Friday, July 8, 2011

Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews - review



Usually, I love the covers of these Kate Daniels novels...the main character is striking, proud and looks like she doesn't take prisoners...but there's something off with the look of the woman on this cover..she looks awkward. Her skin has lightened up, her face looks harsh and the torso looks ODD. and her hand - see the hand gripping her right knee? (her right your left). looks like she's ready to tear off her own knee. ugh - not the best cover. At least Curran is still there - and her blade, her trusty sword is there. I guess they can't all be great covers....(why not though? Why can't the model look a little darker - like she started out? why lately have quite a few of the models become so damned pale? I don't get it.)

If you've been reading my reviews, then you know that Ilona Andrews is one of those authors (or in this case, team) that I automatically buy when I see the name. don't bother finding out what the book is about - if it says Ilona Andrews as author, then I'm buying it. The name will drive me to buy an anthology, also - even if their name is the only one I recognise. They are that good...or rather I enjoy their writing that much. So far, I haven't been disappointed - with either of their series. Magic Slays is no different. I enjoyed this book so much. It's like sitting down with someone you haven't seen in a while and being entertained, laughing and enjoying the whole experience right from the start.

The previous novel, Magic Bleeds was so good, the relationship with Curran and Kate progressing after a satisfyingly long time, that I actually worried that they couldn't possibly top themselves. I thought that now the couple would get all mushy - as usually happens when a previously banteringly, teasing couple finally admit that they love each other - you know, suddenly it's all about the love, and the devotion and the endearments that at times, makes me want to hurl. The whole dynamic of the couple usually changes so much that they are nothing like before...or a pale image of the way they were before. Thankfully - Kate and Curran continue with their challenging of each other. They don't treat each other like crap, but they also don't take crap from each other. Sure, they are completely obsessed with each other but they don't get all crazed and sickeningly sweet about it. I like this, because it's true to their personalities. I hate when a couple totally gets their personality changed because they become part of a couple. It just feels wrong. Now that's out of the way, I'm moving on...

As usual, with Magic Slays we get a wonderfully written book. Complete with danger, suspense and some mystery that gives a few twists. Kate's adoptive daughter runs away from school, Kate's best friend suddenly shows back up and the two begin to work together and Kate's business finally gets a client...only the client is Ghaston, the vampire driver. So once again Kate is wading through a potential minefield. Then she gets yet another client - a seemingly impossible case; someone who has been under survelliance by the Red Guard (the elite, uber-capable Red Guard) is kidnapped from under their noses and they want Kate to find him.....and oh yeah, if they don't find him bad things are going to happen to the whole city. There's this....machine...

Between the two cases, the runaway daughter, the tense returning friend and the pack politics that Kate has to deal with she kind of has her hands full. And she's trying not to completely disappear under Curran's rather intense regard.

The dialogue between characters and between the main characters in particular - amazing as usual. Snarky without being over the top mean, lots of laughs and lots of intenseness. The action was, as usual, damned good. The danger heart-pounding....Pretty much the whole narration was very enjoyable with a great mixture of laughs, snark, mystery, and Algebra.....yes....ALGEBRA. Within the pages of this otherwise excellent novel, is an algebra lesson. A fine example of applying algebraic equasions to a problem at this case the probability of a shapeshifter going loup... I had a head-scratching, ScoobyDoo "hrruhump?" moment. I'm not a math dummy, but I don't really enjoy algebra - or at least the upper limits of algebra where you have to figure out an equation and put in some variables and allow for alternate scenarios...and somehow Curran and the shapeshifters seem to have pulled some number out of their asses to use as a base for figuring out probabilities and likelihoods.....yeah. I have to admit that at first I tried to follow along with this suddenly info-dumping example of narration and then when I found myself NOT ENjoying this version of their writing...I skimmed past it. I figure that maybe ....possibly... (Hopefully?) ...maybe a math genius won a contest, or the authors lost a bet and they had to include some over-involved math lesson for the enjoyment of someone who loves to READ MATH AS FICTION...and I skimmed past it. This is the first time I've ever skimmed past any set of pages (much less a paragraph) written by Ilona Andrews. Okay. To each his own. I wonder if there is going to be more....because damned if I didn't get a bit frustrated and actually bored - the kind of boredom I feel when reading long passages of explanatory prose in other books. For me it was unecessary, and yet, I hope whoever this was for enjoyed it. And I was frankly surprised. Nevertheless - with the exception of that section, the novel was very enjoyable to me. Even though I ended up checking the cover of the book to make sure I was still reading about Kate and Curran and that it was really written by Ilona Andrews. Okay. LOL! Seriously, did not know whether to laugh or sigh there. Maybe both would be appropriate. Was it a joke? Was it a bet lost? A contest won? Seriously, it didn't fit in with their normal way of writing....but with so many fine novels, I'm just going to laugh that one off. The rest of the book was great, and really - except for it feeling like infodump and a math lesson - it wasn't really that bad....oh Hell. Yes that part was. I didn't like that small little part, but Oh Well. g

There is also an Oh No, It Didn't moment toward the end. OMGosh, something horrific happens to someone.......but more would be spoilers. No spoilers allowed....oh wow, would a mention of that whole algebra loup formula be a spoiler? LOL - I don't know. Anyway, the book kicked ass. Even the algebra lesson kicked ass in a totally infodumping way. Curran - infodumping were-beast, King of the Beasts and algebra! Oh Yeah!

If you haven't bought Magic Slays* to read yet (most who follow the Andrews most likely have, it took me awhile to sit down and review this and the book has been out for a while----I was stunned with the math thing.....) go get it - it's definitely worth it. Can't wait until the next one. I want to see what's going to happen next!

*There are four links to different excerpts of Magic Slays and one link for an excerpt of Magic Bleeds....just in case you've never ever read any of the Magic Books. Their blog is also very entertaining.


  1. Wow, i've never read this series before. in fact, Ilona Andrews is a new for me author. i admit that i've been trying to win some books from this author couple times, but still no luck for me :) and thank you for the review, Mardel !

  2. You can click on the links and get a great taste of their writing. They also have free online fiction up...a book about Curran (Kate Daniel's man) and some other short stories. Fun writing.