Book 1: Magic Bites –
Book 2: Magic Burns –
Book 3: Magic Strikes –
Novella – Magic Mourns in Must Love Hellhounds anthology –
Book 4: Magic Bleeds -
***** This review has spoilers for earlier books, read at your own peril! *****
The Premise: Kate Daniels has quit the Order and gone into business on her own, backed by Atlanta's shapeshifter Pride. Unfortunately she didn't leave the Order on good terms and they've done all they can to sully her reputation. Business is so slow it's non-existent, and Kate has been twiddling her thumbs for months. Then two things happen. First, a vampire escapes the control of its navigator, and Ghastek asks for Kate's help to contain it. Then a member of the Red Guard hires her to look into the disappearance of an engineer and applied magic-theorist along with the project he was working on. These are both simple enough assignments on the surface, but much more rides on Kate understanding whats really going on.
My Thoughts: Whenever I start a Kate Daniels story, I expect to be pulled into a high action melee spiced up with a bit of romance courtesy of the Beast Lord. In this aspect, Magic Slays delivers exactly as promised. Once chapter one begins, Kate is back to business. Disaster strikes when a vampire gets loose and then Kate finally gets a job, but it seems too simple a job for the Red Guard to be paying her to do it. Of course it isn't long at all until Kate is up to her elbows in trouble, but the difference here is that this job requires more finesse than Kate has shown in the past. Magic Slays has a more restrained Kate, who tries to use more investigation than muscle.
The story is also a little different because Kate's life is different. This book has the same Kate, but she's no longer with the Order nor does she live alone in her Atlanta apartment. Now she lives in the Pack stronghold, and her day-to-day frustrations include her status within the Pack, trying to start up a business, and mentoring a group of teenaged misfits, including her own ward, Julie. This makes Magic Slays the first book in probably the next chapter in Kate's life, and for that reason I found it very different from the rest of the series, but in a good way. This feels like a "turning point" book. It feels like Kate finally has self-made family around her, and I also felt like Kate is beginning to make concrete plans for the final confrontation she's been heading towards throughout the series.
In the romance front, things are also different. For the longest time, Kate has been dancing around a romantic entanglement with Curran, but now they're in a committed relationship. Things aren't completely stable however. Usually when there is a slow burning romance over a series of books, the magic can disappear once a couple finally gets together, but that isn't the case here. I thought that the way Curran and Kate's relationship progressed in Magic Slays made it one of the best books I've read with a couple after they finally hooked up. I loved that things were still being ironed out, that they were still learning how to live with each other, and that they both still had insecurities. They're happy, but at the same time, they're human and this book reflects that. I loved that they're both essentially the same characters and being together doesn't change who they are. They still have the same back-and-forth relationship after they're together but we know that they love each other.
Overall: Another great installment. I don't know how many ways I can say the same thing after I read one of these books, so just imagine me pressing this book into your hands, nodding enthusiastically. If you haven't read this series...seriously, read it will you? I think the last one I read always ends up being my favorite. The great draw for me is the mix of great worldbuilding (a post-apocalyptic Atlanta, flooded by waves of magic and technology), action, and romance, but what elevates it even beyond that is a snarky brand of humor that's used judiciously. Smiling because of Kate's exchanges with Curran or best friend Andrea? Now that's real chicken soup for the soul.
Buy: Amazon | Powell's | The Book Depository
Chachic's Book Nook - positive
Angieville - positive ("Crunchy Kate goodness at its best")
One More Page - positive
SFF Chat - positive
Calico reaction - 8 (Excellent)
Fantasy Book Cafe - 8/10
Smexy Books - A
Lurv a la Mode - Four scoops (out of 5)
One More Page - positive
Fiction Vixen - A
Babbling about Books, and More - B+