Title: Magic Strikes
Author: Ilona Andrews
Copyright: 2009 (Ace); 310 pgs.
Series: Kate Daniels #3
*** SPOILER-ISH ***
Two months have passed since the flare hit Atlanta. Kate’s been busy cleaning up magical messes and hanging out with her new best friend, Andrea. She hasn’t heard from, nor seen, Curran since the night he broke into her house in Savannah, made coffee, and almost kissed her. She’s convinced he got bored messing with her mind and has moved on to other amusements.
Meanwhile, two seemingly unconnected incidents occur that drag her back into the center of the shape-shifter world. First, Kate is sent to investigate the death of a shape-shifter, but when she arrives on the scene, Jim and his crew are already on the case. Jim refuses her help and Kate’s too tired to press the issue. Besides, she can always check up on the case later, and see if Jim’s followed through with filing the reports.
The second, Saiman calls to tell her that he caught Derek, Kate’s werewolf side-kick, stealing from him. Saiman can make things difficult for the Pack, and the last thing Kate wants is for the Beast Lord to find out about the incident. Saiman uses Kate’s friendship with Derek as leverage. He’ll forget all about the break-in, if Kate agrees to accompany him to the Midnight Games. He wants her professional opinion regarding one of the teams competing in the illegal gladiatorial tournament. Kate grudgingly agrees to go, reminding Saiman that it’s NOT a date, just a business agreement.
Before she knows it, Kate’s finds herself keeping secrets from Curran, searching for a way to save Derek, and trying to solve the mystery behind the strange group who annihilated Saiman’s team and left Derek for dead. On top of all that, Andrea and Raphael’s insight into Curran’s behavior implies that the Beast Lord is viewing her as his future mate – and he refers to her as such within Andrea’s hearing. As much as she tries to deny it at times, Kate finally acknowledges the fact that she’s falling for Curran. However, she still sees his pursuit of her as nothing more than a game for him.
We learn some Pack history and about how Curran became the Beast Lord. Kate has been a bit unreliable as a narrator when it comes to Curran. Biased as she is by the fact he’s in a position of authority (and she has issue with those in authority), she’ll assume he’s an arrogant jerk without fully understanding him. Make no mistake, Curran is 100% Alpha, but that doesn’t mean he’s unreasonable or insensitive to the feelings of others. In fact, as the Beast Lord, he’s had to be good at diplomacy and understanding the needs of his people. As he tells her early in the book:
“I’ve had a lot of practice. The Pack contains thirty-two species in seven tribes, each with their own hang-up. Jackals and coyotes pick fights with wolves, because they have an inferiority complex and think they’ve got something to prove. Wolves believe themselves to be superior, marry the wrong people, and then refuse to divorce them because they cling to their ‘mating for life’ idiocy. Hyenas listen to nobody, screw everything, and break out in berserk rages at some perceived slight against one of their own. Cats randomly refuse to follow orders to prove they can. That’s my life. I’ve been at it for fifteen years now.”
Curran’s been a combination king/CEO/den mother to a horde of potential spree-killers since he was 15 years old. They are his family and any harm that comes to them he perceives as a failure of leadership on his part. He’s going to be very careful about who he picks as his mate — which would explain his hesitancy, in Magic Burns, before handing Kate the soup. Submissive eye candy isn’t going to cut it. She has to be someone who can hold her own and cope with the daily drama of the Pack, because she’ll share his responsibility and authority as the Pack’s alpha female. Curran would not have handed Kate that bowl had he not felt she was capable of sharing the burden.
Part of Kate’s reluctance to acknowledge that there might be something between her and Curran stems from her heritage and her mission. She’s lost everyone she’s ever loved. Having loved ones makes her venerable and them targets. However, this time her enemy has already decided to target the Pack because they’ve grown too strong. Which made me wonder about Greg’s friendship with the Pack — did he cultivate the friendship because he suspected Roland might move against them? Greg had to have known that Kate partnered with Jim, and he had to have known Jim was the head of Pack security. Was Greg’s attempt to convince Kate to return to the Order’s academy — the last time she saw him alive — his way of keeping her out of Atlanta?
Some things Kate and Curran have in common: both were raised by men not their fathers; both are mentor/guardian to an orphaned child; both have a strong sense of duty and a willingness to put themselves in harm’s way to protect/save those they care about; and both have a tendency to impale themselves on sharp, pointy objects. They fight well together. Their “courtship” is hilarious and it’s fun to watch. I liked that Curran doesn’t go off in a snit when she says no (Look! An alpha who understands that “no” means “no”! Kate, you have no idea how lucky you are! Quick! Snatch him up before someone else does!).
As to the revelation regarding Roland, I wasn’t surprised. It was hinted at in the first two books. The details, however, were a surprise. Up until this book, I would have said that Roland had no idea Kate existed. So, he knows she’s out there somewhere. And after the events in this book, I’d say he’d have a very good idea where to find her.
I could go on babbling. It’s taken me this long to write up my thoughts because I keep picking it up to re-read. I really loved this book. It was both funny and heart breaking. I’m looking forward to the next one. I’ve read the snippets for book four, so I’m prepared for the snarling, the angst, and any further developments regarding Roland.
Maybe if I prayed to Miss Marple, she’d hook me up with a clue . . .
– Kate Daniels, ace investigator (thoughts)
“It was an awesome smackdown.”
– Andrea, admiring Curran’s butt-chewing skills
Help. I’ve drowned the Best Lord.
– Kate (thoughts)
“You came for me.”
– Kate, Curran
Started: 26 March 2009
Finished: 28 March 2009
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This is a re-post, due to technical difficulties. Comments, if any, were lost. I apologize for the inconvenience. (Aug 09)
This is a re-post, due to data loss. (Oct 09)