Book 2 in the Kate Daniels series
by Ilona Andrews
Narrated by Renée Raudman
Published by Tantor Audio
Publication date Jan 26, 2009
Running time 10 hrs
Print/EBook editions from Penguin/Ace
1 Apr 2008 | 272 Pages (Link)
Audio files provided by Tantor Audio for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.
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 skyscrappers 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.
In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. 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.
Down in Atlanta, tempers—and temperatures—are about to flare…
As a mercenary who cleans up after magic gone wrong, Kate Daniels has seen her share of occupational hazards. Normally, waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide. But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant. Now Kate is going to have to deal with problems on a much bigger scale: a divine one.
When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta’s paramilitary clan of shapeshifters, she quickly realizes much more is at stake. During a flare, gods and goddesses can manifest and battle for power. The stolen maps are only the opening gambit in an epic tug-of-war between two gods hoping for rebirth. And if Kate can’t stop the cataclysmic showdown, the city may not survive.
Early in my blogging career I saw the first book in this series was free for Kindle so I ordered it. I was probably a little meaner back then but to be frank, I did not think it was a good book or series start (my review: http://fangswandsandfairydust.com/2010/06/magic-bites.html).
After thoroughly enjoying the first book in an new Ilona Andrews series, BURN FOR ME, I wanted to give the series a second chance and with the file provided by Tantor Media I was able to listen to the well narrated audiobook. I especially liked Renée Raudman voicing of Julie, the girl Kate rescues. There are a lot of varieties of characters in here: Shifters, Beast-Kin (sort of shifters), witches, amateur witches, vampires and other undead, deities.
Not all the “good guys” characters are noble, good, or helpful, and the bad characters will surprise you. Or maybe not.
The story is more well-constructed than the first book, and the world is much more developed. I am led to believe the writing duo got a better editor or agent. I wasn’t reading so I didn’t “hear” any typos.
I did feel there was still missing back story, but it’s been a wile since I read MAGIC BITES, and I did not read the prequel. I still think Kate’s powers could be better defined.
But, I also cared more about the characters. Kate seems a lot more sympathetic to her fellow supernaturals, and colleagues; more inclined to call them friends. She does not seem such a great friend to animals who aren’t good friends to her either; especially not animals made of metal.
I did like the mix of technology and pre-industrialized tech: a horse and buggy versus a car, for example. Without technology being dependable, city life would be more or less impossible without magic. How would water departments purify and deliver water, and how would sewage plants handle effluent? Without simple technological infrastructure, disease would run through cities with abandon, just as it used to. Simple sewage and water delivery might be possible, but higher level tech serving millions of people, would be an issue.
But, I also liked the lack of dependability of tech or magic. There are no dei ex machina, and when a “deus” does machinate his/her/its way into a story, they are less likely to help than hinder. There’s also no dependence on ultra sophisticated tech, nor magic because either could disappear at any time. So Kate can basically depend on herself and her friends, and good old fashioned horsepower. It is downright medieval, except with modern attitudes and with magic.
I also liked there was a group, the Order, dedicated to helping humans and probably others, survive the abuses of magic or more powerful critters.
I did think it was a little violent, that the shifter alpha was a little too cranky without entirely good reasons, and some of the laws were stupid. There’s no romance really, just some funky flirting. I suspect there will be some later, but also appreciate the writers taking time to set up the relationships before people get seriously naked.
I did want to read the next volume in the series so that is a very positive sign. I appreciate everyone urging me to give it another go.
TANTOR MEDIA: https://tantor.com/magic-burns-ilona-andrews.html
PRINT PUBLISHER: http://www.penguin.com/book/magic-burns-by-ilona-andrews/9781101128572