Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews

If you've spent much time around this here bloggy, then there's a good chance you've heard about how crazy I am for Ilona Andrew's Kate Daniels series. The constant back-and-forth between Kate and Curran never fails to entertain me and Andrew's phenomenal world-building of a magic-ravaged Atlanta (my hometown!) always keeps me intrigued. After reading what I shall hereafter refer to as The Goodness - Magic Strikes - I've been on tender-hooks waiting for the sequel ever since.
Magic Bleeds opens with what has to be the best prologue of all time - it's that good. There is positively no contest here folks. In the interest of not becoming all spoiler-y, I won't go into details, but just know that after the dust settles, we are left with one mad Kate. Mad with a capital M. And it would be safe to assume that most of that barely controlled animosity is directed firmly at His Fuzziness, The Beast Lord, Curran. Fortunately for us, Kate isn't like the rest of world when she's furious. She's a teeny bit more dangerous since she never goes anywhere without her enchanted sword, Slayer, strapped to her back. That would add a little bit of swagger to any girl's stride.

So Kate's already seeing red when the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid calls upon her to investigate a bar fight turned deadly. Upon her arrival, Kate finds not only an entire bar of spent brawlers who have no idea why they began fighting in the first place, but a man staked to a telephone pole, crawling with what appears to be a fast-multiplying, deadly disease. Kate contains the disease (barely) but then finds herself up against all sorts of obstacles upon discovering that the victim was a shapeshifter and therefore part of Curran's territory. Not someone she really wants to deal with at the moment. But as the plague-spreading culprit strikes again and again, Kate realizes she's gonna have to call in every favor and rely upon every weapon in her arsenal before this newest enemy can wreck complete destruction on the city of Atlanta. And that means working together with the Order, the Guild, the People, and most importantly the Pack to control this centuries-old evil from destroying everything Kate holds close.

I can feel myself starting to grin like a idiot right now because I've just got to say it: This. Book. Is. Awesome. And then some. Like if Awesome and Mind-Blowing went and had a love child it would be called Magic Bleeds. It's been obvious since day one that husband and wife writer duo Ilona Andrews has had a plan in store for Kate (and us), but Magic Bleeds just went and and blew all my expectations right out of the park. Weighing in as one of my top picks of 2009, Magic Strikes set the bar pretty dang high as far as impressive books go: we finally got to know Kate's Big Secret and saw some very nice relationship development between her and Curran (roar). I wasn't sure it would be possible but it's like Magic Bleeds took those eye-popping elements and then ramped up the intensity, the action, and the sizzle (whoa baby) one-hundred fold. Magic Bleeds simply delivers.

And dang it, but every time I'm enjoying watching Kate kick some serious butt, I end up forgetting just how frightfully brilliant she is. The girl is a total sword-swinging killing machine; too often taken for a simple mercenary with nothing much going on upstairs. Not so. Kate is infinitely more capable - and deadly. Sometimes it's hard to remember that not only has Kate been training as a warrior since age two (or earlier), she's also been getting a comprehensive education in mythology, history, and magic at the same time. It's not until she rattles off the minutiae of some obscure, ancient belief system at the drop of a hat to stunned audiences that I remind myself to pick my jaw up off the floor and just turn the page. She's just that good and I cannot even begin to explain how skillfully her story has been crafted. It's okay, we all want to be Kate. Go ahead and admit it. You'll feel much better after you do.

series reading order:
~ Magic Bites
~ Magic Burns - my review
~ Magic Strikes - my review
~ Magic Mourns (novella in Must Love Hellhounds anthology) - my review
~ Magic Bleeds

Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
Angieville review
Book Harbinger review
Lurv a la Mode review
Smexy Books review
That's Queen Bitch to You review

book source: purchased


Heather (DarklyReading) said...

I loved this book so much! Best of the serious so far for sure!

Angiegirl said...

Your review has put a day-long smile on my face. You nailed it, my friend. This book...oh, this book...

Michelle said...

Heather- I agree. It competley blew my mind. I just love Kate and Curran to bits.

Angie - I truly don't know how Ilona Andrews has done it, but this book is gonna be one of my top books of the year. I've been telling everyone about it.

Chelle said...

I grinned like an idiot while reading the book *and* your review. You are so, so right! :)

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firepages said...

Thanks for the review! It's been two days and I haven't read a single lukewarm review about this series. I am heading to the Amazon Kindle store right now to get my copy. I have to start at Magic Bites, but I realize that the upside to showing up late to a fabulous series is that you don't have to wait to read the following book!