I know, I know! I talk a lot about Ilona Andrews. And Jim Butcher. People can say what they want about the choices, but when it comes to Urban Fantasy, authors could do a lot worse than to emulate these two. Both authors are fantastic in their fields, and in cross-genre chracterization. I mean a Wizard living in modern day Chicago with the attitude of a White Hat in the wild west and a warrior-merc living in a semi-post-apocalyptic Atlanta...who comes up with this stuff? Ilona Andrews and Jim Butcher.
So let's talk about Ilona Andrews and Magic Bites. Typically I hate talking about books I really like. Good books are like Kryptonite for a deconstruction critic. Like water to a cat I want to shake them off and start with something a little dryer that I can sink my teeth into. But, I'm finding that Flash Reviews are the perfect length to get out some good words in between the longer reviews I have planned for books like City Stained Red by Sam Sykes and other works that I need to get out of the way so I can clear my Bookshelf-O-Shame.
Magic Bites is a genre blending Urban Fantasy that teeters on the bridge of Fantasy Romance with a clawed toe that never quite passes the line. Instead, they slap at each other like toddlers until Mama Ilona tells them to get back to their side before she sicks a Vamp on them. Set in Atlanta, the story tells of a time when magic and technology are constantly at war with each other. At some point in the story's timeline, Magic came back into the world and it's constantly fighting for dominance with technology. Normal people will be walking down the street for days, hours, weeks, and then BANG! Wizards throwing fireballs at each other, were-tigers bounding around, etc.. This creates some fantastic drama because often the story becomes more complex during magic and vice versa with characters not always being what they appear to be.
The main character, Kate Daniels...Oh my god! I love Kate Daniels so much. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this character. The pacing for her background is given in spurts so short that no matter what you may think about her at any given time, you never know everything. There's a lot of pressure for female characters to go toe to toe with their male counterparts, and I just want to point out that that's crap. Not every female character has to be a role model to women everywhere, just like male characters don't have to be. It's fiction. It's escapism. But, that being he case, Kate Daniels is one kick-ass female character. Powerful in magic, a warrior with a sword as well as numerous other weapons. Kate has no problems taking out vampires on the street or drop-kicking Were-Lions. She has problems being frilly, which comes out more in the first book, but that doesn't dull some of the romance.
That being the case, Magic Bites paces the romance in between the story perfectly and kind of sets a standard that I really like in books. The main character, like I said, isn't frilly. She's a warrior, and her love interest, (who I won't mention, even though it's not really a secret,) isn't exactly a tea-cozy either. Instead of forcing an awkward romance, Andrews perfects her characters by playing each character to their strengths. Their romance plays out in their love of battle, in snarky comments and their knowledge of each others buttons and how to play to them. What I mean, is that while the romance is there, they don't force it down your throat like some other books...*Cough* Twilight *Cough*
Anyway, enough Rant. Magic Bites main story is that Kate's mentor died and it's up to her, a loner who doesn't really mix well with magic folk or law enforcement, to find out who killed him and why. It's the first in series by Ilona Andrews, with several spin offs and a series that is actually still going. Get hooked and be ready for gods, monsters, Vampires, were-creatures of all size and specifications, and a sword that just can't be stopped. I give Magic Bites five out of five every dang time