This was a book I won over on the Gollancz Dark Fantasy Facebook page.
Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
This book is set on Earth but way, way in the future. Magic and mythology are no longer a thing of fiction and legend. Kate Daniels lives in a world where Magic and Tech fight for co-existence. When the Magic flares up, everything technological fails and dies - cars, phones, lights, guns etc. When the Tech kicks back in, the magic is not so strong - things like protective wards will fail. Kate is a skint mercenary for hire who cleans up the problems caused by Magic, however she is not prepared for the power struggle she finds herself caught up in when her Guardian is murdered and two magical fractions, The Masters of the Dead (necromancers) and the Pack (shape-shifters) collide.
First of all I’ll explain a bit about my reading habits. I used to have time to sit and just read solidly. Obviously since having the girls and with everything else going on - my reading habits have changed drastically. Now I take a new book over to the car. I read it in snatches between waiting for the kids to come out of school or clubs etc. and judge how good a book is by how fast it comes back over to the house and time is MADE to read it. At first I just read snippets of Magic Bites over a few days. But as more and more characters were introduced I was finding it hard to keep track and so it came back over to the house.
Once I sat and gave the book proper attention I was pretty quickly hooked into the story. I love the different take on vampires than we‘ve seen of late - you’ll find no inter human/vamp romance here. Vampires are powerful, vicious un-dead controlled by the necromancers who use them as weapons and scouts. The longer the vampire has been dead the less human-like and more monstrous and blood hungry it evolves into until with the oldest vampires - they are unrecognisable killing machines with not a hint of humanity. No rugged good looks or shiny sparkliness here then.
I find myself comparing this book a bit to The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. Kate almost reminded me a bit of Dresden (a Warlock PI for hire) in her attitude and bolshiness which in turn ends up putting those she cares about at risk. The Earth of the future is a scary one, inhabited by all sorts of powerful beasts that we had presumed to be those of fictional stories.
I did enjoy this book and I like how, as the climax drew closer, the imagery of the violence got more descriptive with a few ‘ew’ points that I hadn’t been expecting. It made the right impact and wasn’t over done in my opinion. There was a lot of humour and not to much schmaltzy romance. There were hints at sexual tension between Kate and a few of the male characters (both human and otherwise) but not so much that you know instantly who or even if she’ll end up with anyone in the next book Magic Burns. I like that - I get fed up sometimes of reading these genre of books for them to just come down to a romance in the end - I like that there is a story.
I would say that if you like things like the True Blood books or The Dresden Files then you would definitely like this. Lots of action, lots of humour, some sexual tension, a kick arse heroine and skip loads of mythological and paranormal beasties - vampires, shape shifters, zombies… oh my!
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
If you'd like to have known more - have any pointers on future reviews or simply have recommendations of similar books you think I'd enjoy please drop me a comment.