Review – Magic Bites

Posted May 10, 2019 by Nicky in Reviews / 8 Comments

Cover of Magic Bites by Ilona AndrewsMagic Bites, Ilona Andrews

The first time I read this book, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. This time, I was surprised by the way the world was stripped back and all the stuff I remembered from later book was not here yet… though there is some delicious foreshadowing, and really, if you’re paying attention, you have some idea of what’s up by the end of this book.

I’d also forgotten how much these books make me laugh.

Magic Bites gets dismissed as paranormal romance, but there’s really not much romance in this book. There’s one potential romance that fizzles out because the main character is suspicious, emotionally unavailable and wedded to her job (her job is killing things), and there’s a hint at what’s to come in later books. But for the most part this book is Kate Daniels going it alone. She’s a mercenary who gets herself involved when her mentor gets killed. Wherever there’s trouble, she’s there, and half the time she’s the cause. Try saying ‘here, kitty, kitty, kitty’ to the Lord of the shapeshifters, a lion shifter… yes, that sounds like a good idea.

I love the setting of these books. It’s set in Atlanta, post-magic-apocalypse, where the world alternates between magic and tech — so you need a jeep and your horse if you want to be sure of getting around. It’s a wilderness of old tumble-down buildings that should have stood for years, and a world where shapeshifters and vampires (very creepy vampires) rule the shadows.

Really, those who dismiss this as paranormal romance and decide it’s not their thing because everyone knows paranormal romance is just ‘sex with a plot’… might just want to give it a go. Kate’s tough as nails and a lot funnier, in a deadpan scary sort of way, and the world-building is actually an interesting set-up. It’s not all about who Kate gets in bed with, and honestly in this book it’s barely even about that at all. I’m not saying it’s perfect: I think some people struggle with the worldbuilding, because you’re expected to take it for granted, and I think it’d have given me more pause the first time too. I think some characters you’re supposed to like come off fairly badly.

But it’s funny, and there’s so much potential. After Magic Bites, there’s so much more to come. Looking forward to revisiting the books I’ve read before, and finally reading the newer ones!

Rating: 4/5

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8 responses to “Review – Magic Bites

  1. The line between paranormal romance and urban fantasy is an odd one in my head. I’m increasingly unhappy about urban fantasy as a designation because when I use it I mean ‘recognisably set in our world but with supernatural elements’ and not necessarily our world as-it-is-now (let alone in an urban setting). Subgenres, eh?! Trail of Lightning also doesn’t really sound ‘right’ with a UF tag – maybe we need a new world for post-magical apocalypse for all these books 🙂
    imyril recently posted…Trail of Lightning Read-along: week oneMy Profile

    • It often seems to be used to disparage certain books just because they contain romance. And on the one hand, I understand it not being some people’s thing, but on the other hand, I nearly dismissed this series — which I enjoy a lot — because I didn’t read any romance at the time and it sounds like not my thing. And then there’s basically no romance and absolutely no sex in the first book at all! Not what I think most people mean by paranormal romance.

  2. I keep meaning to go back and give this series another try as I wasn’t in the mood for it when I first read it. I don’t remember much about it except a couple of names so I would be starting afresh!

    • I think the first book could be your thing! I’ve forgotten over time how much the romance becomes part of it, so it might be too much for your tastes later on, but there’s virtually none in this book!

  3. I am such a big fan of this series. It made me very happy when I discovered the books last year. For me, the reason why I never picked it up before are the rather unfortunate covers – I just wish they weren’t so cheesy. But I SO love Kate, she is the best.

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