Review: Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews


April 20, 2012 by Heidi

book cover of Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews

Title: Magic Burns [Amazon|GoodReads]
Author: Ilona Andrews
Standing: Book two in the Kate Daniels series, following Magic Bites.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published: April 1st, 2008 by Ace
Format: Paperback; 260 pages.
Source: Borrowed from my local library.

Spoilers!: This review contains spoilers for the first book in the series, Magic Bites, (reviewed here), so go read that first. 

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’s 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 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…

There’s something really gratifying to me about picking up a book that I know will be a solid read.  I know I’m not going to fall head over heals, but at the same time, I know it’s going to be fast paced, thrilling, intriguing, and downright fun.  That was my expectation picking up Magic Burns, the second installment to Ilona Andrews’s Kate Danielsseries, and that’s exactly what I got.  Color me a satisfied reader.

One of the things I am loving most about this series is its pacing.  It’s like one of those good T.V. series.  You know the kind.  The ones that have an overarching plot that you’re totally invested in, but at the same time, each individual episode has a completely enthralling story that you love diving into and having nicely wrapped up by the end.  For me, that’s kind of what it’s like reading Kate Daniels.  I’m kind of a sucker for delayed gratification…sucker or masochist, but let’s not draw those lines.  I am loving the small tidbits of Kate’s past and family history that we’re getting each book, along with the almost painfully slow development of her inevitable relationship with Curran.

I love Kate more and more with every page.  She’s pigheaded, she never gives in, she does incredibly stupid things that will often end terribly for herself in order to get the job done, and I love it.  She sees herself as someone who gets paid to get the job done right, and while that’s true, the story of Magic Burns gave us some deeper insight into Kate’s hidden underbelly.  Once she takes responsibility for something and someone, and in this case it is a girl, she will do everything in her power to follow through.  Part of me was like, ‘screw this Kate!’, because she was doing it all based on a fairly small favor she owed to a pretty horrible teenaged boy, but I’ll give the woman credit, she goes above and beyond.  

And so do her friends.  In Magic Burns we get to meet Andrea, her gun-happy coworker who shares a lot of Kate’s code, while completely being her own mysterious mess.  I was instantly a fan, and am so excited to know that Ilona Andrews’s forthcoming book, Gunmetal Magic, will be starring this woman.  Of course, Andrea’s not the only one, Derek also goes out of his way to protect Kate.  He’s kind of that annoying self-appointed side-kick.  You can’t help but love him, even when he’s being a bit of a lap dog (no pun intended)(okay, pun intended a little).  And then of course, there’s Curran.  Talk about a love/hate relationship.  Both Curran and Kate are incredibly stubborn and sharp tongued no matter the situation.  They’re either going to end up killing each other or tearing each others clothes off, which makes them a volatile pairing I just can’t wait to see ignite.  

Favorite scene ever?  Kate’s panties exposed in the hospital wing with a nice little bow on them, and Curran noticing.  All in all, I thought Magic Burns was a solid follow-up to Magic Bites.  I enjoyed the different mythology weaved into the story, and am quickly becomming more and more invested in this series.

Likelihood that I’ll be back for more:  Oh goodness yes!  I’m dying for Magic Strikes to come in for me at the library.  I see it in the catalog just sitting on another library’s shelf and them not sending it to me.  I’m about to drive myself over to said library and get it myself, forget waiting on inter-libary loan!

Recommended for:  Any urban fantasy fans looking for a butt kicking protagonist with a heart of gold.  

Get a second opinion:
Book Harbinger
Urban Fantasy Land 


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  1. Catie says:

    This series has some really nice twists and turns in the bigger story that I really like. But you're right – they really keep you entertained with the smaller stories even as the bigger picture has yet to unfold. I love Kate and Curran – and Andrea! Hopefully the spin-off series is just as good.Great review today Heidi!

  2. Angiegirl says:

    What a coincidence. That's one of my very favorite scenes, too! ;)MAGIC STRIKES is an owner for me. Too many favorite scenes to count (or be without for long).

  3. Heidi says:

    Thanks, Catie! I agree 100%, I'm always nervous about spin-offs, but my hopes for this one are high.

  4. Heidi says:

    LOVE it! And yeah, I'm thinking I'm probably just going to end up buying Magic Strikes since everyone seems to agree it's the best. 😛

  5. […] Source: Borrowed from my local library. Spoilers!:  This review contains spoilers for Magic Bites, Magic Burns, Magic Strikes, and Magic Bleeds, so go read those first! Plagued by a war between magic and […]

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While the source for each book I review is posted within its review, please assume unless otherwise stated that books reviewed on Bunbury in the Stacks were received free from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.