Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews
I’ve been a fan of Ilona Andrews’ KATE 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. Happily, Kate is still as much fun as ever.
In this installment, the sixth in the series, Kate and Curran are hired to protect a werewolf princess in Colchis. This princess, Desandra, is pregnant by two different men from rival shapeshifter families, and the family whose heir is born first will inherit Desandra’s father’s lands. Both families, along with Desandra’s father and his entourage, are holed up in a castle and ready to explode into violence. Why are Kate and Curran even concerning themselves with this mess? The reward is a large supply of panacea. Panacea can cure young shapeshifters who’ve gone loup, which up until now has always been a death sentence. One of Julie’s friends has gone loup, and Aunt B is worried about Raphael and Andrea’s future children, so this is an issue close to everyone’s heart.
I was worried the plot would just be shapeshifters circling each other and growling; Kate at one point says she’s sick of shapeshifters, and I’m a bit weary of them too. It’s part of how I got burned out on urban fantasy in the first place. But the Andrewses have more tricks up their sleeves. Hugh d’Ambray shows up, and we find more layers within his character. There’s more to Desandra, too, than meets the eye. There’s an unknown and terrifying species of shapeshifter prowling the halls. And Kate encounters some of the native magical beings, which might just come in handy when all furry hell breaks loose.
Curran acts like an idiot in Magic Rises. I’d been spoiled for this plot point and was prepared for it. Because I’d been spoiled, I knew what was going on, and I wasn’t mad for the same reason Kate was. I was mad, though, because I couldn’t see the logic in it. I also felt like Kate and Curran took a step backward in terms of how bonded they were considered to be. In Magic Slays, she’s referred to multiple times as his wife. I thought it made sense in the post-apocalyptic setting — as in, let’s not stand on ceremony here, you’re married if you say you are. Here, the lack of an official marriage is constantly brought up. If it was just by the old-school European shapeshifters, I’d chalk it up to cultural differences, but it’s almost everybody. Ah, well, I’m sure they’ll have an epic wedding. Probably with casualties.
Speaking of epic, Magic Rises peaks with a spectacular battle. It’s impossible to put the book down during this sequence. There’s heartbreak, too — a lovable recurring character dies, and it’s awful. Afterward, I loved the way the ending came together. You never know what ripples an act of kindness might have.
Though I like the Atlanta setting, it was nice to go somewhere new in Magic Rises. Like Kelly, I was annoyed by Curran’s actions (and hypocrisy) in this installment, but I’m sure I’ll get over it. Shout out to the audio edition and narrator Renee Raudman.