Rec a Series is a monthly post highlighting one of my favorite series, past or present. I had a moment of stunned disbelief when I realized I hadn’t covered this series. It’s amazingly glorious. It’s one of the first Urban Fantasy series folks think of when one mentions UF. And I hadn’t mentioned it yet. This…is not good. Let me remedy that now and dive into the alternate reality of Atlanta after the return of magic. I present to you…
The Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews
I’m not sure there’s anyone left who both loves Urban Fantasy and who hasn’t read the Kate Daniels books. I’m pretty sure there’s one or two, but seriously? Crawl out of your caves and grab them! They really are worth it.
The world building is amazing. Set in an alternative reality, it would have been easy for the world building to be lazy. The cities are real, meaning the authors didn’t have to create something from nothing, so the Andrews team poured all their attention into the other aspect of the novels.
Magic returned to the world with a vengeance, and then kept rolling over technology in a series of waves like a pendulum. When tech was up, things like cars, telephones, and guns worked and most magic didn’t. During a tech wave, the world of Kate Daniels is as close as it comes to our world as we know it. When magic was up, tech was spotty at best, spells flew, and sometimes the gods came to visit. Not so bad…unless you were in one of the last airplanes when the first wave hit.
Kate’s world includes most of the standard paranormal creatures, though with her own spin, but also includes more obscure specimens from a variety of mythologies. Her shapeshifters represent the usual species, and a few unusual ones, are extremely powerful, but have intense drawbacks. Vampires are controlled by navigators who answer to a mysterious figure known only as Roland to those who know of him at all. Witches come in all moralities, some worshiping gods, some not. A few gods wander into the stories during magic flares—intense bursts of magic—but most of the series’ lore revolves around the shapeshifters, vampires, and Kate’s magic.
There is a romantic subplot that grows stronger as the relationship between the characters grows. It’s practically nonexistent in the first couple of books, though in a re-read, one can see the hints that lead to it. Once it starts to build, it shifts the tone of the books from straight urban fantasy onto the edge of paranormal romance. Some would appreciate the shift. Others, not so much. I was doing cartwheels when Kate and her honey-bunny hooked up, so I’m definitely in that first bunch.
As with most series, there are good books and not so good books. My favorite is probably Magic Bleeds. It introduces more of Kate’s family and more of the strange crap that revolves around those particular ties. Her aunt is a legend, not in the “hero who saves the world” kind of way, but of the “evil villain who destroys all she comes across” type. Death, disease, the Pack, the People…and poor Kate, right in the middle of it all. Another good one is the newest, Magic Binds. A wedding, a confrontation, the beginning of war, and an ending that lets you know things are going to be crazy in the next book.
Now for the ‘not so good’ book. There’s really only one so far and that’s Magic Rises. The main story was good. A European group offers panacea, the only cure for a shapeshifter going loup, but the Beastlord and Kate, along with other members of the Pack, travel to mediate some issue in order to take possession of the medicine. The story is okay. It’s unnecessarily melodramatic, though Hugh was awesome, but what really pissed me off was the issue between Curran and Kate, his excuse explanation for it, and her acceptance/forgiveness. It weakened both Curran and Kate for no good reason and wasn’t believable considering their characters up to that point.
Overall, it’s a great series with a kick-ass female lead (usually) and a hot, charismatic male lead (usually). The stories are great, the world rich and well-developed, and the relationship one of mutual respect that builds slowly so that it’s believable. The tenth book will be the last in this series. I’m hoping the Andrews team will branch out and focus on other characters in the same world, but I’d understand if they start something new. I’d be sad, but I’d understand.
- “I finally realized the source of your mutual attraction,” Saiman said, his voice dry. “You both think violence is foreplay.” ― Magic Rises
- “Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty…” ― Magic Bites
- “You don’t pick the family you’re born into. You pick the one you make. I already chose my mate and glued her ass to the chair to make sure she knew it.” ― Magic Bleeds
- “Have your vote. But know this: if you come to remove me, come in force, because if you try to separate me from him, I will kill every single one of you. My hand won’t shake. My aim won’t falter. My face will be the last thing you’ll see before you die.” ― Magic Bleeds
The Kate Daniels Series –
Number of Books: Nine
- Magic Bites
- Magic Burns
- Magic Strikes
- Magic Bleeds
- Magic Slays
- Magic Rises
- Magic Breaks
- Magic Shifts
- Magic Binds
Number of Extras:
- A Questionable Client (#0.5) – also published in the anthology, Small Magics
- Magic Mourns (#3.5)
- Magic Dreams (#4.5)
- Gunmetal Magic (#5.5)
- Magic Gifts (#5.7)
- Magic Steals (#7.5)
- Magic Stars (#8.5) – also considered #1 in the Grey Wolf Series
- Retribution Clause – published in the anthology, Small Magics. This short is set in the Kate Daniels world but outside the timeline
- Magic Tests – published in the anthology, Small Magics. This short is set in the Kate Daniels world but outside the timeline
- Curran’s POV – a downloadable collection of scenes from Curran’s point of view (best read after the books, but do get this. It’s awesome!)
- Curran’s Twitter – a short set up like a twitter conversation between the Kate Daniels characters
- Curran’s Twitter #2 – a short set up like a twitter conversation between the Kate Daniels characters
- Curran’s Twitter #3 – a short set up like a twitter conversation between the Kate Daniels characters
- Dabwaha Debate – held at Gertrude Hunt, a competition between Rogan/Nevada from the Hidden Legacy series and Curran/Kate from the Kate Daniels world.
- Deleted Scene from Magic Binds
- No. There is one more in the series still to be published.