READ JUNE 2013
ONLINE SUMMARY: “New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews invites you to experience the first novel in the “intriguing world” (Locus) of Kate Daniels with this special edition of Magic Bites…
Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t want it any other way…
This special edition includes in-depth information about the world of Kate Daniels, with descriptions of its characters and factions. Explore Kate’s Atlanta like never before with answers to FAQ and a quiz to find your place there. And don’t miss the prequel story “A Questionable Client,” as well as scenes of events in Magic Bites from Curran’s point of view.
MY REVIEW: Were I giving stars, I’d say two, max. Two stars is generous enough, since, by goodreads standards, it supposedly indicates “It was okay,” when, in fact, it wasn’t okay at all.
Despite all the hype, all the glowing,absolutely gushing reviews — it seems that if people like this series, they practically drool over it — I put off reading it for a long time, though I’m not sure why. Finally, I succumbed. Shoulda trusted my instincts, folks. It’s hard to think of another book I’ve disliked so much, but which isso widely acclaimed.
First of all, the writing itself didn’t impress me. Clunky for the most part. Choppy, too. Makes Hemingway read like Proust. Editing would certainly not have hurt, both story- and copy-editing. Yeah, here and there, there were passages I really liked, but they were brief and few and far between.
I’m an urban fantasy lover, and a lover of tales about magic, but I just couldn’t get into the magic, here. The world-building seems unfinished, and woefully under-explained. There are simply way too many WTF moments to slough off with a casual “We’ll explain more later in the series.” For this reader, there likely won’t be a “later in the series.” If the authors had just explained more, given more detail, it would certainly have helped. I felt like I woke up in the middle of this unusual universe, and never really got a handle on it, largely due to lack of help from the authors.
Good characters, for me, can help overcome a lot of short-comings, on occasion saving an otherwise problematic read, but that’s definitely not the case with Magic Bites. The only characters I even came close to liking were Jim, the shape-changer Pack’s security chief, and Mahon, the Pack’s enforcer. Unfortunately, their appearances are way too brief. As for the two main characters, I really disliked Kate, and pretty much hated Curran. Just a glance at my books would show I like it when, to borrow from Rachel Caine’s title, chicks kick butt. For me, though, Kate Daniel’s is just too much of a bad-ass, too over-the-top, too smart-mouthed, with almost nothing to soften that image; too one-dimensional. The main problem is lack of description, which results in her being more a comic book superhero(ine) than I character I either identify with or admire.
I’m afraid I won’t be making any further forays in Mr and Mrs Gordon’s literary landscape. Hopefully, the writing gets better, but I don’t find myself caring much, one way or the other.
Addendum: Mom always said, try to say something nice. ‘Kay, I love the cover picture. It’s (she’s) gorgeous. It’s nice to see a cover that doesn’t feature a woman’s mostly bare breasts, which, naturally, are often on the large size; e.g. Briggs’ <i>Moon Called</i? However — yep, even quibbling about the good stuff — the “Cover Girl” seems waaaay too waiflike –almost sweet-looking — to suit Kate’s character.