hatching a dangerous rescue plan, Savi succeeds in saving everyone and incapacitating the nosferatu until the proper authorities arrived, however, in the process, she discovers herself developing powers above that of humans. And then there is Colin Ames-Beaumont, a vampire who was more than a vampire, a vampire whose beauty and vanity are his only consolation against the terror that he sees in the mirror and who draws her like no other man.


Fascinating. Ms. Brook's worldbuilding is rich with details, fully fleshed-out and believable. I don't believe I've read a vampire story quite like hers.

Right from the start, I was sucked in into the story with the action in the plane. There was no boring moment, what with nosferatu and wyrmwolves and demons, along with a motorcycle-riding Guardian and halfling demon, and the ever-sizzling chemistry and denial between Colin and Savitri. These two screamed lust and sex every time they met, and the ensuing dance they engaged in builds the sexual tension until I felt like screaming. Both Colin and Savitri are complex characters with lots of baggage, and this made their coming together and their desperation to stay together all the sweeter and more poignant.

And did I mention I love the cover? Gorgeous! Savitri is absolutely sexy, and that costume! Wow! I don't usually drool over a woman. And Colin...*sigh* Need I say more? Never could you find a vampire--or a man--more vain or more beautiful, yet, he remains charming and likeable. The way he obsesses over Savi and loves her...*sigh* I think someone mentioned this before, wherein, as a vampire, he needs to feed from different humans, usually women, which would usually include the bloodlust and sex. Savi asked him if he was capable of being faithful, and his answer was, "If I could, Savi, it would be you."

Sigh. (I seem to be sighing a lot in this review.)

I know some have complained about the cover not being accurate, because Savi was described by Colin as having caramel skin, and well, you'd think her coloring in the cover would be darker than Colin's, as she is after all, half-Indian. But, I don't have a gripe with the cover, as in my experience, most covers don't accurately depict the main characters anyway.

Colin is portrayed as a vain man, but he is by no means shallow, for beneath his vanity lies a great fear. In my opinion, his and Savi's romance is one of the best I've read. I love the angst, and the desperation with which they find ways to stay together is enough to make me weep.

I have to say though, that while I love--absolutely looooove--the concept and the story, I have a hard time keeping up with the way Ms. Brook wrote the story. I find myself getting lost at places in the book, wondering what was happening and what the hell are they talking about, and rereading pages just to understand. I can't seem to be in tune with the characters who jumped to conclusions or have thoughts I have difficulty following. There are also scenes in the book that I don't understand, but I just passed it over, as I was eager to read on. It's either the author or me, but I picked up this book because bloggers have gushed over her books, so I guess it's me.

Also, I haven't read the novella Falling For Anthony, or the book after that Demon Angel, so I don't know if the lack of background knowledge contributed to my slow understanding, or Colin and Savitri are really just smarter than me.

(Update: I've gone to read some more reviews, and I'm happy to note it's not just me. Other reviewers have found the same problems in reading this book, as I've listed in the past two paragraphs, and apparently, in the previous book as well, i.e. Demon Angel.)

Despite my complaints, I still enjoyed this book, and would recommend it, if you don't mind the author's writing style, because it's a hell of a lot meatier than other vamp books out there. Now, I'm thinking whether I should stop here or go on reading, you know, get the first two books, read Demon Moon again and get the next one after that.

Book Rating: 4 stars
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