Magic Bites by husband-wife team, Ilona Andrews

Magic Bites – Kate Daniels Book 1

Magic_Bites Coverby Ilona Andrews.

Mass Market Paperback

ISBN 9780441014897

272 Pages

27 Mar 2007

Ace/Penguin

Original Post 6/8/2010

Kate Daniels

The world has suffered a magic apocalypse. Magic feeds on technology, monsters prowl the ruined streets, and necromancers pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds.

In this world lives Kate Daniels. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight. But sometimes even trained killers make friends and fall in love, and when the universe tries to kick them in the face, they kick back.

http://www.ilona-andrews.com/

Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t want it any other way…

This special edition includes in-depth information about the world of Kate Daniels, with descriptions of its characters and factions. Explore Kate’s Atlanta like never before with answers to FAQ and a quiz to find your place there. And don’t miss the prequel story “A Questionable Client,” as well as scenes of events in Magic Bites from Curran’s point of view.
(http://www.penguin.com/book/magic-bites-by-ilona-andrews/9780441014897)

 

 

 

I had to force my way through this book and at the time of writing I was not certain I would actually make my way to the end.  This is a modified version of my original blogger blog post. Since reading this, I have been told that even the writing team of Ilona Andrews does not especially like this book.

This originally appeared at my old Blogger blog in 2010.  It was magically transferred here when I switched to WP.org and I have tried to make it look prettier than it would have without my manipulations.
This was a free Kindle book. No Remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.

 

 

 “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 Georgia with their two children and three dogs. http://www.ilona-andrews.com/about/press-kit/#img

This is a story I have seen before, Strong, magical, warrior female loses someone close and is attacked from various sides as she tries to figure it out.

As I read certain things stuck out:

The first is editing — granted, this is not entirely the fault of the authors.  I am certainly imperfect in my grammar and vocabulary, but no one is putting out big bucks in my bank account for writing either.  So, it doesn’t take much to make me cringe.  In this case an official asks Miss Daniels for proof of her relationship with her mentor.  She says, “I could easily provide him with collaboration,..”(Kindle location 281-289).  I believe the word this couple sought was corroborationCollaboration  has  to do with working with someone to create something while corroboration means to confirm or give support to a statement, theory or finding. This was like a flashing neon sign in the desert and not just a spelling or spell-check error.  It seems to me that the quality of editing and proofing has nosedived recently, at least in e-books  But, why do e-books seem to have more errors than paper books do?  Do they use the first draft?  No, I think it is probably the economy and downsizing in Publishing, and/or dependence on technology (says the e-book reader and blogger).

The next thing annoying me in Magic Bites is the lack of, but need for, a back story.
Two Examples:
Kate has an injured-foot issue, possibly from chasing some supernatural worm through a sewer but we go from one page where her foot felt like it was burning to  her wearing pants to conceal her foot.
Also, some sort of magical apocalypse has occurred, or we are in a parallel universe, where human technology and even bricks and mortar have failed but when, where and how is not given.  Contrast this with the Rachel Morgan Hollows series by Kim Harrison (see Sat., May 5) where the reason for the alternate history is explained in the first few chapters. It helps the reader believe the fantasy world the writer is trying to build.

A few weeks ago I discussed voice and artifice going overboard.  Add to the annoyance factor changing language just to be different; or taking us so far out of the norms of fantasy I am left shaking my head in a manner that causes my cheeks to jiggle in a jowl-like fashion. For example, what is the reason to use the term shape changer and not shape shifter? It feels juvenile, and unprofessional.  Vampires in this are no more than animalistic creatures remotely controlled by a master but halfway through there is no explanation for this difference from our current concept of “vampire”.

I do admire this woman’s weapon, a magic saber that behaves differently based on what type of magic it is faced with.  The heroine’s self deprecation of her physique and strength is somewhat admirable.  Her devotion to her late mentor even though they were not on good terms shows a level of mature understanding of the nature of family or just relationships. Her hair has some cool qualities I would pay for

Now, will I stick the book out? It was free for on Amazon Kindle after all; so no loss.  But I, would like to understand whatever the publisher  saw in this manuscript to get it pulled from the slush pile.   It has to be more than sex and vampires.  There must be thousands of erotic or romantic magical female warrior characters fighting evil in hundreds of major or semi-major cities.  What caused this story, with all its flaws (at least as I perceived them), to cause a publisher to not just publish one but write a contract for seven such tomes ? If it is sales, then what is it that makes us purchase such a flawed transcript without begging for improvement with our wallets.  Has anyone called “Illona” on these issues? Recently, I have contacted two authors — one of whom responded immediately and one, who I questioned on what seemed flat-out “borrowing” from another writer has not responded at all. Maybe it depends on quantity and or influence of outcry and the degree of hazard which acknowledging the issue presents. I confess I calculatedly left off reading Magic Bites to read something “hot off the computer screen” to bring you a timely review.  I don’t get ARCs  and thus you have been subjected to my whims in reading.

I hope Ms. Daniels and the compound Miss Andrews are able to redeem themselves in my mind.  The best we can hope from a poor use of language is the writer is attempting to be different.  This device also grossly illuminates an author striving to trick the reader into thinking the story unique and not a rehash of an often utilized theme.

I guess  I have an issue with these variables in storytelling.  As I read a book with the potential of writing a review I think I have become a bit stricter in expectations.  There are so many books competing for our readership and they are not  usually cheap.  Fantasy, even erotic fantasy, can be pulp, or it can be literature.  The Ilona Andrews’ book Magic Bites, falls into the category of pulp where the collaborators have an opportunity to write literature. This book might not “bite” but I would be ticked if I had paid for it.