Magic Rises ~ Ilona Andrews

  • Title: Magic Rises
  • Author: Ilona Andrews
  • Series: Kate Daniels #6
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy
  • Format: ebook
  • Source: Own copy
  • Reviewed by: DarthVal
  • Rating: 5 out of 5

Description:  Atlanta is a city plagued by magical problems. Kate Daniels will fight to solve them—no matter the cost.

Mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate, Curran, the Beast Lord, are struggling to solve a heartbreaking crisis. Unable to control their beasts, many of the Pack’s shapeshifting children fail to survive to adulthood. While there is a medicine that can help, the secret to its making is closely guarded by the European packs, and there’s little available in Atlanta.

Kate can’t bear to watch innocents suffer, but the solution she and Curran have found threatens to be even more painful. The European shapeshifters who once outmaneuvered the Beast Lord have asked him to arbitrate a dispute—and they’ll pay him in medicine. With the young people’s survival and the Pack’s future at stake, Kate and Curran know they must accept the offer—but they have little doubt that they’re heading straight into a trap…

Review:  Once again, Ilona and Gordon, the husband and wife team behind the pseudonym Ilona Andrews, have knocked it out of the ball park. Magic Rises is the sixth book in the action-packed, urban fantasy series that focuses on Kate Daniels, a warrior living in a world where the balance between magic and tech is unstable. Kate’s magical blood makes her powerful, yet vulnerable to her fratricidal father. Fortunately, she has the backing of her pack courtesy of her role as mate to Currran, The Beast Lord and ruler of the Atlanta shape shifters.

In Magic Rises, Kate and Curran travel to unfriendly European pack territory to protect a pregnant werewolf and moderate in the resulting paternal dispute (yes, I mean paternal rather than paternity – a dispute of fathers, if you will). Recognizing it for the trap that it is, the alpha couple and a team of their trusted pack members assume the risk to acquire Panacea from the European packs, a rare substance that can save the lives of adolescent shifters, preventing them from the insanity of loupism and the death sentence it carries. The danger far exceeds their expectations, threatening not just the lives of their contingent, but also their loyalties and the mate bond between Kate and Curran.

This book is chock full of page-turning, edge-of-your-seat, high intensity action and adventure. Gordon and Ilona produce such wonderfully written battle scenes that I often found myself holding my breath while reading them. There are several such scenes included in Magic Rises and it is hard to choose just one that is more memorable. That is not going to stop me from admitting that the “sparring” match between Kate and Hugh not only captivated me, but also awakened a blood-thirsty inner voice that kept chanting, “Kill him, Kate! Cut that smug expression right off of his rotten little face!” Who knew I possessed such blood lust? (Um, ok, probably everyone, being that I am Darth and all.)

I am sure that if anyone was around to witness my reading reactions, they would think I was a total lunatic. I laughed out loud, I gasped, I may or may not have cried a little, and I surely started to turn blue in the face from holding my breath. I found myself obsessively compelled to get in just one more page (I might even have snuck in a few page or two while stopped at traffic lights). I just could not put it down, I needed to know what was going to happen to some of my favorite characters next.

The complexity of these characters deepens even further in Magic Rises. At the same time that she struggles with her esteem as an alpha who is not a shifter, Kate reveals just how much of an alpha she truly is. Her heart is breaking, and yet she continues to put the pack above herself time and again. (Not killing Hugh, trying to make sure Derek does not feel divided loyalty between her and Curran, and carrying on with the assignment). Curran, who we already know is a total alpha (hello, Beast Lord, here), further demonstrates his leadership abilities, despite his worry about Kate (we’ll get to that in a minute). All of the shifters in the book displayed a depth of devotion and furvor to protect their own, but none more so than Aunt B, who has long been one of my favorite characters in the series. I wish I could tell you more, but better to let you read it on your own.

Romantic relationships in non-romance series often grown either stale or silly after so many books. Ilona and Gordon keep this fire burning bright without sacrificing the emotional intelligence of their characters. The razor sharp tension between Kate and Curran fits within the context the plot without changing the essence of the characters themselves. I like the fact the fact that Curran is not apologetic about the fact that yes, he was an ass. However, he had come to terms with the decision that he’d risk losing Kate’s love rather than losing her life. In the end, she is forced to admit she’d do the same. Once again, it the is alpha in both of them.

Of course, no Kate Daniels book would be complete without a plethora of snarktastic fun, and Magic Rises certainly rises to the occasion. (See what I did there?) The banter is well-written and leaves me grinning like a loon. I think a lot of authors struggle with dialog, trying too hard to convey too much information in stilted exchanges between characters. Meanwhile, Gordon and Ilona make witty dialog seem effortless. They convey so much about personalities, relationships, and plots in just a few, often humorous, words, such as “Dear God, the cookie was poisoned.” (Upon reading, I hooted with laughter.)

Another aspect of this book, and the series as a whole, that sets it apart is that while there is a clear plot arc across books, each books has a fully developed and COMPLETED plot line. Some higher profile fantasy authors could take note (ahem, GRRM). I not only enjoyed the adventure, but I felt satisfied at the end. Not so satisfied that I won’t buy the next book on its release date just as I did with Magic Rises.

If for some reason, you have not yet started on this series, I cannot urge you enough to jump on in. This is really solid urban fantasy writing. The world-building is phenomenal, the action is exciting, and it is all accomplished with a wry sense of humor. For those of you who know and love this series, I’ll be waiting for you to finish Magic Rises over on the I-can’t-wait-for-Magic Breaks couch.