June 13, 2012 by Heidi
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.
Title: 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.
Source: 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