Author: Ilona Andrews (Pseudonym for Ilona & Andrew Gordon)
Series: KATE DANIELS and KATE DANIELS WORLD
Plot Type: UF with Romance
Ratings: V5; S2 in books 1-3; S4 in books 4-5; H3
Publisher and Titles: Ace
Magic Bites (2007)
Magic Burns (2008)
"A Questionable Client" (novella in Dark & Stormy Knights, 2009)
Magic Strikes (2009)
“Magic Mourns” (e-novella, also in Must Love Hellhounds anthology (2009)
Magic Bleeds (2010)
“Magic Dreams” (e-novella, also in Hexed anthology, 2011)
Magic Slays (2011)
"Magic Gifts" (novella in Gunmetal Magic)
Gunmetal Magic (KD WORLD #1, 2012) (Urban SMR)
"Magic Tests" in An Apple for the Creature (9/2012)
As Gunmetal Magic begins, the Pack asks Andrea to investigate the deaths of four shifter guards at one of Rafe's Atlanta reclamation sites. At that point, we know we're in for some new and rocky episodes in the Rafe-Andrea romance. Andrea is still getting used to being a civilian, having been kicked out of the Order after they discovered that she was a shape shifter. Now, she works with Kate at Cutting Edge Investigations. The plot is complex, with multiple levels of villainy and numerous story threads. Andrea's investigation eventually leads her into several vicious battles with gigantic, meat-eating insects; huge venomous snakes; and the monstrous demon Ammit—"as big as a rhino, its head with a huge mane armed with long crocodilian jaws" (p. 145). She and her allies also have run-ins with a draugr and a power-mad Egyptian jackal god.
The romance plot and the action plot are woven together in a most satisfying fashion. Andrea proves herself to be an able investigator as she pretty much solves the case on her own, but Rafe, of course, eventually comes along to fight at her side. The couple has many scenes together as they try to piece their relationship back together, and those scenes include lots of sarcastic gibes balanced by an equal amount of angst-filled emotion.
Supporting characters, as is usual in this series, play important roles, both dramatic and humorous. The most entertaining supporting character is Ascanio, the arrogant young bouda prince, who accompanies Andrea throughout her investigation. Other prominent supporting characters are Aunt B, the female bouda alpha and Kate Daniels herself, who shows up near the end to assist with the requisite climactic battle. Roman, the handsome, womanizing volhv (Russian warlock) who tangled with Kate and Andrea in a previous book, also shows up to help out, and his scenes with the jealous Rafe provide some nice comic relief.
This is the first novel in the KATE DANIELS WORLD series, and it's just as good as the regular KD novels have been. This series specializes in fully developed characters and complex plots that are intricately designed and difficult to predict. You could read this book as a stand alone, but if you haven't read the KD novels, I suggest that you read them first. Click HERE for an excerpt.
"Magic Gifts" Novella
The action in this novella takes place during the same time period as the events in Gunmetal Magic, but from Kate's point of view instead of Andrea's. Several scenes overlap between the two books, but most are separate from the Gunmetal plot. In this story, Kate is presented with two completely separate problems: First, she must cast the deciding vote in determining who will head up the Guild (after the death of the former leader, Solomon Red, in the preceding book), and, second, she must find a way to save the life of a young boy who is slowly dying because his loathsome mother has placed a magical, energy-eating, seemingly unremovable necklace around his neck. Most of the story revolves around the latter plot line as Kate and Curran rush from one bizarre supernatural creature to another in search of a way to remove the necklace before it kills the boy. There are any number of entertaining scenes, with two stand-outs: a short but hilarious run-in with the Vikings and a great come-uppance for the arrogant Ghastek (a leader of the People). There's also the essential climactic battle in which Kate takes down yet another nasty monster—the draugr (the same one that we meet at a later point in time in Gunmetal Magic). That battle explains Kate's hesitation in Gunmetal when Andrea asks for her help in getting information from that very draugr. I'm not sure whether it's best to read the novel first or the novella. I suppose it doesn't make too much difference.
This is a nice story that gives us insights into Kate's new position as a Consort and how that position changes her relationship with her former colleagues—the mercenaries ("mercs") who work for the Guild. By the end, Kate has to accept the fact that her position in the Pack comes with responsibilities, and that she must take on those responsibilities whether she wants to or not. As usual, there is plenty of sarcastic and humorous interplay among the characters and lots of action in the climactic showdown between Kate and the draugr.
In an alternate Atlanta, waves of magic and technology ebb and flow across the city. When the magic rises, it knocks out all technology, and the supernaturals’ powers increase. Citizens must alternate between using horses and cars for transportation because cars (and other technology, like electricity telephones) don’t work when the magic is up. Here is a quotation from the author's web site describing the KATE DANIELS world: "The world has suffered a magic apocalypse. We pushed the technological progress too far, and now magic returned with a vengeance. It comes in waves, without warning, and vanishes as suddenly as it appears. When magic is up, planes drop out of the sky, cars stall, electricity dies. When magic is down, guns work and spells fail. It’s a volatile, screwed-up world. Magic feeds on technology, gnawing down on skyscrapers until most of them topple and fall, leaving only skeletal husks behind. Monsters prowl the ruined streets, werebears and werehyenas stalk their prey; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds."
> The People, run by necromancers (Masters of the Dead). They are devoted to the study of the undead, animating them as vampires who serve as non-sentient, but powerful, slaves. Their supreme leader is Roland, who has a mysterious link to Kate’s past.
> The Pride, a unification of all of the shape-shifters under Curran Lennart, Lord of the Free Beasts (aka “Beast Lord”), who becomes Kate’s nemesis (and love interest). Members of the Pride live in and around the Keep, a huge, fortified residence, reminiscent of a castle.
This series is actually written by the husband and wife team of Ilona Gordon and Andrew Gordon. If you'd like to read a collection of scenes that were written by Gordon Andrews as a companion to to the KATE DANIELS series of books, click on the following links: Curran, Vol. 1 and Curran, Vol, 2. These scenes illustrate the point of view of Curran, the Beast Lord of Atlanta.
As of August 2012, the series web site is being drastically restructured and updated. At this time, the following links will take you to the new sections. (These may change later—I'll do my best to keep the links up to date.)
As the story opens, Kate and Curran are newly mated, and she is trying to get used to living in the Keep and being called “Consort.” In addition, Kate has resigned from the Order and opened her own business: Cutting Edge Investigations (in honor of her magical sword, Slayer). Early in the story, Kate’s friend, Andrea, shows up after being MIA for several months while she healed from injuries incurred in the battle that climaxed the previous book. Andrea is a shifter who masqueraded as human until her cover was blown after that same battle. As a result, she lost her job with the Order as well as most of her friends. Kate immediately hires Andrea as her very first employee.
As Kate investigates Kamen’s kidnapping, she eventually learns what his machine is capable of, and she becomes just as frightened as everyone else. Soon, Kate discovers that two different groups are involved in the kidnapping. One group has Kamen, and the other group has the machine. When Kate and her friends are attacked by a magic-hating group called the Lighthouse Keepers, Kate begins to connect the clues, and the plot heats up. In short order, Kate and Curran are able to pull together a very temporary coalition of all the rivalrous magical groups in Atlanta for one big apocalyptic scene in which they battle the Keepers for the future of the magical world. In this book, Kate learns some troubling information about her mother and step-father. She also makes the surprising discovery that she has some relatives she never knew she had.