Salute Your Shorts: Retribution Clause by Ilona Andrews


June 14, 2013 by Heidi

Salute Your Shorts

Salute Your Shorts is a regular feature here at Bunbury in the Stacks highlighting and reviewing short stories and novellas.

Hex Appeal ed by P.N. ElrodTitle: Retribution Clause in Hex Appeal [Goodreads]
Author: Ilona Andrews (anthology ed. by P.N. Elrond) [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Standing: Kate Daniels 5.6
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published: June 5th, 2012 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Format: Paperback; 356 pages. Retribution Clause is 37 pages.
Source: Borrowed from my local library.
Spoilers!: Surprisingly, you can read this short story without any prior knowledge of the Kate Daniels universe.  No spoilers involved!

Have you ever experienced that crushing moment of confusion and disappointment when you open a story expecting a beloved character name to jump out at you and receive something completely different?  Thus was my reaction to the first paragraphs of Retribution Clause by Ilona Andrews.  Adam?  Color me confused, particularly since I’ve been reading Mercy Thompson as of late and firmly have that particular UF Adam down as the UF Adam in my mind.  But…but!  All initial deflating was quickly brushed aside for a fast-paced and incredibly engrossing short that gave me an entirely new and unexpected glimpse into the post-shift world of magic and technology.

Retribution Clause is a story that takes place in the Kate Daniels world we’ve come to know, but has nothing to do with the Pack, the People, or even Atlanta.  It’s all about life insurance in Phily.  Specifically, Adam and his partner Siroun work for an insurance firm doing some of their more interesting work.  Interesting because people can now add a “retribution clause” to their life insurance policy assuring that if they are murdered, their murderer will be hunted down and killed, and it’s Adam and Siroun’s job to pull the trigger.

If you don’t feel an almost instant twinge of recognition and affection for Adam, you must not be a fan of some of Kate’s…skeezier friends.  That’s right, this hulking brute is connected to our plot by none other than Saimon, his more-powerful cousin.  And of course Siroun’s her own particular brand of BAMF as well.  Will this pair have any place in the rest of the main Kate Daniels series?  I have no idea.  But I’d certainly welcome them to the party if they at any time decide to head south.

How this mind boggling writing duo manages to pack in this much sexual tension, heart-pumping action, and real emotion into 37 pages, and still have time to highlight their ever-present themes like protecting children, I honest to goodness have no idea.  I can only say that I certainly didn’t leave disappointed, Kate or no Kate (but thank goodness it’s less than two months to more Kate).

Not an absolute must read, but probably my favorite of the Kate short stories (which I’m counting separate from novellas); recommended if you love this world and want some more Ilona Andrews to tide you over.

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)
Magic Gifts (Kate Daniels 5.4)
Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels 5.5/Kate Daniels World 1)

On the Edge (The Edge 1)
Bayou Moon (The Edge 2)


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  1. I thought of Mercy’s Adam at first too! (But, then again, it’s a little hard not to think of Adam 24/7!(; ) Anyway, I completely agree – so much was packed into this and I felt as if I not only knew the characters, but understood and felt for them too So many authors struggle to do this in three hundred pages, but of course Ilona Andrews does it in 37. Great review, Heidi! I can’t wait for Kate in just a few weeks!

    • Heidi says:

      Right? ♥ Adam.

      I LOVE how Ilona Andrews manage to pack so much awesome into a short page length, it’s crazy how I can become invested in their characters so quickly, but I love it. SO PUMPED FOR NEW KATE.

  2. janicu says:

    I’m glad you posted this review – this short story completely bypassed my radar, and I thought I was paying attention to the Kate Daniels world. I’m going to have to look for this one. And now I’m very interested to see if these new characters show up in the main story.

    • Heidi says:

      Yeah, the crazy thing is, this story’s been out for like a year! Seems like it flew under a lot of our radars for some time. I’m really kind of hoping these characters DO show up in Atlanta, I was a fan of them, and there is that connection there through Saimon.

  3. Chachic says:

    What Janice said, this short story bypassed my radar and obviously I need to read it because it’s set in the Kate Daniels world even though it doesn’t have any of the characters we are familiar with.

    • Heidi says:

      Yeah, I only found this one by obsessively checking the order of books in the Kate Daniels series back when I was reviewing Gunmetal Magic. I was happy to come across it and find my library had a copy! Def worth a read.

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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.