Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Review: Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews

Wooohooo, a review! Perhaps not the most original book to review at this time, but hey, it's a start! Hopefully, there'll be more in the near future. In the meantime, enjoy!!

PS - Spent a very boring week-end. Nothing to really blab about :P You?

***Warning: This review contains spoilers. Read at your own risk***

Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews
published by Berkley (Ace) in August 2015
After breaking from life with the Pack, mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate—former Beast Lord Curran Lennart—are adjusting to a very different pace. While they’re thrilled to escape all the infighting, Curran misses the constant challenges of leading the shapeshifters.

So when the Pack offers him its stake in the Mercenary Guild, Curran seizes the opportunity—too bad the Guild wants nothing to do with him and Kate. Luckily, as a veteran merc, Kate can take over any of the Guild’s unfinished jobs in order to bring in money and build their reputation. But what Kate and Curran don’t realize is that the odd jobs they’ve been working are all connected.

An ancient enemy has arisen, and Kate and Curran are the only ones who can stop it—before it takes their city apart piece by piece…
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Kate Daniels, Book #8

The Story: I was going to skip this part, because I tend to be lengthy and most of the time, I'm just re-wording the blurb ^_^; However, this blurb is pretty good at being vague and saying nothing relevant about the story. Then again, it's proof that most of us will pick up the book regardless, simply because of 4 words: Kate, Daniels, Ilona & Andrews LOL.

Here goes... Magic Shifts opens up with Kate, Curran and Julie settling in their new life, new neighborhood. Since Curran stepped down from being the Beast Lord, there is a three months period for the separation to be done. That means all of Curran's investments and money will be separated from the Pack, anyone from the Pack wanting to join Curran and Kate will have to settle their affairs as well, etc. It also means that during this period, Curran and Kate cannot go to the Keep, cannot involve themselves in Pack business and cannot try to convince people to follow them. While Curran doesn't miss being the Beast Lord, he misses making things function... and let just say business at Cutting Edge is not enough to keep him busy.

Then, someone from the Pack goes missing and Kate and Curran are solicited for help as the clan Alpha isn't deploying all the efforts for a search and rescue due to personal reasons. Hordes of ghouls are appearing, reanimative metamorphosis occurs... and of course, it's all connected. But how? And is it an attack against Kate because she claimed Atlanta or more personal?

My Opinion: Let's start with a disclaimer. I read Magic Shifts in one seating which usually is a good indicator of how good a book is. At the same time though, I stayed up way past my bedtime, which means I was pretty tired when I got to the conclusion of the book... and I wonder if it didn't affect my enjoyment of the book. Perhaps I should have stopped and gotten some rest instead of powering through it. However, what's done is done and here is how I feel about this book.

Overall, I enjoyed and liked Magic Shifts... but it wasn't my favorite book in the series. This is book #8 and at this point, we all know what to expect from a new installment - lots of action, lots of sarcasm and a good mystery involving some magical element or deity. And that's what we got... but I felt like Magic Shifts lacked some of the intensity that made Magic Strikes, Magic Bleeds and Magic Slays winners for me. Don't get me wrong, there were some great action, but in comparison to previous books, the action sequences were short... and it screwed up the pacing of the story. With a Kate Daniels book, we're used to fast-pacing, but there were a lot of down times in Magic Shifts. In other words, Magic Shifts was a transition book and it felt like it. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy seeing Kate and Curran playing house, adapting to their new normal - because I did - but it came at a cost and that cost was the action and the mystery.

I thought the mystery in Magic Shifts wasn't as complex as in previous books. I never felt that Kate and her entourage were truly threatened. Perhaps it's because the menace Kate has faced in the past couple of books was more personal and this one wasn't really connected to her. Also, I have to say, I was pretty disappointed at how the whole thing unfolded in the end. The answers came too easily, just falling into Kate's laps.

I did have a few LOL moments as usual. I just love Kate's humor :) And I'm giving two thumbs up to Ms Andrews for the secondary characters because she limited their appearances, but also kept them true to themselves. What I mean is no matter how much us, fans, love and gush about certain secondary characters, Ms Andrews doesn't make them more lovable to please us... and that takes guts in my opinion. And I'm not going to lie, I wished we'd have seen more of everyone, but this book was pretty focused on Kate and Curran and that was the right choice, given it's about their new beginning. Also, the ending was very interesting, opening up new directions :)

My Grade: It's going to be a B for me. There are always high expectations for a new Kate Daniels book and Magic Shifts just fell short a bit by lacking of ompf. Still, I'm really excited for the next book and can't wait to see where Ms Andrews takes us :)