Review: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels #1) by Ilona Andrews
How did I get it: The library.

Why did I get it: I’ve been hearing about this series for quite some time and figured I’d give it a try.

How I would rate it: 3 out of 5 stars (although I did debate giving it a 2.5 for quite awhile).


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…

Review: This review is hard because my feelings on this book are all over the place. Nearly every element worked for me. I liked just about all the characters and the bizarre nature of the villain they were up against. I think Curran was really neat and his pack as well as its hierarchy was fascinating. I also like Mahon, Samian, Ghastek, and Derek. The new take on vampires as drones for necromancers was intriguingly original, and the creepy horror aspects of the plot were great. Over all, there’s something really compelling and entertaining about the world Andrews has created.

Unfortunately though the one thing that basically prevents me from being really excited about this book was a critical part of it and that was the main character, Kate Daniels. I’ve been told she gets better, but in this first book Kate’s first person narration and generally awful attitude negatively impacted everything else for me as a reader.

I wanted to feel sympathetic towards her plight and in some ways I could tell Kate was over-burdened. She was in a rough spot, after all, and dealing with a lot of sad, difficult issues steming from years prior to where her series begins. And yet Kate was just so unappreciative of help and other people, including the man whose death she was investigating that I just could not have cared any less about her. Maybe if I knew what Kate’s back story was I could at least get what was going on. But without any light shed on her actual issues or background, I can only judge Kate based on her actions.

The majority of those actions led me to think of Kate as yet another one of those irritating fictional characters who has to prove they’re tough and can play with the big boys by mopping the floor with the people they meet before even making sure they ought to mop the floor with them. I get that it’s meant for the reader to see them as being defensive and afraid to be vulnerable while in need of some guidance or a relationship, but it doesn’t work for me. I wouldn’t even want to read about men who act like this and I certainly do not enjoy reading about women who behave like Kate.

I want to continue to see if things really do get better because of the setting and other characters, but I have to admit that I’m a bit wary of proceeding because I have no desire to read about Kate doing much besides growing up and letting people into her life. I also would sort of prefer for Kate and Curran to continue loathing one another, but if nothing else I do hope that Kate will get better before she gets too involved with Curran since their hooking up is pretty inevitable. If time is taken with building their relationship and if Kate can somehow become more of a help than a hindrance to what was otherwise a pretty decent Urban Fantasy book, I’ll be a very happy reader. 

In conclusion, this book was really not really my cup of tea.  If you want to read about cool and tough female characters, I would suggest choosing something by Marjorie M. Liu, Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane, or Zoo City by Lauren Beukes.


About April

I'm a librarian, reader, and writer whose main goal in life is to be able to swim in books the way Scrooge McDuck swims in money. Although my reading choices will always be wildly eclectic and I never plan on leaving any genre unexplored, my favorite reads tend to be Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Gay Romance, or Historical Fiction. You can e-mail me at inspector[dot]librarian[at]gmail[dot]com.
This entry was posted in 2011 Reading Challenge, Library Book, Review and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Review: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

  1. Thanks for the honest review here. I’ve heard great things of this series as well. But, I’ve been a little skeptical if it’s for me. 🙂 Thank you!

    • You’re welcome. 🙂 I’m glad it helped and I have to admit I was hoping for this first book to be a bit better. But maybe it’s one of those series that becomes more enjoyable over time.

  2. Pingback: Reader’s Progress #13 | CSI: Librarian

  3. Pingback: Review: Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews | CSI: Librarian

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