After finishing Bayou Moon, I had a hard time reading anything that wasn't Ilona Andrews so I took a break from all other books, and started Magic Bleeds. I'd bought it recently as a present to myself, and I knew I'd be ignoring other books for it. I think it was a huge feat of will to wait this long both to buy it and to read it.
This is the fourth book in the Kate Daniels series:
The Premise: It's been a little while after the events of the last book, and Kate is back to work for the Order. During her usual rounds, she's sent to investigate a bar brawl in the city. The routine job turns out to be anything but when she discovers that a customer was skewered on a pole, and his body is ground zero for some kind of virulent, magic induced-disease. Kate digs deeper and learns that a strange hooded man has been moving steadily north from Florida leaving behind outbreaks and chaos. In the meantime, Kate and Curran's relationship is entering unknown territory, but with the two of them, of course it isn't simple.
My Thoughts: I'm going to talk about Kate and Curran first (in a non-spoilery way). I was a little worried, as I always am when I begin an urban fantasy series, that the romance was going to be dragged out forever. Yes, I do like it when there's a slow build to these things, but at a certain point you just want something to HAPPEN already. I was pleased that we were getting somewhere in the previous book, Magic Strikes, but you never know with Kate, who is very stubborn, especially about putting people in danger because of who she is, and Curran, who takes "control freak" to a new level. Not to mention that neither of these two are what I'd call experts in relationships. For a long time I've enjoyed watching the dance that these two have been doing, wondering what would happen next but having no idea. I'm happy I now know.
Magic Bleeds is a book where things that were hinted at in earlier books begin to progress to a new level. I've already talked about there being more focus on the relationship with Curran, but the other part is Kate's past beginning to catch up with her. Magic Bleeds makes it very clear that the laying low she's been doing for her whole life is not working any more, and recent events are linked to that part of her life. There is some fascinating back story that is revealed in Magic Bleeds. I feel like we're really getting closer to The Big Showdown now. I want to know more, but it's hard to guess what Kate is going to face next because these books are very creative in their use of mythology - there's gods of many pantheons here.
Other than that I think this is a book which meets expectations set up by the rest of the series. Kate is her usual self with her bulldozing-rather-than-being-diplomatic persona (although she does show some restraint a time or two). Kate doesn't do this out of stupidity, but rather a stubborn need to protect others even at the expense of herself. We have appearances from all our favorites - Jim, Derek, Julie, Dali, Aunt B, and Andrea. Not to mention Saiman, who brings creepy to new levels. There are also a couple of new faces. (I'm beginning to see it as a Andrews signature if the book has the main character mentoring a wayward kid). And of course, the ever brilliant world building which I always end up feeling pleased by. There's a lot of thought that seems to go into it - the culture and customs of different Atlanta groups (shapeshifters, the Guild, the Order, the Family), the explanation behind the magic and the mythology; it all comes together to create a rich and vibrant backdrop for the story. All of this plus a hint of humor.
Overall: An especially satisfying installment to this excellent series. This one has a little bit more focus on the relationship between Curran and Kate, but it's very well balanced with the action and the plot. I think Andrews is a favorite of many, so I'm probably preaching to the choir right now, but if you happen to be reading this and haven't read this series, um... please do. And give it until the second book. I love this series and so far I haven't felt disappointed yet.
Cool Link: Special Excerpt from Magic Bleeds from Curran's POV (warning- spoilers)
Angieville - "Every single expectation met. And then some" --- (I loved this review. Encapulates how I feel very well)
Chachic's Book Nook - "I still can’t stop thinking about this book"
Emily and Her Little Pink Notes - 5/5
Fantasy Cafe - 9/10
Breezing Through Books (Dual Review) - A grades from both readers
SFF Chat - liked with reservations
Tempting Persephone - Loved it
Literary Escapism - "another fabulous story and just reaffirms how much I adore the writing style of Ilona Andrews"
Calico_reaction – Worth the cash (I liked this review! Some spoilers in the middle, but warning when to skip ahead)