Magic Burns by Illona Andrews

Down in Atlanta, tempers – and temperatures – are about to flare…

As a mercenary who cleans up after magic gone wrong, Kate Daniels has seen her share of occupational hazards. Normally, waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide. But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant. Now Kate’s going to have to deal with problems on a much bigger scale: a divine one.

When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta’s paramilitary clan of shapeshifters, she quickly realizes much more at stake. During a flare, gods and goddesses can manifest – and battle for power. The stolen maps are only the opening gambit in an epic tug-of-war between two gods hoping for rebirth. And if Kate can’t stop the cataclysmic showdown, the city may not survive…



Full disclosure that I’ve already finished book 3 in the Katie Daniels series, Magic Strikes, and just begun the book 4, Magic Bleeds, as I write this review.

I’m pretty lukewarm on the first book of this series, but I’ve promised friends that I’d stick with it because, supposedly, the writing improves with each book and I do admittedly find the worldbuilding quite intriguing. Also I just realized I can get the first four books on audiobook through Libby and this series is a really quick read at 2.3x speed and very forgiving if I miss stuff. Magic Burns didn’t really improve my opinion of the series, but didn’t really tank it either.

Compared to book one, the biggest improvement here is that the writing feels a lot tighter. Most of the major players (so far) and Kate’s allies have been introduced so the whole process of introduce a character → Kate insults every aspect of the character, their living spaces, and their clothes → ally reluctantly provides help after exchanging snark → rinse and repeat, doesn’t occur. Instead, we follow Kate exploring more of post-post-apocalyptic Atlanta, while trying to figure out who this mysterious teleporting guy is.

On the other hand, one of the new (recurring?) characters introduced is a god damn kid and lord I hate children in adult fantasy books (with few exceptions). And Julie, unfortunately , does not fall under that exception. Kate effectively is forced to play bodyguard + babysitter for this young girl who’s lost her mother, as Kate tries to track down the situation around her mother’s experience. Kate and Julie have these “heart to heart” conversations where Julie’s all vulnerable and sad and Kate’s too emotionally repressed to deal with Julie but also she see’s her younger self in Julie and tries to comfort her and good GOD I wanted to tear my ears out. Lord I don’t care. Julie please go away. Julie’s a classic case of, child acts stupid and fucks up the situation for everyone and I really really really hate that trope.

Beyond that, we get some cool exploration of Irish mythology and further delve into Pack/shifter affairs. The Hyenas were a nice welcome to this book, crazy and high-key kinky wild shifters. One of the characters, Raphael, I liked anytime he wasn’t trying to flirt with something. Unfortunately, the book is still very very straight, but it’s something I’m learning to live with as I warm up to the characters more.

Overall, I rate this book a 3.5/5. While the writing was much tighter than book 1, and the worldbuilding remains solid, I wasn’t extremely enthused with the characters. Also children. Please get rid of the children. A decent popcorn read to distract oneself at work.

r/Fantasy Bingo Squares:

  • Novel Featuring Necromancy
  • Romantic Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Publication Date: 1 April 2008
Publisher: Ace
Format: Audiobook
Pages: 261
Word Count: N/A
ISBN: 0441015832 
Buy It Here: Amazon Google Books | Barnes and Nobles | Goodreads

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