REVIEW: Magic Rises

Ilona Andrews
Magic rises (kate daniels #6)
ace
urban fantasy
july 30, 2013

Blurb via Goodreads:

Atlanta is a city plagued by magical problems. Kate Daniels will fight to solve them—no matter the cost.

 

Mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate, Curran, the Beast Lord, are struggling to solve a heartbreaking crisis. Unable to control their beasts, many of the Pack’s shapeshifting children fail to survive to adulthood. While there is a medicine that can help, the secret to its making is closely guarded by the European packs, and there’s little available in Atlanta.

 

Kate can’t bear to watch innocents suffer, but the solution she and Curran have found threatens to be even more painful. The European shapeshifters who once outmaneuvered the Beast Lord have asked him to arbitrate a dispute—and they’ll pay him in medicine. With the young people’s survival and the Pack’s future at stake, Kate and Curran know they must accept the offer—but they have little doubt that they’re heading straight into a trap…

As you all know by now, the Kate Daniels books are some of the top of their urban fantasy kind, riddled with intensely cool folklore, mythology and legends. That’s the way the world it houses works. Dragons are real. Witches and mages practice their magic regularly and often violently. Gods and goddesses condescend to walk amongst mere mortals. And Kate Daniels is still there to challenge every single one of them. By this point in the series, she’s not alone either. She’s the alpha consort to Curran, the leader of one of the largest Packs of shapeshifters in what used to be the United States, centrally located in the ruined Atlanta, Georgia. Someone in the Pack need a little fair and balanced decision on a tricky issue? No problem, Kate’s your gal. Is that minotaur down the street being a douche cracker and eating up the neighborhood pets? She can handle that one, too. But this time, Kate has to face with her still sort-of-new family the greatest crisis of all, and she doesn’t have a solution.

When one of the Pack’s children goes loup, a condition by which the shifter literally goes crazy, a stone-cold killer who usually doesn’t come back from the condition and has to be put down, Kate is helpless to do anything. It’s an affliction that takes far too many shifter children and it’s a shifter parent’s worst nightmare. This time it’s the final straw. Curran has a plan that takes him, Kate and several of their closest and most capable shifters to Europe, to the cusp of the Carpathian Mountains in search of a magical and herbal remedy that is their only hope of keeping even more shifter children from an otherwise futile sickness. Though they know they walk into a trap, what else would a bunch of bad-ass yet family-oriented and desperate group like them do?

Last year we had a break from the Daniels series with a full-length installment featuring Kate’s best friend, the beast kin Andrea. While it was a very good book in its own right and very touching to read the personal history that shapes her in the Daniels books, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’ve been pining that much harder for a return to Kate herself. And his Furriness, her thoroughly vexing (albeit flaming hot) alpha lion lover. In my personal reading world, Kate just cannot be topped and this installment proves it a thousand fold, bringing yet another book literally overflowing with action, twists, heartbreak and joy. It doesn’t feel like it’s only book six, but rather as if the series has extended far beyond. However, I get the feeling this time we’re finally beginning to see that bend in the road. I’ll be incredibly sad when the series arc is completed.

I loved how Magic Rises takes us out of Atlanta, and while it seethes no less ferociously than anywhere else in the world now that magic ravages it regularly, getting the opportunity to see how magic shapes the European sectors was a plus to the worldbuilding. We get new visuals and cultures that show yo can still experience culture shock on some level despite seeing it all through the eyes of some of the best shifter fighters the world has to offer. Kate and her team have to make major adjustments and precautions to counter the lies, manipulation and dangerous traps awaiting them when they arrive to protect the pregnant daughter of a thug warlord intent on further building his empire. In exchange, they just might get the solution to their children’s’ loup dilemma.

Unfortunately, for me, I think I found Curran’s behavior too distracting to truly 100% appreciate the detail Andrews works into the book this time. From the moment Curran sees the latest child to go loup, he already knows what must be done and there’s a distance that builds between him and Kate. While all the drama is building with the opposing packs present that have a stake in who gets a mountain pass depending on how/if their charge gives birth, there’s an equally intense debate raging between Curran and Kate and it DROVE ME NUTS. While I’ve always found Curran irresistible in that aggravating, hot, frustrating, lickable and drooling way, I’ve never quite been as in his court as Kate is. I think I must have more of a thing for Kate because I’ve never really trusted Curran completely with her heart. And this time, suffice to say, he more than plays with it. While he feels he has his reasons, it still DROVE ME NUTS. And yeah, Kate can totally handle him, but the fact remains – he can still break her, and she knows it. I dunno, I’m still not sure, but if nothing else the visceral passion that exudes from this pair is always hand-waving-over-my-face intense. They, as usual, play hard. If you get my drift. You do, yep.

Kate herself gets some major upgrades in character development, and we see a few more details of what she may have inherited from her infamous father (Especially power-wise and man is it cool. And creepy.), whose shadow grows more and stretches further in her direction than ever before. We get to see a major player from her father’s camp, and his mannerisms and actions are somewhat confusing. I was wondering exactly where his loyalties lie. Of course, there’s no way at all Kate can trust the man, but if mixed signals ever took human form, her father’s man and Curran could have made a competition out of who was better at it in this book.

I loved this book and it’s elevated now to my most favorite in the series to date. Thankfully after Kate and Curran move on a little from their issues, I could concentrate on the rest of the book more and appreciate how complex it’s all becoming. There’s some truly heartbreaking stuff that happens, to more than one major supporting character, and by the end of the book I was literally crying for all they’d sacrificed. The best twist comes at the very end, though, and while nothing could ever make up for what happens to some of the characters, it really was a beautiful twist because of what they all go through to get it. I’m not sure how in the heck you could possibly expect this book to be topped, but the authors’ manage it every time, making me laugh (Seriously, it’s so amusing how every single character in these books is a bad-ass killer and there’s never a shortage of interesting descriptions for them!) and it’s pretty much a cruelty of reality that we have to wait again now for another book. For any length of time. But I will. It’s worth it.

Rating: Five Bad-Ass Clawed Scoops

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6 comments

    • Thank you, Angie! Been out of the review-writing world long enough now that I worry about rambling on about nothing lol. This book was so enjoyable though it was almost easy to get out why I loved it so much.

  1. Agreed. Loved every moment of the roller coaster ride. I can’t believe the Andrews team have been able to up the ante with every book so far. The twists and turns on this one were awesome, sad and gorgeous. I can’t wait for next one.

    • I continue to be SO amazed at the level of quality in all aspects of their books. The worldbuilding, the tension and just all of it. Amazing reads for sure! :D

  2. Pingback: Review of Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews | Fantasy Cafe | Reviews of Fantasy and Science Fiction Books

  3. Loved reading this too! The whole thing with Curran drove me nuts as well – I knew he was doing it for a reason but that didn’t make it any less annoying. But everything else was done well (the fight scenes and getting to know Hugh better) that I wasn’t super frustrated by all the drama. I seriously can’t wait for the next book.

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