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. After a very brief prologue in which Kate gives birth, the story jumps forward in time thirteen months, when their son Conlan is a precocious one year old whose antics keep his parents hopping. He still hasn’t started shapeshifting, which is causing Atlanta’s Pack to fret, but Kate is nevertheless something of a helicopter parent, anxious to protect Conlan from any threat … of which there are plenty, so her concerns aren’t without a basis.
The threat level gets amped up when Kate’s power-hungry father Roland ― after a fairly lengthy period of non-aggression ― starts to manufacture confrontations in Atlanta again, aiming at disrupting Kate’s claim to Atlanta and gaining power over her children, Conlan and her adopted daughter Julie. Meanwhile, something or someone is mysteriously murdering entire communities of people in the Atlanta area in a particularly gruesome way, for some unknown but doubtless malicious purpose. An ominous, evil-smelling box is left on Kate’s doorstep, causing thirteen-month-old Conlan to suddenly erupt into a new shape (or two), making Kate even more nervous, Curran joyful, and life exponentially more difficult.
Magic Triumphs is one of my favorite books in the KATE DANIELS series, and a great wrap-up to the series. It has a fun, exciting and delightfully complex plot, this time with an ancient Irish mythology spin to it. Lots of old friends from earlier books in the series play a role in the story, and much of the impact of those appearances will be lost on the reader who hasn’t read all of the prior KATE DANIELS books. What one might not expect is that it’s also fairly important to plot understanding and continuity to have also read Iron and Magic, the recently published spin-off novel featuring Hugh D’Ambrey, Kate’s old enemy.
Conlan is an amusing and adorable addition to the cast of characters, and Kate manages fairly well in combining her ass-kicking magical investigator and problem-solver ways with capable parenting, though her spin on it ends up being, well, different than most parents’.
“Look, Daddy killed him dead. All dead.”
Dali was staring at me with a look of pure horror.
“I don’t want him to have nightmares that the bad man is going to get him,” I told her. “This way he knows that his daddy killed him … We are a family of monsters and he’s our child. People will always try to kill him and we will always protect him. He better get used to it.”
Along with the family bonding, there are a few heartbreaking moments in Magic Triumphs, so the Andrews don’t pull all of their punches here. After fudging a little with the ongoing, high-stakes conflict with Roland in Magic Binds, there is an ingenious resolution to the Roland Problem in this novel, which satisfies the need for a wrap-up but still leaves room for possible adventures to come. As Iron and Magic evidences (not to mention the epilogue in Magic Triumphs), Ilona Andrews isn’t yet finished with Kate’s world. Kate is probably happy to take a back seat at this point and let some other characters do most of the driving and monster-slaying. Though I’ll certainly miss Kate’s point of view, I’ll always be deeply interested in whatever adventures in this world may come from the fertile imaginations of the Andrews team.
I really need to read these.
I’ve read one or two others by these authors (not in this series) and I enjoyed both the plotting and the banter between the two main characters. I’ll have to keep this series on my radar.
You have to be able to enjoy the urban fantasy genre with all its tropes, but if you can buy into that on some level, the Andrews really make the most of it, with some witty humor that makes it all go down easily. Warning that the series doesn’t really hit its stride until the third book.
I love urban fantasy.