My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Who the heck is Kate Daniels?
She is an edgy sarcastic kick-ass babe with a sharp sword named Slayer. A magic sword of course, for a real kick ass girl in a world turned to urban fantasy can’t be without one. Just like she has to be tattooed on a place you can only fantasize about and wear a leather jacket two sizes too large. It would be unseemly otherwise.
Kate is that typical loner that everybody wants, either in bed or as a hired henchman or for lunch or because she is powerful. And thus she can give them the middle-finger and scoff at the powers-that-be without incurring the penalties for doing so. Like being torn apart by the Beast Lord for gross insolence, just to name an example. Not that he isn’t an insolent asshole himself. I fear a love interest. This testosterone filled uber macho just has to play top dog, but you know, deep down inside, he is just a pussy. We are promised a lot but nothing gets delivered.
Kate is not to be had. She is too busy or too independent. Oh, and she doesn’t fit into any of the organisations that beg her services: they all suck one way or another.Loyalty goes to persons.
Get the picture yet?
Now Kate is also twenty five with -say- about a decade of experience in her particular line of work. And an accomplished magic user to. And a experienced sword wielder. And well educated -she speaks her languages-. And has knowledge of a very obscure nature. But there is an explanation for the latter two: it is her father who taught her everything. Her human father that is.
Score one for home education.
You might think that would be enough but Kate is also provided with a mysterious background. Just to entice you to cling to the series.. Who is her real father? No doubt it gets revealed at some point, say in book five of the series. And boy, you will you be dissatisfied.
Granted the book is a nice read. I like the slang Andrews uses or the learn words I never heard about such as expletive. I learned a few new things and hopefully I can use them to my advantage. But the story is in a shambles. At various points it looks like Andrews changed her mind or got stuck and then she pulls a rabbit out of the hat.
When the investigation is dead in the water Andrews lets a vampire attack Kate so she can extract information from it. There.. issue solved. And when it’s going nowhere fast again, lets have the villain turn up so the story can move on. Don’t like the romance? (there is a more virile guy entering the stage) . Right.. lets change the guy’s personality so he loses any wit he has and doesn’t match with Kate at all.
It not just these changes of heart, but it’s the inconsistencies in the story. For instance: Kate is good at her job, but has no money to spend. A feat that goes unexplained.
There is a so called crusader of the order that hunts the villain for four years who is apparently crazy, a loner, and armed to the teeth, but operates secretly, with all that weaponry? . And what is more: somehow this crusader manages to turn up at the right place at the right time two thirds into the story. Almost as an afterthought, for most of the book he never puts in an appearance. A most secretive guy indeed. There is no good explanation for it other then that Andrews wanted him to be there.
And the list goes on and on. Take the wards for instance that the villain uses to break Kate’s ward and then conveniently abandons so she can use it against him later on. Or the fact that the villain apparently lets the crusader live. Or take the scene where Kate sits sipping wine on her porch, while the evil guy and his minions approach. She waits him out and then , when he is about to attack, she jumps inside her house where she is safe from harm, due to aforementioned wards.
Ilona Andrews likes to write scenes, but loses sight on what should connect them: a good story line. This is a cool scene and that is a cool scene. Storyline? Uhm, think of that later.
I can’t resist to compare Kate Daniels to Sonja Blue. Somehow the latter seems more human than the first, even though she is a crazy vampire. Kate is just a bit too good to be believed or connect with.
Does this make it a bad book? Not at all. It is certainly entertaining. Especially when I compare it to a Sci-FI book named Time Travellers never die, which I was reading at the same time.
Magic Bites is certainly not as good as Sunglasses after dark. I would like to give a second book a try, just to see if Andrews does a better job. Unfortunately it might never happen, as my local library doesn’t have it and I rather buy books I really like.