Review: Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews


May 11, 2012 by Heidi

book cover of Magic Strikes by Ilona AndrewsTitle: Magic Strikes [Amazon|GoodReads]
Author: Ilona Andrews [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Standing: 3rd in the Kate Daniels series.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published: February 20th, 2009 by Ace
Format: Kindle edition; 322 pages.
Source: Purchased.
Spoilers!: This review contains spoilers for the first two books in the series, Magic Bites (reviewed here), and Magic Burns (reviewed here), so go read those first!

Drafted to work for the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems these days than she knows what to do with. And in Atlanta, where magic comes and goes like the tide, that’s saying a lot.

But when Kate’s werewolf friend Derek is discovered nearly dead, she must confront her greatest challenge yet. As her investigation leads her to the Midnight Games- an invitation only, no-holds-barred, ultimate preternatural fighting tournament- she and Curran, the Beast Lord, uncover a dark plot that may forever alter the face of Atlanta’s shapeshifting community.

One day Ilona Andrews sat down and thought Hmmm….you know what would make the Kate Daniels series even more awesome? Gladiators! And then she proceeded to write one of the greatest Urban Fantasy books out there. I realize as someone who has read barely any Urban Fantasy I can’t really say that with authority, but you know what? Haters can shove it, it’s true.  I loved this book, and I can see why so many people were telling me this was the point in the series I wanted to get to.  Of course I greatly enjoyed Magic Bites and Magic Burns, but Magic Strikes is where everything really clicks into place, finds its pace, and doesn’t let go.

In Magic Strikes we get all of the characters we’ve loved from the past two installments, and my love of Kate Daniels with her biting snark, quippy lines, and fast blades grows and grows with every page.  Ilona Andrews has this amazing ability to incorporate cliché lines and phrases in a way that don’t make her books seem passé, it makes them seem real.  You get attached to her characters because you can really see and understand how they think, and Kate and crew think like some of the best heroes around.

Magic Strikes’ plot line surrounds the one thing the Pack is well and truly not allowed to screw with—The Midnight Games.  But what fun would a Kate Daniels book be without Derek, Jim, Curran, Rafael, and Andrea?  Easy answer: none.  Okay strictly speaking, Andrea isn’t a member of the Pack, and Magic Bites was plenty of fun without her and Rafael, but seriously?  Bouda fun is the kind of fun I like to see, and now that I’ve had a taste, I don’t want a book without it.  Here is where I would say ‘You here me, Ilona?!’, but she’s already obliged me by writing Gunmetal Magic.  I DIGRESS.

So if you’ve seen the movie Gladiator, or you know, read some Roman history, you have a pretty good idea of what The Midnight Games entails.  And if you’ve played World of Warcraft (yes I am revealing just how nerdy I am to ya’ll today), you have an even better idea because essentially it’s arena fighting between individuals and teams that are all sorts of freaky.  We’re talking vamps, shapeshifters, minotaurs, magic users, trolls, golems…you know, all of those things that go bump in the night locked in an arena to rip each other to shreds for your viewing pleasure.  Couple that with a dark plan to rid Atlanta of the Pack, some revelations about Saimon, more excellent mythology, some good ol’ fashioned street fighting and subterfuge, and you’ve got one heck of a fast-paced plot that had every cell in my body screaming AWESOME while I read.

But of course, there’s also the reality that Ilona Andrews is a total and utter tease.  And I kind of love it.  I am now officially so in love with Curran, I can’t even stand it.  He cares about Kate so much, it’s ridiculously obvious to pretty much anyone but her, and I love the developments in their relationship that we see in Magic Strikes.  I want to gab about it for pages, but I don’t want to be all spoilery, so I’ll shut my trap and save my fawning for the next book.  Let’s just suffice it to say that Kate and Curran are quickly moving up the list of my all-time favorite couples, and I can’t wait for more.

Likelihood that I’ll be back for more:  100%, already have the next book on hand and ready to go.

Recommended for: Fans of urban fantasy, butt-kicking women, hate/love slow-burn relationships, and anyone who’s spent a good deal of time playing arenas in WoW.

Get a second opinion:
Chachic’s Book Nook
Janicu’s Book Blog
Book Harbinger


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  1. Alyssa says:

    I have heard great things about this series and author I just might have to pick them up now that you're so in love! :]

  2. Holly says:

    Ahh, THIS BOOK! It is so full of win. I don't think any other UF novel can ever top it. The gladiator games + Saiman + Kate and Curran was perfect.

  3. Angiegirl says:

    There is so much to gush about, I don't even know where to start.But I will say that tiny moment when Kate remembers the dream she had the night before is one of my very favorites.

  4. Ohh, you make me want to reread this so badly… so I'm going to do exactly that! In my opinion, these books get even better later on, not that they needed to get better, but they do. Magic Bleeds is my favorite UF in the world, there's nothing quite like it, and Curran… well. I'll shut up now and try to preserve some dignity.

  5. Heidi says:

    You should try it out! Adult UF is pretty different from YA, but I am loving it!

  6. Heidi says:

    I know, right?! I was so excited about Saiman, and just about died over Kate and Curran. I am certain I'll be rereading this one.

  7. Heidi says:

    THE T-REX?!I totally have that part highlighted, because I too loved it. I'd forgotten about it, and then was flipping back through my highlights for the review and laughed all over gain.

  8. Heidi says:

    Ooooh, you're the first who's said that Magic Bleeds is your favorite in this series. I'm all pumped up for it now, it's sitting on my end table just waiting for me to pick it up! And Maja, I am so with you. It's probably best for either of us to just not start on Curran because there will be lots of embarrassing moments thereafter if we do.

  9. Erica says:

    I really need to start reading this series – It looks SO great and every one says such wonderful things.

  10. I haven't read this series so I couldn't read your review for fear of ruining it for myself! But I will say I am loving the lightsabre on the cover 😛 x

  11. Heidi says:

    Yes, it is SO great! Adult urban fantasy is really refreshing after so much YA. I really think you'd dig it.

  12. Heidi says:

    Haha, it's actually just a sword with light shining on it, but it's an awesome sword named Slayer that smokes when she gets really mad and eats undead for power. Which is pretty much as cool as a lightsaber, eh?

  13. chachic says:

    THIS is the book that made me fall in love with the series and Kate Daniels is still my favorite urban fantasy series now (although that's not saying much because I haven't read a lot in that genre). I love Kate and Curran as well, they're one of my favorite fictional couples. Sigh, really can't wait for Gunmetal Magic.

  14. Heidi says:

    Yay! I never get sick of hearing how people love the same things I do. This series has really sold me on urban fantasy in general, and I'm looking forward to trying some others like October Daye and Mercy Thompson once I'm caught up. I'm so excited for Gunmetal Magic! I loved Andrea's narrative. I may not fall for her quite as hard as I've fallen for Kate, but she's still completely awesome.

  15. […] 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 technology, Atlanta […]

  16. […] Questionable Client (Kate Daniels .5) Magic Bites (Kate Daniels 1) Magic Burns (Kate Daniels 2) Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels 3) Magic Mourns (Kate Daniels 3.5) Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels 4) Magic Dreams (Kate Daniels 4.5) […]

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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.