January 22, 2013 by Heidi
Salute Your Shorts is a regular feature here at Bunbury in the Stacks highlighting and reviewing short stories and novellas.
Title: Magic Gifts [Amazon|Goodreads]
Author: Ilona Andrews [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Standing: Kate Daniels 5.4 — Takes place at the same time as Gunmetal Magic
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published: December 24th, 2011 by Ilona Andrews/July 31st, 2012 by Ace
Format: Kindle edition; 100 pages
Source: Purchased (this novella comes along with the purchase of Gunmetal Magic, though I also received a free copy when the authors gave it away to fans for two weeks in 2011).
Spoilers!: This review and novella contain unavoidable spoilers for previous books in the series–proceed with caution!
If I was disappointed that 2012 did not mark the publication of a new Kate Daniels installment, it was largely stymied by the action-packed fun of Magic Gifts, which certainly takes the cake as my favorite of the Kate novellas to date.
Curran drops by Cutting Edge with the suggestion to treat Kate to a night out–a real dinner date of the sort they don’t really have. She should have realized it would never be a normal night, as it quickly descends into chaos as two navigators lose control of their vampires, one navigator ends up dead, and the dead woman’s mother dooms her younger child with the instrument that killed his sister. Needless to say, Kate and Curran feel the need to intercede, vowing that they will do everything in their power to save a young boy from meeting the navigator’s fate. They just have to cooperate with the People, not murder the child’s unfeeling mother and create political strife, and somehow remove a seemingly irremovable collar before it chokes the kid. Easy, right? Yeah, Kate doesn’t think so either.
After reading Gunmetal Magic, I couldn’t wait to see the other side of the story. I knew at least a couple of scenes that were coming, and I was positively gleeful as Kate interacted with a very pissed off Andrea at Cutting Edge and stormed off to face a not-so-mythological Norse creature. But more than her relationship with Andrea, Magic Gifts highlights the solid bond that has formed between Kate and Curran. I love seeing these two interact as a couple. Their banter is oddly sweet, but only from that insider’s view–it could look bitter and spiteful from the outside. It is clear how firmly these two are together now. I love seeing the fierce pride and protectiveness they feel for one another, and also their humor. Kate’s thoughts are continually conscious of His Furriness, knowing that nobody sees him the way she does, and never having to question that he returns her feelings in kind.
Magic Gifts also continues with Andrews’ oft-used theme of protectiveness toward children. I love that these incredible BAMF characters will utilize all of their power, influence, physical and mental cunning to save the life of a single child. We’ve seen this before with Julie, Curran’s acceptance of Andrea despite her beastkin status (and consequent childhood), the protectiveness of youth in the Pack like Derek and Ascanio–to me it speaks volumes of Kate and Curran that they will stop the world from turning if it will save a kid.
We also get to see interaction with a group we haven’t had to deal with before–the Vikings. They’re about what you would expect. Drunk, violent, and complete pains. On top of which, Kate is also backed into a corner forcing her to intercede in the politics of the Guild as a veteran mercenary, despite the fact that she has quite enough politics in her life as Consort. As a self-proclaimed Norse-mythology fangirl, I was so excited to see the authors finally tackle it, and would love to see it come back into play in future books.
There was so much action in Magic Gifts, it’s hard to believe it’s merely 1/3 the length of a full Kate Daniels novel, particularly when my enjoyment was in no way cut in thirds. An absolute must read for any Kate Daniels fan.
I’ve also reviewed:
A 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)
Magic Slays (Kate Daniels 5)
Magic Tests (Kate Daniels 5.3)
Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels 5.5/Kate Daniels Universe 1)