Salute Your Shorts: Magic Dreams by Ilona Andrews


June 13, 2012 by Heidi

Salute Your Shorts

Salute Your Shorts is a weekly (ish) feature here at Bunbury in the Stacks highlighting and reviewing short stories and novellas. Everyone is welcome to join at any time, just grab the pic above and shoot me a link in the comments so that I can include your post in a roundup.

Magic Dreams by Ilona AndrewsTitle: Magic Dreams in Hexed [Amazon|GoodReads]
Author: Ilona Andrews [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Standing: A Kate Daniels novella taking place between books 4 and 5 of the series.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published: June 7th, 2011 by Berkley
Format: Paberback; 326 pages. Magic Dreams alone is 68 pages.
Borrowed from my local library as part of Hexed, which also includes stories by Yasmine Galenorn, Allyson James, and Jeanne C. Stein. I’ve posted the Magic Dreams cover instead of the Hexed one because I LIKE KITTY! <— Mature adult writing here.
Alternative Source: Magic Dreams will be available as an e-book single as of June 26th, 2012.
Spoilers!: Magic Dreams is a Kate Daniels novella, but as it stars side characters, it can be read with very minimal spoilers for Kate Daniels.  Still, I recommend you first read Magic Bites, Magic Burns, Magic Strikes, and Magic Bleeds, largely because they are awesome.

From New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews comes a tale of darkness, desire, and werecats.

Alpha Pack leader Jim Shrapshire has always been the strong, silent type. But something has come over him–a magic force currently residing in one of the Pack’s headquarters. Were-tigress Dali Harimau has always wished she could get Jim’s attention–but now he needs her help.

Stricken with a magic-sickness, Jim needs Dali’s flair for magic. And to save him, she must challenge a powerful, dark being to a battle of wits.

Now, if the line “a tale of darkness, desire, and werecats” doesn’t make you guffaw and totally want to check this novella out, I’m not sure what I can say to convince you, but I’m going to try.  Because, dear friends, Magic Dreams, easily captured the roll of my favorite novella thus far in this series.  Maybe it was because I was coming off of a couple of fairly mediocre reads and Magic Dreams totally picked me up, but more than that I think it’s because it was a fresh and unique look into this world I’ve come to love.

In Magic Mourns, I was excited for the change of perspective from Kate to Andrea.  I love Andrea, but I’m not going to lie, I was even more excited after experiencing the switch to Dali in Magic Dreams.  Kate and Andrea had different voices, and are very different women, but at the same time they’re both incredibly strong women who get paid to kick butt and take names.  Dali is completely different, and much more relatable to the average woman.  She is incredibly intelligent, but also lacking in the confidence department.  She’s blind (What up homegirl?  Wanna compare perscriptions?), sucks at fighting to the point that blood can make her puke (though we did see some killer magic skills in the arena), and her own mother doesn’t think she’s pretty.  We all know it’s pretty impossible to think you’re pretty if your own mother doesn’t see it.  As a result, she fails to recognize her utility, even as she seeks to prove it.  When Jim, who she’s completely in love with but also completely convinced would never look twice at her, comes to her for help only she can provide, Dali will go to every length imaginable to save his life.

I loved being in Dali’s head, even if she was a bit frustrating and defensive at times.  Who among us hasn’t been there when we’re trying to convince ourselves we don’t suck?  I loved an insider’s view on her dopey disorientation when she first shifts to her tiger form, as it usually takes her a couple of minutes to remember what’s going on and in the meantime is very easily distracted by smells.  The way she reacts to Jim was adorably hilarious to me.  She gets all girly, for example when she comes home and smells him in her house:

Oh my gods. What if I walked in and he was naked on my bed?
I would lose it. I would lose it right there and never get it back, whatever “it” was.

Also, I feel like because Dali’s more academically minded, and because she comes from a family with a long history of magic, we got a better explanation of just how today’s dilapidated Atlanta came to be:

People said the magic came out of nowhere, but my grandmother told me she felt it building for years.  It made total sense, considering the historical pattern of the First Shift, the one that was lost in antiquity.  Approximately six thousand years ago, Homo sapiens had built a great civilization based solely on magic.  It generated so much magic that the balance between technology and magic was permanently disrupted.  The world seesawed way over to the technology side to compensate.  The ancient civilization suffered an apocalypse, and the human race began rebuilding, this time using technology as its base.  Of course, they created a civilization so technologically advanced that the seesaw shifted once again.  The magic had to come back and crashed the party.  Now it flooded the world in waves, one moment here, eating tall buildings, fueling spells, permitting manifestations, and the next gone.  Apocalypse in slow motion.

And finally, we learn a very interesting tidbit about Kate and her magic’s affect on technology while Dali attempts to explain the situation:

“Ever notice how when Kate gets stressed out the phones stop working?”
”The phones are unreliable as a rule,” Jim said.
I shook my head.  “No, it’s Kate.  She generate so much magic, she short-circuits tech if she isn’t careful.  I do the same thing, except I control mine better.  She can’t shoot a gun either.  I’ve watched her practice and it either goes wide or doesn’t fire at all.  And she has no clue.  Watch her sometime: She will stomp in, grab the phone, make that growly noise, and walk away.  Ten minutes later you can order takeout on the same phone.  It’s the funniest thing.”

Okay, okay, I’m done peppering you with quotes for now.  I realize I did an awful lot of that considering this was such a short and quick read.  Couldn’t resist!  The plot was, as ever, excellently paced, a perfect balance between romance and danger.  The mythology used this time was all Eastern Asian, largely Japanese, and I ate it up.  I would love to see more of this!

At any rate, I highly recommend this novella for fans of Kate Daniels, like I said, it’s been my favorite so far.  Now here’s hoping Ilona Andrews will write a Derek novella at some point!

Alyssa talks On the Day I Died by Candace Flemming over at Books Take You Places


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  1. VeganYANerds says:

    I know Ilona’s name but I’ve never read anything by her and now you have me very interested! Dali sounds like a great character too :)

    • Heidi says:

      I’m loving the Kate Daniels series, which is written by a husband/wife team. It’s my first adult Urban Fantasy series, and has really gotten me interested in the genre in general.

  2. I want to snuggle with that tiger from the cover! He looks fluff-tastic. I am interested in Urban Fantasy too and really WANT to like it but need to sample some more of it! Thanks for sharing this one x

    • Heidi says:

      Sure thing! LOVE the white tiger. I was kind of obsessed with them as a kid. I love pretty much any white animals, actually, I’m kind have a think for the arctic. And yes, there is a ton of UF out there, I think you juts have to find a series that’s right for you. =)

  3. I love this feature, Heidi! I’ve been meaning to read more anthologies and short stories (although I basically review to read mini e-books inbetween books in a series if you get what I’m saying).

    I also haven’t read anything Ilona Andrews has written and I know that I should because her books sound right up my alley.

    • Heidi says:

      Thanks, Tara! A lot of the ones I end up doing are in-between e-books as well. That’s technically what this one is, but I do read a lot of shorts that get published online and in anthologies as well. I love them.

      This UF series is awesome, and there’s also another series that’s Sci Fi/romance that I’m excited to check out (I believe Fate’s Edge is the first in that series, but I could be wrong).

  4. […] Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers Magic Dreams by Ilona Andrews Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel Let’s Talk About Sync, Baby BEA Wrap-Up With Bated Breath: BEA […]

  5. […] 1) Magic Burns (Kate Daniels 2) Magic Mourns (Kate Daniels 3.5) Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels 4) Magic Dreams (Kate Daniels 4.5) Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted in Adult, Review and […]

  6. […] read lately since I haven’t seen them reviewed). So instead I will refer you to this review of Magic Dreams written by Heidi from Bunbury in the Stacks (whose blog I’d definitely recommend checking out […]

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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.