Magic Bites by Illona Andrews

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for magic…

One moment magic dominates, and cars stall and guns fail. The next, technology takes over and the defensive spells no longer protect your house from monsters. Here skyscrapers topple under onslaught of magic; werebears and werehyenas prowl through the ruined streets; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds.

In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, she must choose to do nothing and remain safe or to pursue his preternatural killer. Hiding is easy, but the right choice is rarely easy… 



I’m not generally a big Urban Fantasy person, but at the insistence of what felt like half a discord channel, I picked up Magic Bites, the first book in the on-going Kate Daniels series. I’ve certainly heard of this series in passing before and I’ve definitely seen this author’s name in bookstores, but I admit I’ve never looked into the series. Having read it, I really can’t say I’m blown away.

I’ll start with the bad. My main gripe with this book is the repetitiveness. Magic Bites managed to be the slowest “fast-paced” book I thin I’ve ever read. Early in the book, Kate finds out one of her old mentors and father figure has been killed and she’s on the hunt for the murderer. Cue 2/3rd of a book where Kate meets a person, describes the room they’re in, the clothes they’re wearing, and a couple snarky comments about the person themselves. Next, she trades a couple insults with the person, and maybe manages to get the information she wants without getting into a fight. Repeat x8. After about the third time this happened, I just really didn’t care.

My other major gripe with this book is the writing. Which I feel I can really only describe as fanfiction-y (this is not an insult, I consume far more fanfic than is healthy). It’s that odd mix that tell not show, simple language, and repetitive sentence structure that gets very noticeable after a couple pages. Admittedly, I’ve been informed by friends that the authors apparently no longer like the writing of the first three or so books, so hopefully the writing of the later books improve. Also, these books feel very straight. Very very straight.

The one strength of this series is the worldbuilding. Kate Daniels is set in this post-post apocalyptic urban setting with a lot of hidden depth that I did find fascinating. If I do continue this series, it’ll be because I’m an absolute sucker for good worldbuilding and this one has all the signs. Even the common supernatural creatures like vampires and werewolves have far more depth than the traditional pop understanding. Admittedly, I’m not particularly familiar with the genre so perhaps this is more normal than I’m making it out to be, but for me, I enjoy the novelty.

Overall, I rate this book a 3/5. While I like the hints of worldbuilding and hidden backstory, I got bored with pacing and the repetitiveness and the writing didn’t do it any favors.

r/Fantasy 2020 Bingo Squares:

  • Novel Featuring Necromancy

Publication Date: 29 March 2009
Publisher: Ace
Format: eBook
Pages: 386
Word Count: ~106K
ISBN: 0425264203 
Buy It Here: Amazon Google Books | Barnes and Nobles | Goodreads

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