Here be Dragons

‘Magic Bites.’  It appears to be a novel the urban fantasy style.  Something is missing though, something just doesn’t seem right.  Maybe it is just me, let me make a checklist.

-Interesting setting?  Huh, this one is here.  Wow, it is something quite a bit different too!  Sure it is mostly set in modern United States, but there is a twist.  Post-apocalypse, kind of.  Seems there was some sort of magic surge, came out of nowhere, ate portions of towns and changed everything.  Suddenly most the things that were once make believe are now real; vampires, werewolves, necromancers, and countless others.  Sure, there is the ‘everything and a kitchen sink’ approach but it too is explained, the magic feeds on people’s faith.  So if enough people think magic is X, then magic sometimes obliges them.  The magic of the world ebbs and flows as well, when a surge hit technology becomes useless only to work again when it recedes a bit.  Best I can tell the world is about 300 years in the future, but the magic has kept tech from progressing too much.  Ok, I think the book got this one right, moving on.
-Interesting protagonist?  Kate Daniels rocks!  She uses intelligence and cunning to work her way through this strange world, dealing with strange creatures all over the map.  She has a secret that gives her a little extra edge.  And when all else fails, she knows how to kick ass as well.  A particular scene comes to mind where a monster of a man (literally, he is a werewolf) grabs her and puts her back to the wall; Kate jams a small silver pin into his hand.  She won’t get pushed around, but her strength isn’t unrealistic.  What else is great about Kate?  Well, she is sarcastic as hell, unwilling to back down when she is right, still makes mistakes but learns from them, and through all that still seems to be a good person.  Absolutely the book got this right. 

So far all the pieces are there for a decent urban fantasy novel.  Having an interesting protagonist puts it ahead of the game in my mind.  But something still doesn’t seem right.  Hmm.

-Supporting characters?  Eh, a little weaker here.  Most the people Kate deal with are one-note types, but with this being Kate’s story that is forgivable to a certain extent.  The lead werewolf was a complete ass, but Kate knows this.  Her love interest was fairly boring as well.  Well, this could be what’s bothering me, but I think I am missing something more substantial.  I will keep searching.

OH!  I think I know what I was looking for!  ANYTHING RESEMBLING A LOGICAL PLOT!  Wow, there it is, I knew there was an important part missing for this to be considered a novel.  Some books are content to merely have plot holes, ‘Magic Bites’ must have felt the need to make those look like amateurs.  This book was a short 250 pages in paperback, moved quickly and flowed on the strength of Kate’s character so well that I almost missed that the actual plot line makes no f—ing sense.  The main bad guy had a plan so idiotic it defies explanation.  He is the one who tipped Kate off to how his own plan may be defeated.  With Kate being an important part his plan he let her keep digging at figuring it out rather than deal with her in the many opportunities he had.

Oh.  And the final battle was ridiculously anti-climactic as well.  Is there a page on TV tropes for ‘blacks out after battle and wakes in bed?’ 

3 stars.  But only because Kate Daniels is awesome.  I may read on at some point.   

Kate Daniels series
Magic Bites
Magic Burns
Magic Strikes
Magic Bleeds
Magic Slays

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Comments on: "Urban Fantasy Review: ‘Magic Bites’ by Ilona Andrews" (1)

  1. Great review, Nathan. But you really need to get off this urban/werewolf/whatever treadmill. I prescribe a series of 600 page grimdark epics; at least you'll stop worrying about missing plots.

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