Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Review: Magic Bites (Kate Daniels #1) by Ilona Andrews
Title: Magic Bites (Kate Daniels #1)
Author: Ilona Andrews
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Urban Fantasy is one of those incredibly predictable and formulaic genres that you would think people would get tired of, but they don't. In fact, I often regard Urban Fantasy novels as a guilty pleasure - something I can be dependent on to enjoy. Not only do they feature cleverly disguised magic/paranormal mysteries, they also almost always have a kick-ass heroine, swoon-worthy (but formidable) love interest, and a slow-moving romance filled with plenty of witty banter. In all honesty, Magic Bites fits into these categories with ease, yet it has received far more hype than any other Urban Fantasy Series I have come across. Why? I'm still not quite sure, but hopefully as this series progresses, I can find out.
When the legal guardian of Kate Daniels, a kick-ass mercenary, is murdered, she wants vengeance. In the futuristic Atlanta where Kate lives, magic comes and goes in waves, rendering technology useless when it does. Kate, who can control and command magic herself, soon finds that it isn't simply her guardian's death at stake, but the deaths of countless other innocent people including women and shapeshifters. Thus, she finds herself working with Curran, the irritating Beast Lord who gets on her nerves. Now, with the help of the shapeshifters, Kate must try to crack down on this crime before more people can be murdered. Little does she know that the answer is staring her in the face, the whole time...
I guess I was expecting more from this series which is why I was so disappointed by this introduction into Kate's world. While I love how strong, formidable, and brave Kate is, I always felt strangely detached from her. Despite its first person narration, I was unable to truly understand and relate to Kate. She still remains to be an enigma in this first installment and I am curious to learn more about her - details which I wish could have been divulged in this novel if not at least a greater understanding of her character. For me, getting to know a character is an important aspect of reading and I am sad to say that I never really got to know who Kate was and what circumstances in her past made her the way she is either.
Kate aside, I also found myself rather irritated by the writing style. Andrews throws you into her world with no explanations and it's a while before we are to truly grasp what's going on. Not only that, but the pacing felt forced to me and tended to drag quite a bit during certain scenes, making me wonder when the true action would be arriving. On more than one occasion I found myself to be skimming, so I was upset by this reaction that this supposedly remarkable novel wrought from me. On the other hand, the last fourth of the story was extremely engaging and I liked the rich world-building in those sections, so I'm hoping the rest of the series will be eerily similar to that.
Nevertheless, despite these qualms, I remain curious about this series. I loved Kate's interactions with the Shapeshifter Pack and in particular their leader, Curran. While I originally could not comprehend why so many fans were in love with him, it becomes evident by the end of the novel that he brings out some of the best in Kate and their romance is sure to be promising. Furthermore, I love how he never tries to dominate Kate and accepts her for the way she is. It is clear to the reader that these two understand each other on a deeper level already and I can't wait to see them come to this realization as well. In addition, I love the fact that the paranormal creatures in Andrews world are gory, detailed, and dark. Andrews does not shy away from epic fight scenes or disgusting descriptions, so her world felt all the more raw, real, and dangerous through her portrayal of it.
Overall however, Magic Bites was nothing special. It was an interesting addition to the genre of Urban Fantasy and while I will definitely be continuing this series, I am unable to see what all the hype is about - yet! I've heard that this series only gets better from the weak first link on, so I still have high hopes for these riveting novels! Hopefully, the Kate Daniels Series will prove to live up to its hype! ;)