Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews


Title: Gunmetal Magic 

Author: Ilona Andrews

Rating: 4 Stars

Gunmetal Magic is an amazing beginning to what is sure to be a fantastic spin-off series from Ilona Andrews. But, then again, I expected nothing less. While I suspect I've been reading too much of Ilona Andrews and too little of it that actually features Kate as a protagonist lately, I was still more than a little pleased to be back in this world. One of the biggest surprises of Ilona Andrews is the fact that despite the formulaic quality of their books, even with a protagonist who isn't Kate, they always manage to pull it off in a way that leaves the reader feeling as if they read a completely new story every time. With such complex and detailed characters, though, it isn't too hard to see why.

If you don't already know, Gunmetal Magic is the story of Andrea Nash, Kate Daniel's best friend, beastkin, and ex-Knight of the Order. Oh, let's not forget ex-girlfriend of one rather sexy bouda named Raphael. Gunmetal Magic picks up with Andrea and Raphael only recently broken up and with Andrea still nursing her wounds from being kicked out of the Order. Now, she not only has to decide whether or not to join the Pack, but she also has to help solve a crime...with Raphael. Who, it turns out, is engaged. If you thought the tension in Kate's life was bad, then welcome to Andrea's world.

As it turns out, Kate and Andrea, while seemingly similar on the surface, are really completely different people. It would be impossible to get their voices mixed up because of how unique they are from one another and while we saw a glimpse of this with the short e-novella Magic Mourns, we feel that all the more clearly with a full-fledged Andrea novel. What I loved the most, in terms of comparisons between Kate and Andrea, is the fact that both of them regard the other as having it better than they do. When we were in Kate's head, we were constantly privy to her slight jealousy at the fact that Andrea had found someone who could love her for her, and now in Andrea's head, we feel a return of that slight jealousy as she looks at Kate and Curran, still utterly lovesick with one another. It's such a clever and subtle dynamic, but I love that Ilona Andrews makes it known as it makes their friendship seem that much more authentic.

Nevertheless, Gunmetal Magic is Andrea's story and although Kate and Andrea are best friends, Kate is only a small part of it. With Magic Mourns, we were briefly recounted the brutal past that Andrea faced, making her the tough woman she is today, but with Gunmetal Magic, we go even deeper to see the psychological ramifications that past has had on Andrea. Even more so, we can see how difficult it is for others to understand her actions, even Raphael. I love that this novel, despite its usual infusion of myth, lore, and kick-ass battle scenes, was in equal parts filled with growth, on both Andrea and Raphael's sides, as they came to understand each other on deeper emotional levels. Andrea, too, is much more complex character than we originally give her credit for and seeing the multiple layers to her made me appreciate her much more as a character.

Gunmetal Magic continues to shine in the romance department and while I'll never be a Raphael fan-girl - I suspect it's hard to once you're so firmly besotted with Curran - I still ate up the sexual tension between him and Andrea and was thrilled by the slow, tortuous, yet meaningful path their eventual reconciliation took. It still remains to be, though, that Gunmetal Magic is the beginning of a spin-off series and this, sadly, was painfully evident. Not only was this book shorter than the Kate Daniels novels, but it also felt slightly more disjointed in terms of plot structure. Although I still thoroughly enjoyed it, I suspect it would lag as a series without the Kate Daniels books to support it. Nevertheless, I eagerly look forward to more from Ilona Andrews, especially this spin-off series since I can't wait to be back in Andrea's head. Only after I've been back in Kate's head first though. I suspect I'm missing Curran too much.

You can check out my reviews for the Kate Daniels Series HERE and HERE

13 comments:

  1. What was my world like before Ilona Andrews? Bleak and without Curran! Sigh. I love these books so much. Even this one, which I didn't love as much as the Kate narrated ones, is still soooo good. Poor Raphael. Not only is he not Curran, Ascanio the rapscallion tried a little scene stealing! I liked Raphael's development though. I LOVED seeing Andrea fully realize how badass she is. Next Kate book in July!!

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  2. YEAH KEERTANA!!!!! I'm so glad you loved this one, I still need to read it. I'm a little behind on this series but you know it's one of my favorites and it makes me so happy to know you love it as well. I haven't even gotten to the part where Andrea and Raphael break up. *sobs* I did read the opening chapter for this one though, and it made me realize I need to hurry up and get reading! Awesome review:)

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  3. Stop reading so many books, Keertana! You are going to kill me off. I can't even THINK about this series until I get through Kate's stories. I'm going to try to read them all for the series challenge this summer. But I think there are a LOT of them, right? However, I'm glad that you continue to enjoy this author's works and I can't wait to read something by Ilona Andrews for myself.

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  4. I can't believe I haven't read this series yet. Everyone I know has been reading it leaving me coughing in the dust. I swear *dramatic hand to head* that I WILL fix that. Ah, and I see you have also convinced me to read Magic Mourns before hand. Oh adding to my wishlist, eh? Thanks! :D

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  5. I can't believe that I still haven't read Kate Daniels. I have had my eye on her magic series since 2009. What is wrong with me???? I have scheduled time for it on the blog in August but at this point it may get bumped since I am so inundated. I really need to make time.

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  6. i haven't read anything by ilona andrews yet but i've seen her name around! i'm usually not a fan of spin offs but this sounds like an amazing one.

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  7. This review has reminded me that I need to get back to the Kate Daniels series already! I've only read the first book! I typically have those phases too when I'll be on a run of books by the same author, I'm glad that you enjoyed Gunmetal Magic Keertana and the romance sounds utterly fantastic! Lovely review! :)

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  8. The sexual tension would definitely keep me coming back for more, though I think I'd struggle with the disjointed plot at times. However, your review has convinced me I should give this author a go. Great review! :)

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  9. I guess that Ilona will soon be on my currently-reading shelf. I've heard a lot about her books and I think you've reviewed some too. I'm so happy that you've enjoyed this one. Great review :)

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  10. I actually don't think there WILL be more of Andrea's books. The next one was supposed to be about Jim and Dali, but they gave up on that idea when they signed for three more Kate books and that new series with Avon. But I could be wrong.

    I was also worried at first about how similar Kate and Andrea's voices might be, but Ilona and Gordon took care of that elegantly. They are really very different, as you pointed out. And like you, I enjoyed seeing Kate through Andrea's eyes.
    Raphael never worked for me either. He's great and all, but he's not Curran. Come to think of it, neither did Jim.

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  11. Curran IS pretty hard to top. ;) I'm glad you still enjoyed the tension between Raphael and Andrea here though. I have so much catching up to do where Ilona Andrews is concerned! Still, I'm looking forward to eventually getting around to this. Lovely review!

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  12. I need to read beyond the Kate Daniels series--the other one, plus this spinoff, seem to get nothing but overwhelmingly positive reviews! I'm glad you enjoyed it, Keertana. One day when I have some spare non-review time...

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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