Title: Magic Stars
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels, Book 8.5
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: Christmas 2015
Novella set in Kate Daniels world...
Derek Gaunt has no family and few friends. Scarred, solitary, he is the lone wolf who separated from his pack. When those close to him are murdered, he’ll stop at nothing to hunt their killer through magic-drenched Atlanta.
Soon Julie Olsen joins him and what begins as revenge turns into the race to save the city. Their search puts them against powers they never imagined and magic so old, it predates history. It may cost Derek his life, but there are things for which even he would risk everything.
I went into this novella knowing very little, except that it had potentially world-changing events within its pages. Now that I'm done - I tore through this on my (extended) lunch break today - I can definitely say that's the dead-honest truth.
I've long wanted a Derek book, and I've been 'shipping Derek and Julie, hard, for a very long time (since the metal rose). To say I was excited when I realized exactly who this would center around is a massive understatement. I could not wait to dive into the world. I thought, initially, that it would be told in Julie's point-of-view, but it's actually in Derek's, and I think I like that better. I think Julie might have begun to sound a bit too much like Kate, not that that would be unrealistic, but it would make it harder to fall into the story.
Derek has a very different voice. Different from Kate, Curran, and just about every other character I've read from Ilona Andrews. And I love that. He's himself. If you've read the rest of the series you know who Derek is (if you haven't, stop here and go start!), and exactly how Kate describes his scars - which is minimally. I like that when we get to step into other characters' heads in this series we learn a bit more about Kate and Curran as well. Kate tends to minimize things that others would see as faults or disfigurements in her friends and loved ones, and even though I suspected that, seeing how true it is in regards to Derek's scars was a bit of a revelation. I think an even bigger revelation, though, was the scars he carries on the inside. He hides them well, until we're in his head.
Julie kicks ass. I'm not usually a fan of kids in stories, because they're generally written so unrealistically. That was never a problem with Julie, she's always been exactly who she is, and it never felt forced or fake (like some kids do). She's grown so much, and seeing those changes in her is amazing. She's strong, and powerful, and smart, and absolutely, awesomely, self-assured and confident. I love her. A lot.
I won't say a lot about the plot because it is a novella and I don't want to risk spoiling anything, but I will say that a lot of new, interesting, world-building things appear. And a few WORLD-CHANGING things are revealed. I think I'd known some of the revelations from previous books, but the extent of the implications and knowledge of that was nothing compared to what I learned here. I can't wait to see how this affects everything going forward. Considering we're in the home-stretch of the main story-arc of the series, this story just amps up my excitement - and worry - for everyone I love in this series.
This book was amazing - I always enjoy the Kate Daniels' World novellas, but this one is something else altogether. I loved every moment and read it in one sitting. Now I just want more.
And I still 'ship Derek and Julie. Harder now than ever before.
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