Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Kate Daniels Series #6: Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

Published: July 30th 2013 by Ace
Goodreads Summary:  Atlanta is a city plagued by magical problems. Kate Daniels will fight to solve them—no matter the cost.

Mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate, Curran, the Beast Lord, are struggling to solve a heartbreaking crisis. Unable to control their beasts, many of the Pack’s shapeshifting children fail to survive to adulthood. While there is a medicine that can help, the secret to its making is closely guarded by the European packs, and there’s little available in Atlanta.

Kate can’t bear to watch innocents suffer, but the solution she and Curran have found threatens to be even more painful. The European shapeshifters who once outmaneuvered the Beast Lord have asked him to arbitrate a dispute—and they’ll pay him in medicine. With the young people’s survival and the Pack’s future at stake, Kate and Curran know they must accept the offer—but they have little doubt that they’re heading straight into a trap…

The sixth volumes of the Kate Daniels series stirred mixed feelings in me. In Magic Rises, Kate and Curran must play bodyguard for Dessendra, a shapeshiter princess who’s carrying twin from two different fathers. They must ensure the safety of her life until she gives birth. In exchange of this, they will receive panacea, a remedy which can prevent Loupism. 

The mission isn’t as straightforward as it seem. Dessandra’s father Jarek Khral is essentially her power-hungry and tyrannical pimp. He doesn’t care whether she live or die as long as the babies are born and his power becomes more established. 

As for the twins’ father, both are her husband and both can gain a lot after she delivers. So the mission is truly about preventing that the various factions slaughter each other. Obviously since Kate is the luckiest girl alive, nothing goes as expected.

This time, the story doesn’t take place in Atlanta. Ilona Andrews sent their character to Europe. So we’ve got some Greek mythology to dig. I didn't really care for the change in setting. If in the first place the world in which the story takes place is completely different from the “real” world, then I don’t see why it shouldn’t be explored. On the other hand, encountering yet one more mythology annoys me. I find it a little bit boring and repetitive.

At the beginning of this review, I said that my feeling were ambivalent concerning Magic Rises. I’ll explain why now. If it is on a purely entertaining level, I would give Magic Rises a A+ without pausing. I finished the book in a day and a half, that’s how hooked I was. However, if I should take into account the plot, then this mark would be reduced to a B+. 

Let’s start with the positive. There’s an incredible twist in this book, something that I wouldn’t have expected at this point in the story. Prepare yourself for the bombshell...3...2...1...Hugh D'Ambray makes an appearance in Magic Rises but because of some sad twist of fate our heroes can't even entertain the thought of killing him! Yes I said it.

Once again, all the secondary characters didn’t disappoint. And I really enjoyed Desandra. She’s unstable, but deep down she’s a smart girl and I think that with time she could make a good alpha. I believe that the fighting scene in Magic Rises were by far the best in all the series. At time it truly felt as if I was seeing them rather than reading them.

Now, let’s dig into the negative. 

Since the previous installement, I feel like the wife-husband duo is trying to send a message though their book. In Magic Slays it was about how twisted humanity can be. In Magic Rises, Ilona Andrews was trying to make a point on the difficulty of bringing up a baby in a messed up world. The problem is that in both books, their messages come across as phony and redundant. I was also irked by the fact that a couple of time in the book the plot seemed to magically adapt to the characters’ need.

But the biggest disappointment in Magic Rises for me was the relation between Curran and Kate. 

In the previous books, the Beast Lord and his mate pretty much cleared all the personal baggages that could set them apart. Therefore at this point in the story I would have expected them to be a stable couple and to act like one. But Ilona Andrews had another idea in mind. They wanted to create drama between them and they did. However, at this point in the story, it truly wasn't necessary. I felt as if I was back in book 3 where none of them was completely sure if they could trust the other. 

Another thing that I didn't appreciate was that at time the romance between Kate and Curran was very much "I love you so much, I would sacrifice my life for you." Way too mushy-mushy and unrealistic for my taste.

Despite all the negative points I listed, I adored Magic Rises and I’m eager to read the next book in the series. 

*Completely unrelated thing: I REALLY LOVE the cover. And for once I think the model cover fit Kate's appearance as it is described in the book.

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