Next SFF Author: Piers Anthony
Previous SFF Author: Jo Anderton

SFF Author: Ilona Andrews

Ilona AndrewsNew York Times Bestselling author Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.) Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Portland with their two children, three dogs and a cat.



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Magic Bites: A lot of points for creativity

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Magic Bites (2007) is an exciting urban fantasy with a unique premise and detailed world-building, somewhat marred by an unsatisfying twist in the story’s central mystery.

I give Ilona Andrews a lot of points for creativity here. In Magic Bites‘ near-future setting, magic and technology come and go a bit like the weather; when magic is working, tech isn’t, and vice versa. The shifts are unpredictable, but it can be assumed there will be several per day.


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Magic Burns: No sophomore slump!

Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews

No sophomore slump here! Ilona Andrews follows — and tops — her debut novel with an excellent sequel, Magic Burns (2008).

We get some more world-building. Andrews explains, in a way that flows smoothly with the story and doesn’t feel like an infodump, the theory as to why the magic and tech have gone wonky in the first place. We also learn about magic flares, which occur roughly every seven years. During these upsurges in magic, powerful and dangerous summonings can be done.


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Magic Strikes: Ilona Andrews does it again!

Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

I didn’t know how much I’d missed Ilona Andrews’ writing until I started reading Magic Strikes (2009). Part of it is the prose. It’s vivid, it has a great streak of humor running through it, and best of all, it’s smooth. The reader is never jolted out of the story by a grammar snafu or an awkward phrase.

Part of it is Andrews’ continued use of a wide variety of myths. Andrews is one of the few urban fantasy authors who seem to realize folklore is a huge sandbox.


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Magic Bleeds: Bursting at the seams with plot

Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews

Ever since that teaser chapter at the end of On the Edge, we Ilona Andrews fans have been dying to get our hands on Magic Bleeds (2010). Curran stands Kate up, and when she calls the Keep trying to reach him, his people give her a humiliating brush-off. Not knowing why this happened, and what happens next, has had us anxious for months! Well, fellow Andrews fans, this is the book you’ve been waiting for. And the first thing you want to know,


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Magic Slays: If you’re not reading this series, you should be!

Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

Kate Daniels has opened her new business, Cutting Edge Investigations, but there’s just one problem: no clients. “If things kept going this way,” she muses, “I would be forced to run up and down the street screaming ‘We kill things for money.’” It’s not that she needs the money, really; it’s more that she wants to be a successful, independent businesswoman rather than just Curran’s consort.

So when a case comes her way, Kate takes it, even though it’s not the sort of mission she’s used to.


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Magic Rises: Kate is still as much fun as ever

Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

I’ve been a fan of Ilona AndrewsKATE DANIELS series from the get-go, but didn’t really click with the spinoff Gunmetal Magic, right around the same time as I was getting burned out on paranormal urban fantasy in general. Then, the other day, I was looking for something to read, and thought, “Hey! My backlog!” I saw that I had Magic Rises on my Kindle and settled in for some magic and swashbuckling.


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Magic Breaks: Sins of the father

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

In Magic Breaks (2014), the seventh book in Ilona AndrewsKATE DANIELS urban fantasy series, the overarching plot lines of the series takes a lion-sized step forward, with a few major surprises along the way. *some spoilers for earlier books in the series*

Kate Daniels, her mate Curran, the Beast Lord of Atlanta’s shapeshifter Pack, and their group have returned from their perilous trip to Europe, described in Magic Rises,


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Magic Shifts: Suburban troubles and Arabian nightmares

Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews

In Magic Shifts (2015), the eighth book in Ilona AndrewsKATE DANIELS urban fantasy series, Kate and Curran struggle with both old, ongoing problems ― in the form of Pack politics and Kate’s father Roland ― and new ones. *obligatory spoiler alert here for earlier books in the series*

Kate and her werelion mate Curran, who has resigned as Beast Lord of Atlanta’s huge pack of shapeshifters, are now trying to live a more ordinary,


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Magic Binds: Wedding planning is rough when your father’s a homicidal tyrant

Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

Note: Some spoilers for earlier books in the series.

In Magic Binds (2016), the ninth book in Ilona AndrewsKATE DANIELS urban fantasy series, Kate, a mercenary with awe-inspiring sword-fighting and magical abilities, and Curran, her shapeshifter mate and the former Beast Lord, have decided to officially tie the knot. After dealing with several obstacles to get to the home of their friend Roman, the priest of Chernobog, the Russian dark god,


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Magic Triumphs: Wrapping up the KATE DANIELS adventures

Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews

Kate Daniels, after nine novels’ worth of fighting magical villains, romancing Curran the Beast Lord, developing her own über-magical powers and preternatural sword-fighting abilities, and magically claiming all of Atlanta as her territory (and that’s only a start), gets an ending to her story in Magic Triumphs (2018), the tenth and final book in Ilona Andrews’ popular KATE DANIELS series. Well, kind of.

Kate is married to Curran now, who’s passed his title as Beast Lord on to Jim.


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Gunmetal Magic: Should have been shorter

Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

This volume includes the novella Magic Gifts — previously seen as a free download at Ilona Andrews’s website this past Christmas season — and the full-length novel Gunmetal Magic (2012), a spinoff of the KATE DANIELS series starring Kate’s best friend Andrea Nash. Magic Gifts is placed at the end of the book but should actually be read first, and there is chronological overlap between the two.

Magic Gifts is sort of a “monster of the week” episode,


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On the Edge: Ilona Andrews’ protagonists are true heroes

On the Edge by Ilona Andrews

As I started reading On the Edge, my biggest question was, would lightning — or magic — strike twice? Could Ilona Andrews write something just as great as her Kate Daniels series, in a completely different universe? The answer, it turns out, is yes!

The world-building is a little more familiar, but Andrews puts an original spin on it. There’s an Otherworld full of magical beings, called the Weird, and there’s our mundane world,


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Bayou Moon: Has a little bit of everything

Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

William Wolf didn’t get the girl in last year’s On the Edge, but he certainly won over plenty of us readers. In Bayou Moon, the second Edge paranormal romance by the husband-and-wife team that makes up Ilona Andrews, William gets his turn to shine and to meet his match in a scrappy Edge woman.

Cerise Mar has just become de facto head of her wild but tight-knit family after the disappearance of her parents.


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Fate’s Edge: What more could you want?

Fate’s Edge by Ilona Andrews

Fate’s Edge is the third in the EDGE series by husband-and-wife duo Ilona Andrews. While the EDGE books feature recurring characters and plot threads and can all be categorized as paranormal romance, each book so far has a different “feel.” On the Edge was a fairy tale; Bayou Moon, with the dark mad-science secrets at its heart, had something of the Gothic about it. Fate’s Edge is a caper story.


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Clean Sweep: Urban fantasy with a galactic twist

Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Dina Demille, a young woman, runs a quiet bed-and-breakfast in a small Texas town. Her inn is a quirky old Victorian home that looks like “a medieval castle and a Southern-belle, antebellum mansion had a baby and it had been delivered into the world by a gothic wedding cake decorator.” Dina’s only companion is a small black and white Shih Tzu named Beast, aside from her single permanent guest in the inn, but Dina is hoping her inn will become more popular ― with space aliens.

The Gertrude Hunt Bed-and-Breakfast is,


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Sweep in Peace: A not-so-peaceful alien peace summit

Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews

Dina DeMille runs a bed-and-breakfast inn that secretly caters to visitors from other parts of the galaxy. The magical, semi-sentient inn can create opulent new rooms and redecorate them at Dina’s wish, with a blithe disregard for the normal laws of physics (what I wouldn’t give to have a house like that!). But Dina is short on both guests and cash, so she’s open to the idea when George, an arbitrator of disputes between different alien races, asks her to host an arbitration aimed at ending a bitter twenty-year-long war between three species,


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One Fell Sweep: The Inn under siege

One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Note: This review contains some spoilers for the two earlier books in the INNKEEPER CHRONICLES series.

As One Fell Sweep (2016) begins, Dina DeMille, the Innkeeper of the Gertrude Hunt Inn, a secret way-stop on Earth for galactic visitors, is recuperating from the life-and-death peace summit that her inn hosted in Sweep in Peace. She’s also just beginning to pick up her relationship with Sean, the werewolf warrior, when a reptilian visitor brings her a message: Dina’s widowed sister Maud is stuck on the planet Karhari and needs rescuing.


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Sweep of the Blade: Planet of the Vampires

Sweep of the Blade by Ilona Andrews

With Sweep of the Blade, the fourth installment in Ilona AndrewsINNKEEPER CHRONICLES series, there is a new main character: Maud, sister of Dina, the previous main character and the innkeeper of this light SF series. We met Maud in the prior book in this series, One Fell Sweep, when Dina convinced Sean the werewolf and Arland the vampire — these are both alien races, by the way,


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Sweep with Me: Battling space chickens and other troublesome guests at the inn

Sweep with Me by Ilona Andrews

Sweep with Me (2020), the fifth book in Ilona Andrews’s INNKEEPER CHRONICLES series, finds Dina DeMille fretting with her boyfriend Sean about an upcoming official review of Dina and the Gertrude Hunt, her magical inn for interstellar travelers. The innkeepers’ Assembly is concerned about some of the goings-on at the Gertrude Hunt and whether Dina and Sean have been keeping their rules, including not letting anyone on Earth know that their inn isn’t an ordinary one.


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Burn for Me: A hot urban fantasy

Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

The husband-wife author team of Ilona Andrews began their new HIDDEN LEGACY urban fantasy series in 2014 with Burn for Me.

In an alternative reality to our world, a serum discovered in 1863 unleashed people’s magical talents. As the powerful and rich sought the serum as a new way for their families to gain more power and wealth, others realized the potential it raised for chaos and destruction, and locked it away — too late.


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White Hot: Turning up the heat

White Hot by Ilona Andrews

Note: this review contains some spoilers for the first book in this series, Burn for Me.

In White Hot (2017), the second book in Ilona AndrewsHIDDEN LEGACY urban fantasy series, we return to a magical version of Houston, Texas, where some people (typically the rich and powerful) have inheritable magical powers. Nevada Baylor is from a not-particularly wealthy family that runs a private investigation firm, but she and some other members of her family have magical powers that are suspiciously strong for a family with no reputation at all as magic users.


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Wildfire: Sizzling romance, wrapped in a kidnapping mystery, inside a family enigma

Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Note: some spoilers for the previous books in this series, Burn for Me and White Hot.

The smoking hot adventures of Nevada Baylor and Connor “Mad” Rogan continue in Ilona AndrewsWildfire (2017), the third book of the HIDDEN LEGACY series, set in an alternate version of our world in which a serum has unleashed magical powers in a minority of people. The magical families are organized into Houses,


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Diamond Fire: Wedding-related trials for the sister of the bride

Diamond Fire by Ilona Andrews

Nevada Baylor is getting married to Connor Rogan, and when Rogan’s mother Arrosa shuts down their plans for a small and simple wedding, insisting on a full-scale formal wedding, a couple of things happen. Nevada inexplicably gets incredibly fussy and controlling about the wedding details, firing two wedding planners, and her beleaguered 18 and 16 year old sisters Catalina and Arabella decide that the only feasible option is to handle the wedding planning themselves. And a large crowd of Rogan’s Spanish relatives on his mother’s side descends on Mrs.


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Sapphire Flames: The siren takes the lead

Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews

Sapphire Flames (2019) is the fourth novel in Ilona AndrewsHIDDEN LEGACY urban fantasy/romance series, in which powerful magical families control most of society. (Note: You really do have to start at the beginning of this series, with Burn for Me; each book builds on what came before.) Having wrapped up the romance of Nevada Baylor and Connor Rogan in the first three books in this series, Sapphire Flames and the interim novella that precedes it,


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Emerald Blaze: One handsome Italian assassin to go, please

Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews

The violence between Houston’s powerful magical families breaks out again when Felix Morton is mysteriously murdered. Felix was involved in a private contract project involving an alliance between five magical Houses who are attempting to reclaim the Jersey Village suburb of Houston, which has become a pit for wild arcane magical creatures. If the reclamation succeeds, the land is worth a fortune, but Felix’s murder at the site puts a definite damper on the project.

Catalina Baylor — still recuperating from her broken heart when Alessandro Sagredo abruptly left her at the end of Sapphire Flames,


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Iron and Magic: An exciting spin-off from the KATE DANIELS series

Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews

Since Magic Bites was first published in 2007, the husband-and-wife writing team known as Ilona Andrews has developed a devoted fan base in the urban fantasy genre with their KATE DANIELS series. But all good things must come to an end, and when Magic Triumphs, the tenth novel in that series, is published in August 2018, the Andrews team has announced that it will be the end of that series.


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Blood Heir: The return of Julie, princess incognito (Blog Tour Review!)

Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews

This review is part of the Blood Heir blog tour (#BloodHeirKD).

Julie is returning home to Atlanta after a long eight-year absence. Kate Daniels’ adopted daughter is now twenty-six, and she’s been busy the past eight years: fighting with the Canaanite god Moloch, the Child Eater, stealing one of his eyes for herself after he ripped out one of hers, being remade inside and out by the magical eye, learning about ancient powers and civilizations from her adoptive relatives … and still pining for Derek,


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SHORTS: Swirsky, Andrews, St. George, Otis

There is so much free or inexpensive short fiction available on the internet these days. Here are a few stories we read this week that we wanted you to know about. 

“Tea Time” by Rachel Swirsky (2015, free at Lightspeed Magazine)

A wonderfully impressionistic examination of one small cranny of Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland. In this case, the focus is on the eternal tea party held by the two lovers—the March Hare and the Mad Hatter, who speak to each other only in quotations,


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SHORTS: McIntosh, Szpara, Andrews

Our weekly exploration of free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. Here are a few stories we’ve read that we wanted you to know about, including 2017 Nebula nominees in the short fiction categories.

“What is Eve?” by Will McIntosh (April 2018, free at Lightspeed, $3.99 Kindle magazine issue)

Ben and several other middle school aged children are separated from their families and taken to an isolated school, to participate in a “unique program” that is supposed to be an incredible opportunity for the children.


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SHORTS: Carroll, Newitz, Clark, Andrews, VanderMeer

SHORTS is a column exploring some of the free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. Here are a few stories we’ve read that we wanted you to know about.

“For He Can Creep” by Siobhan Carroll (2019, free at Tor.com, 99c on Kindle)

This short story, told entirely from a cat’s point of view, is a must-read for feline fans! Jeoffry the cat belongs to a mad poet who is confined to an insane asylum in 18th century Great Britain. Jeoffry regularly battles the imps and demons who torment the inmates at the asylum.


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SHORTS: Cho, Machen, Rambo, Scalzi, Andrews

SHORTS: Our column exploring free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. Here are a few stories we’ve recently read that we wanted you to know about.

“Head of a Snake, Tail of a Dragon” by Zen Cho (2018, free on the author’s website)

This short story is a delightful sequel to Zen Cho’s Hugo award-winning novelette, “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again.” And both are free online, so win-win!

Jin-Dae is an imugi, a magical serpent that can — if it learns and grows in the right way — turn into a dragon.


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Next SFF Author: Piers Anthony
Previous SFF Author: Jo Anderton

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