December 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.
Title: Magic Tests in An Apple for the Creature [Amazon|Goodreads]
Author: Ilona Andrews [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Standing: Kate Daniels 5.3 –Takes place just after Magic Slays.
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Published: September 4th, 2012 by Ace Hardcover
Format: Hardcover; 336 pages. Magic Tests alone is 32 pages.
Source: Borrowed from my local library.
True strength isn’t in killing–or ignoring–your opponent, it’s in having the will to shield those who need your protection.
Magic Tests is an Ilona Andrews short recently published in the anthology, An apple for the Creature, though I believe it was previously published on the authors’ website. Significantly shorter than the novellas we’ve previously enjoyed between books, Magic Tests gives us our first foray into the perspective of Julie, Kate and Curran’s feisty foster teen. Because Julie is a teen, Magic Tests comes across as a much more YA installment in the Kate Daniels series, making it stand out from our glimpses at Jim, Dali, Andrea, and Raphael.
Insisting that Julie requires a “proper” education, Kate drags Julie to a headmaster’s office where she is certain to be miserable. Julie just wants to work at Cutting Edge Investigations with Kate and Andrea, and is determined to do so, even if it means getting herself kicked out of yet another school. To her surprise, however, the headmaster doesn’t seem to want to talk to Julie about enrollment, instead, he is asking her assistance in locating a missing student. Julie’s unique brand of magic makes her uniquely qualified to help in such cases, and she happily accepts the commission, despite lingering suspicions that she’s being set up.
While I enjoyed Magic Tests, it was probably my least favorite story from the Kate Daniels universe thus far. I found the plot surprisingly predictable, perhaps just a little oversimplified when taken to a YA state of mind. It seemed too easy, neat, and tidy, which I suppose it had to be given the page length, but my mind craved more.
I’ve always been a fan of Julie (she’s scrappy, I love scrappy), and relished the opportunity to see her magical talents work from her own perspective, as well as garner those interesting tidbits on Kate that we always gather from outside perspectives. It’s easy to see her adoration of Kate and just as easy to see that even though Julie’s had some very rough times in her childhood, Kate works to make sure she gets a childhood. Compared to Kate or Andrea’s adolescence, Julie seems downright cosseted! This is a good thing though. Julie is smart, resourceful, and thanks to Kate and Curran, diplomatic. She’s learning just where to lean and when to push, and it’s nice to see Julie turning into the young woman we weren’t sure she would have the chance to become.
Magic Tests is worth your time if you can find this anthology at your library, but if like me you are only interested in the Ilona Andrews story, An Apple for the Creature is not worth your money.
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)
Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels 5.5/Kate Daniels Universe 1)
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Category Adult, Review, Salute Your Shorts, Young Adult | Tags: Ace Books, adult, Chinese mythology, crossover appeal, Greek mythology, review, Salute Your Shorts, shapeshifters, urban fantasy, young adult