Magic Bleeds is the fourth installment of the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews and so far my absolute favorite. I’m featuring it in the Five Sentences to Impress section because not only did the first five impress the hell out of me, those sentences were found in the Prologue. Some of you (don’t deny it) are rolling your eyes right now, and I understand. Prologues are sort of controversial. I don’t entirely know why, but they are.
To date, I haven’t read a Prologue that grabbed me quite the way this one did, so let’s get on with it shall we?
No matter how carefully I patted the chopped apples into place, the top crust of my apple pie always looked like I’d tried to bury a dismembered body under it. My pies turned out ugly, but they tasted good. This particular pie was rapidly losing the last of its heat. I surveyed the spread in my kitchen. Venison steaks, marinated in beer, lightly seasoned, sitting in a pan ready to be popped into the oven.
Now, because I’m not completely heartless, I will also give you what some will consider the real first five.
I rode thorough the streets of Atlanta, rocking with the hoofbeats of my favorite mule, Marigold, who didn’t care for the birdcage attached to her saddle and really didn’t care for the globs of lizard spit dripping from my jeans. The birdcage contained a fist-sized clump of gray fuzz, which I’d had a devil of a time catching and which might or might not have been a living dust bunny. The jeans contained about a half-gallon of saliva deposited on me by a pair of Trimble County Lizards, which I’d managed to chase back to their enclosure at the Atlanta Center for Mythological Research. I was eleven hours and thirteen minutes into my shift, I hadn’t eaten since that morning, and I wanted a doughnut. Three weeks had passed since Curran had stood me up.
Kate Daniels is vastly becoming on of my favorite UF heroines and Ilona Andrews, the husband and wife writing team, are for sure a new UF fav. Here’s a blurb from Magic Bleeds as well as a the first book in this series: Magic Bites.
MAGIC BLEEDS is one of those pivotal books that can either make or break the series. Vital changes take place. The enemy Kate faces in this book is the most powerful we’ve written to date. When Kate shattered the blood sword during Midnight Games, she knew there would be consequences. Well, the consequences arrive and smash her life to pieces. She loses everything and her world will never be the same.
In so many ways, this is a fight or flight book. Kate’s opponent has been called the City Eater, and the moniker is well deserved. The situation is desperate. Kate knows she is outclassed and underpowered. The City Eater has centuries of experience, commanding the forces of nature and deadly disease. Kate would have preferred facing anything else, a mythical monster, a legend, a god, but no, her opponent is much, much worse. The City Eater is family. This enemy has no mercy, no compassion, and no weakness.
Kate has to stand against her bloodline and probably die, or run, abandoning everyone she cares about, and live to fight another day. It very clear just how far she has to go in learning her powers and she has no time to do it.
In the middle of this chaos she must decide if she should take that one vital step forward, bridging the distance between her and Beast Lord. For the first time in her life she is truly, deeply in love. But being with Curran means telling him about her ancestry, because as she says in the narrative, “You can’t smelt happiness from a lie. The world doesn’t work that way.” Being with him means dragging him down into her private war, because Kate knows that once they’re together, her problems will become his and Curran doesn’t do backing down.
Eventually all prospective couples reach the point of no return: that spot in the relationship when they have to decide if they are together or not. This is the book where Kate and Curran decide. They both know that whichever way they go, there is no turning back. This is it.
MAGIC BITES. 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 love this world and this series. It’s complex, but not ridiculously so. The key with UF is to remember your characters aren’t going to steer you wrong. Everything around them is true. They aren’t telling you they drive around in cars that run on finger nail clippings if they aren’t actually driving around in a car that runs off finger nail clippings. Urban Fantasy readers accept the weird and that is what I loved most about this genre.