Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Review: Kate Daniels series novellas

See, this is my kind of laziness. I was looking at my Monthly Reads post and decided that instead of doing mini-impression, it would be quicker to put these three reads in a review. Wrong!! It sure wasn't faster, but in the end I'm happy with the results LOL. How can I have so much to say about novellas though, that baffles me :P

Nothing much going on with me. I've decided to re-read Cursor's Fury by Jim Butcher... and am slowly getting ready for Ames' arrival. I'm really looking forward to the two days off at the end of the week!! Yay!! Now I'm off to review more books from August... Enjoy this post!

Magic Dreams by Ilona Andrews
published by Berkley in August 2011
Shapeshifting tigress Dali Harimau finds herself in deep waters when she must challenge a dark being to a battle of wits or risk losing the man for whom she secretly longs.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Kate Daniels series, Book #4.5

The Story: Dali Harimau is a petite Indonesian woman who wears coke-bottle glasses and can shapeshift into a vegetarian white tiger. She is very smart, but not physically strong and therefore feels cuddled by the Beast Lord and her Alpha's rules. While Dali might stretch the limits of these rules, she is always ready to help the Pack. When Jim comes to Dali for her expertise on South Asian magic, she quickly realizes that something is wrong with her Alpha. After poking around, Dali finds out that Jim is being possessed by a Japanese spider demon and said demon is draining Jim from his life energy. Dali is determined to save Jim's life... even if it means putting her own at risk.

My Opinion: I loved Magic Dreams. Simply loved it :) When I picked up the anthology, I had no idea that Dali was the narrator of this Kate Daniels series installment... but when I found out, SQUEEEE!!! I loved Dali from the first when she was introduced in Magic Strikes. She's just so quirky LOL. I mean, seriously, did you ever hear of a vegetarian tiger that get sick at the sight of blood? Also, she has attitude in spades. Being able to stand up to Curran and Jim is no small accomplishment. So yeah, it just made my day to read a story from her POV and to see her romance with Jim unfolds :)

I always thought the strengths of the Kate Daniels series were 1) the characters, 2) the plots and 3) the touch of humor. Well Ms Andrews reinforced this belief for me with Magic Dreams. I enjoyed reading about Dali and Jim, finding out more about their personalities. They are secondary characters that definitively had potential to be expanded and it was great of Ms Andrews to do so. I also loved reading about Jim and Dali's feelings for each other. It's been hinted that Jim had feelings for Dali in Magic Bleeds and I was curious about it. In Magic Dreams, it's more from Dali's perspectives, but it's good to see that she reciprocated his feelings :) Still, you can see how much Dali matters to Jim... I mean, he learned her dialect! That was really cute. So overall, I was very happy with the romance :)

I think that Ms Andrews did a great job at balancing everything in this novella: the characters, the romance and the storyline. The storyline was both interesting and complex. I thought that was really important, so it kept with the spirit of the series. It also fit Dali's background really well, which made it even better. Then, there were the touches of humor :) It's great when you're reading a story and just laugh out loud because of those :)

My only issue with this novella was Dali's voice. I simply think that it is not very distinct from Kate. What keeps them separate is Dali's Asian background and her strength being different from Kate, but otherwise... I think it's partly due to both women being snarky and thinking the same way, plus how the story is actually constructed. But really, this is a very small complaint and perhaps if we had a full-length novel with Dali as a heroine, it wouldn't be a problem at all ;)

My Grade: A. Magic Dreams is one of the best novellas I've read. Of course, if it was a possibility, I would have loved for Magic Dreams to be longer, would have loved to read more of Dali and Jim... However, as a novella, it is well-written, complete and a great read :) I hope we'll get to see them more as a couple in the future books :)

Curran POV vol. 1 by Gordon Andrews
published by Ilona Andrews in July 2010

This isn't a short story or a novella. This is a collection of scenes written by Gordon Andrews as a companion to our Kate Daniels series of books. These scenes illustrate the point of view of Curran, the Beast Lord of Atlanta and are provided in gratitude to our readers for all of their support. This collection isn't meant to stand on its own as an independent work of fiction.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Kate Daniels series

My Opinion: As described in the blurb, Curran POV is a collection of scenes from the Kate Daniels series written from Curran's POV. These scenes are a couple of pages each and are definitively not meant to be read as a stand-alone. However, fans of the Kate Daniels series will definitively enjoy them :) I know, I did.

I think these scenes give us a better insight at Curran, a better idea of who is Curran, which is a good thing considering that all we've read in the Kate Daniels series have come from Kate's POV. I don't think that Kate's view of Curran is romanticized and actually, he has told her many times what to expect from... but still, I don't think I really believed it till I read some of his thoughts and actions. After reading Curran POV, I find Curran more ruthless and domineering than ever. Perhaps subconsciously, I was the one romanticizing his character.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Curran POV. Whatever is found in this collection doesn't alter the events that has taken place... but it was fun to read these scenes from Curran's POV. To know his thoughts, his feelings and his reactions to some of the things that happened. I especially enjoyed his impressions of Kate when they first met and my favorite scene is when he is feeding soup to Kate in Magic Burns :)  Therefore a big thank you Mr Andrews has taken the time to write these little snippets and that he shared it with us :)

My Grade: B.

Fathers and Sons by Gordon Andrews
published by Ilona Andrews in May 2011
Infuriated by Kate's treatment at the hands of the Pack, the Beast Lord demands an explanation. When words fail, claws and fangs must do the talking.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Kate Daniels series, Book #4.25/Curran POV, Book #2

The Story: Fathers and Sons takes place just after Magic Bleeds. Curran wakes up from his coma and is none to happy to hear that his mate had had to face 22 challenges in the past two weeks. He is especially angry at Mahon, his adoptive father and Alpha of Clan Heavy, because with his support, Mahon could have prevented the situation... However, Mahon has never approved of Kate as the potential consort... and thus, father and son battle it out.

My Opinion: Another very short story, but fun to read :) I think this is the short story that really made me realized how ruthless Curran is. How he expects to be obeyed... and in a way, his selfishness. Once again, nothing new here. We already knew and Curran had already told Kate... but still, to see proof of it makes it more real.

I like this short story because it really solidifies Kate and Curran bond. The fact that Curran would "retire" his adoptive father if necessary for Kate to rule along side with him. I also enjoyed the politics of the Pack. LOL, lots of frienemies :) And despite the shortness of the story, it still got my heart to beat loudly for one or two seconds :)

My Grade: B+.


  1. One of my favorite series is the Kate Daniels series.... I'm going to buy Hexed now, don't know why I don't already have it?!

    The Curran POV stories are great... how very differently he sees things :)

  2. You tempt me even though it is way out of my comfort zone - I barely like Paranormal romance and I rarely ever read Urban Fantasy- but you make some of these sound super good.


  3. I adored Dali! While I like Jim too, Dali just made the story for me.

    I still haven't read the Curran POVs stories. Need to get on that. :)

  4. I read Dali's story and loved it as well. I have the first Curran installment but have yet to read it. I'll have to get on that and then read Father and Sons - it sounds good! :)

  5. Aw sorry I've been MIA with comments. I've been reading off the mobile and it's more effort to comment from there.

    Anyhow, Dali's story sound cute. When I heard about Dali and Jim I wasn't interested but now I am!

    I love Curran POV vol. 1. I'm going to...re-read it now. :P

  6. Hi Nath! I think we all loved Dali! She was just great.:)

    I love the Kate Daniels series and those little peeks into Curran's POV are just great. I enjoyed both stories, although Vol II is my favorite so far. :)

  7. Mariana - It's one of my favorite series as well :) I actually don't mind that the next book will be narrated by Andrea. as long as it takes place in the same world... :)

    You should definitively buy Hexed! :)

    And yeah, the Curran POVs are really interesting :)

    Alex - It is a great series. I didn't like the first two books as much though, so you really have to keep reading...

    Did you ever read Nalini Singh, Alex?

    Leslie - Well I think we didn't see Jim as much. But yeah, Dali definitively made the book :)

    You should give Curran POVs :) I'm sure you'll enjoy it :)

    Tracy - I hope you enjoy the Curran POVs, Tracy! :)

    Tabitha - No problem Tabs! :) I keep in contact with you via emails, so all is okay LOL.

    Ohhhhh, Dali is great :) You definitively have to read it, Tabs! And did you read Fathers and Sons?

    Hilcia - I agree Hils :) Dali is fun and her story was just so enjoyable :)

    Oh volume 2 is definitively better, since it's more like a very, very short story :)

  8. OOooo, nath! I love this post--all these Kate Daniels novellas in one post! Genius! I can't wait to get to them!

  9. Christine - What are you waiting for? You're going to adore it!