Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Also by this author: Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1)
Series: Kate Daniels #3
Source: My shelves
Drafted into working for the Order of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems than she knows what to do with these days. And in Atlanta, where magic comes and goes like the tide, that’s saying a lot.
But when Kate’s werewolf friend Derek is discovered nearly dead, she must confront her greatest challenge yet. As her investigation leads her to the Midnight Games – an invitation-only, no holds barred, the ultimate preternatural fighting tournament – she and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, uncover a dark plot that may forever alter the face of Atlanta’s shapeshifting community…
In the interest of transparency … this is like the fourth time I’ve read this book 🙈 I’ve lost count, so it might be more than that. Ilona Andrews (a husband-and-wife writing duo) was also the first (and only!) author I’ve gone to see specifically. I’ve certainly gone to different book conferences and such where many authors are, but I drove to a different state specifically for them in this case! I would show pictures, but that was several years ago and … let’s just say braces were involved.
This was 100% my favorite book of the Kate Daniels series so far!! Magic Bites, the first book, had to set everything up and Magic Burns, the second book, is where we finally started to get some depth. BUT MAN OH MAN. Magic Strikes, this third book, is where everything becomes awesome! By now, if you’ve read my first two reviews, you know that Kate Daniels is a mercenary for hire to clean up magical problems, and also enjoys Friend of the Pack status, meaning that she’s the one the Pack goes to when they need help or have a problem they can’t solve in-house. Anything Shifter-related or suspected that strikes Enforcement’s radar goes right to her, and she’s liaisons with the pack on whether she can help. Fun job!
This can cause problems when you’re trying to avoid the Beast Lord, a lion-shifter named Curran, who said a little something that made you want him too much and now you must keep your distance. Something like..
“Not only will you sleep with me, but you will say ‘please.'” I stared at him, shocked.
The smile widened. “You will say ‘please’ before and ‘thank you’ after.”
It’s not creepy or stalker-ish, because they’ve been dancing around each other for a while now, and the sexual tension sings between the two of them. And let me tell you, this series is the slowest of slow burns. Oh. My. Lord. They offer you tantalizing little tastes and teases that have me on the edge of my seat, salivating for more. But “Tut-tut-tut,” the evil Mr. and Mrs. Andrews said. “Too soon.”
Too fucking soon my ass. I am #TeamThirsty for Kate and Curran and am ~ready~. Have I read this series before? Yes. But do their interactions still leave me frustrated and tantalized (in the best way)? Yes. No shame here. This series may be the slowest of burns, but we finally do get a bit of a sated palette in this one. Not too much for #TeamThirsty to be satisfied, but strides are taken that left me jumping in my seat and giggling like a schoolgirl, leaving the people around me in confused annoyance. No, I am not okay. Things are happennnnninnnng!!
*Ahem* Back to the book.
Mr. and Mrs. Andrews do some magic with character development in this one. We meet a whole cast of fun people, get to know the Bouda clan (were hyenas) a lot more, get to dig a bit deeper with Curran, and generally spend a lot of time with the Pack. Julie gets further fleshed out in this one (omg I loved that scene so much) and we find that she’s developed a bit of a crush on Derek, the Boy Wonder. And Derek 💕 My heart. He really did the most in this installment and I’m so thrilled we’ll see more of him. Having read the series prior, he’s getting really close to where I know he’ll be and it’s fun as hell.
One of my favorite thing about the Kate Daniels series (and there are plenty) is the mystery aspect. I never sit down and read a fun cozy mystery, I’m too enthralled by my contemporary romances and the latest paranormal release, and frequently forget that good-ole mysteries exist. (And Steampunk, I always enjoy that genre but never read it.) But Kate Daniels always offers a great mystery to sleuth out and I always genuinely get caught up in the fun little details and thoroughly enjoy the ride.
“And did you have to hack his arms off?”
“Yes, I did. He wouldn’t go through the door.”
“You say it like you’re proud of it.”
I was proud of it. It was an example of quick thinking in a difficult situation.”
Part of this is the amazing world-building that the Andrews’ do. They’ve done a great job throughout the whole series of fleshing out this amazing universe of magic waves (where spells can be cast and technology fails) and tech waves (where cars work and guns can fire, but magic falters) and their fight for supremacy. But there’s an amazing bit of magical knowledge in there too, and we get a bit of an introductory course in the first two books of paranormal species and what-have-yous. But in this one, there’s some mythology thrown in and I genuinely enjoyed the magic and fun that came of it.
That reminds me… Kate’s secret is finally revealed, albeit in pieces. What a stunner that was!! Granted, I knew what it was already, having read the series several times, but damn. Even during a reread, I could appreciate the significance of the reveal. We also met Hugh d’Ambray, who becomes the main character in an amazing spin-off series with the first book released called Iron and Magic, but is the villain in these books. You know I do love a good villain, and he’s one I love to hate.
I really struggle to make this series sound as good as I think it is, and half the time I feel like I’m better off not writing a review than down-playing it. But it really is a great series, beyond that, it’s a whole experience of reading that’s thoroughly enjoyable and I want others to experience it, too. Even if reviewing a book I’ve loved with all my being since middle school is a tricky balance beam of not down-playing or over-hyping or spoilering (a real verb). Andrews’ characters always suck me into the page, even as they spring out and dance around the room, I just find them and the whole thing so dynamic and fun, and I can’t recommend enough. Read my review of book four…
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Series Reading Order…
Have you read any of Ilona Andrews’ books? What are some of your favorite slow-burn romances? (Aren’t they the best?!) Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!