Title: Magic Burns
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels, Book 2
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: April 2008
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.
My love for Kate Daniels started strong in Magic Bites; when I first read it, I didn't think it would be possible for me to love her - or her world - more. I was wrong. The Kate Daniels' series just gets better and better!
Kate's been doing pretty well since the events of Magic Bites. She's settling into her new job at the Order and continuing to take jobs for the Guild. Unfortunately, things are about to go crazy. It's not just the normal magic-tech fluctuations that Kate has to worry about now, there's a flare coming. Increasingly strong magic-waves, slamming into the world one after the other, until it culminates in magic flooding the world so deep that impossible things can happen; creatures they thought safely in myth and legend begin to walk through Atlanta, perhaps dragons can even fly the skies, and just maybe gods will be able to live.
Magic Burns has everything I loved about Magic Bites and then some. The flare just ups the ante, making everything more urgent, more exciting, and more important. Nothing, including just traveling through Atlanta, is simple during the flare. Kate gets pulled into a mystery on multiple fronts: the Pack asks for help in tracking down a thief, a little girl's mother is missing, and a mysterious bowman keeps showing up out of nowhere. The mythology in this book fascinated me. I loved how Ilona Andrews made it seem so effortless to weave together so many different strands with such imagination. I don't want to say too much about the plot itself for fear of spoiling, but it was more strongly and tightly put together than the first book.
If I thought I loved Kate before, this book solidified my feelings for her. She continues to be kick-ass, keeps smarting off, and still fights to protect. Kate's loyalties run deep - she may have been raised to be a loner, but the attachments she forms are deep and unbreakable. She will never betray someone she cares about, and she'll give her own life to save theirs.
And no matter how much Kate would like to avoid him, we also get to spend a lot more time with Curran. I love the deeper look we get into him in this book. He's Alpha. I don't know how else to explain it. He's used to being obeyed, getting his way, and demanding without question. He's earned it, honestly - he has several hundred shapeshifters that swear allegiance to him. Not only is that a lot of power, it's a lot of responsibility. So even though he can downright be an ass, it's that responsibility that sticks and reminds me why he is the way he is. He cares about each and every one of his people. He's honorable, to the nth degree, and he's absolutely ruthless when it comes to protecting those he's deemed are his.
Curran and Kate have some of the best chemistry I've ever read. They spark off of each other, nearly combustible in each other's company. Their banter never fails to make me grin; in fact I can just think about some of their moments together and will start to laugh. It was this book that made me start really rooting for them together. I began to see how they could compliment and strengthen each other.
There are plenty of other favorite characters returning in this book, too. Derek, Kate's "sidekick" - one of my absolute favorite characters in the series - begins to show just how awesome he is, and how powerful. There's more Ghastek, coming in with an unexpected offer; an interesting, and somewhat enlightening, scene with Saiman; and a few new characters that make things even more interesting for Kate.
Interesting might be exactly what Kate's trying to avoid, but I love it. Every minute feels fraught with urgency and action. The fact that Ilona Andrews can manage to weave humor into these situations, making me laugh out loud for several minutes at a time, just makes their writing all that much more awesome.
I can't do justice in my reviews on these books. I feel like I can talk for hours about how fabulous they are and never really scratch the surface.
A note on the narration:
Renée Raudman continues to read the series. I mentioned in my previous review that I have some issues with how she portrays certain scenes and the tone that she uses. I don't know if I've gotten more used to it, or if it's gotten better, or if I'm simply better at ignoring how much it irritates me - but those issues didn't pull me out of the story nearly as much this time.
I still think that if you're experiencing the story for the first time, you shouldn't listen to the audio books. Tone can change a lot, and the tone that I felt was conveyed through the books - Kate's voice - is very different than what Raudman uses. Kate comes through as much more passive in the audiobooks than she is in the books, in my honest opinion.
Still, it's nice to be able to listen to the stories that I love so much.
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