Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: ”If you come into these mountains with open hands, I will welcome you. If you come holding a sword, you will die by it.”
Pirates, and sea monsters, and princesses…oh my!
Kate Daniels and her mate, the Beast Lord, find themselves once again putting their life on the line to save an innocent. When two pack teenagers start to go loup, Kate and Curran have to negotiate with the European packs for access to the herbal medicine that can save the teenagers from certain death. The Europeans agree to a trade which requires Kate, Curran, and some of the pack to travel to Europe. The Europeans want Curran and the pack to protect an important pregnant shifter until she gives birth. Then and only then will they release the formula for the medicine. Soon Kate and Curran realize there is much more at stake than simple bodyguard duties. Someone wants Kate and Curran separated permanently and are willing to destroy whoever and whatever gets in their way.
Ilona Andrew’s Kate Daniels series remains one of my top urban fantasy series picks to date and I frequently recommend to anyone who stop and listen to my fan girling Often rereading this series multiple times per year, I find comfort in this dynamic duo’s writing. While the familiar draws me in, it’s the ever changing world and vibrant characters that keeps me returning. I find their style of writing addictive and I await their new releases with barely concealed impatience. This series is the perfect urban fantasy with its balance of power and vulnerability. We are not overburdened with emotional angst or ridiculous unbelievable feats. Plot action and ripe tension is tempered with snarky humor and everyday life.
A strongly character driven series, we share an intimate connection with our protagonist, Kate Daniels. Her pain, sorrow, triumphs, and defeats are also ours. It has been a thrilling ride as we have watched her grow from a solitary lonely figure hiding herself and her power to having friends, family, and a lover who is more than able to handle Kate and all her idiosyncrasies. Her growth shines through more and more with each book. She is still scared but she is learning how to trust in herself and others. The world building stays fresh and exciting with constant evolution as we travel throughout an alternative magical version of our world.
Magic Rises is an emotionally dark and weighted story that opens up new doorways for both the arc and the romance. Centering almost exclusively around our protagonists, the storyline(s) explode in multiple directions, using our lovers as the catalyst.
Kate and Curran are one of my favorite urban fantasy couples. Enemies to lovers has always been a favorite trope of mine and these two have led us all on a merry chase. Starting from book one, they have slowly and somewhat antagonistically carved out a relationship, obliterating anyone and anything that dared to stand in their way. Secure now as Liege and Consort of the Southwestern Pack, Kate and Curran are beginning the delicate process of trying to sustain their love. Jealousy, anger, and sorrow fill this installment as Curran’s over protectiveness and Kate’s insecurities rear their ugly heads.
“I’m so used to watching people for swords, I never saw the knife. You were too close.”
Kate and Curran’s relationship has provided plenty of entertainment throughout the series. It’s not the main focus, but it is a large part of it. Especially as the series has progressed. The plot and romance blend so effortlessly now, it has become a major component of the series without corrupting the genre. I enjoy the dynamics of their relationship and the challenges that they face. Curran admits he is more dominant than most; but he tries so hard to achieve a balance of give and take. Kate is still unsure of how to proceed in this relationship (or any relationship) but she makes remarkable advancements. She still doesn’t understand (or refuses to believe) why Curran loves her. She constantly builds walls to keep him away only to tear them down in her rush to get back into his arms. Curran’s ability to effortlessly and unwittingly hurt Kate, often in his need to protect her, still catches her off guard. That’s not to say Kate is a pushover in her love for Curran. She carries a big sword and fought over twenty two shapeshifters for her right to stand by his side. She gives as good as she gets and is one of the few people who can make Curran second guess some of the decisions he has made concerning her. Curran’s biggest fear is losing her yet by his own actions he pushes them straight towards that conclusion.
“You still don’t get it […] I trusted you and you used it against me […] We are not okay.”
Our cast of supporting characters are still a vivid and dynamic group. I’m amazed by Ilona Andrew’s skill at characterization. Each one has a distinctly separate personality that continues to evolve and grow with each new installment. Andrea, Kate’s very first and bestest friend, has always had Kate’s back. Even when Kate pushed her away. She has proven time and time again her loyalty to Kate and their friendship. She and Kate work well together on paper and I always find myself laughing out loud at their playful banters. Andrea is the type of friend who would help you bury a body-no questions asked.
“I hate her already,” said Andrea. “George hates her too, don’t you, George?”
“I think she’s adorable,” George volunteered. “We should give her cookies and milk and if she promises to keep quiet, she can sit at the big peoples’ table.”
Kate’s entourage, Barabas and Jezebel, started out as her advisers but are now willing to challenge anyone in their quest to keep her safe and happy. And I do mean anyone. A firm solidarity is presented by the pack towards Kate, which was delightful to see. They can insult and be rude to Kate but anyone else who does it gets their arses kicked. New characters are introduced without any confusion. They fit in as if they were always present. We get plenty of scene time with various other favorites who keep the dialogue hilarious and the story flowing smoothly. There is a scene that may shock readers. Not the event itself as much as the character it concerns. *sad moment*
The main conflict of the story is a whirlwind of intrigue, tension, and heart stopping action as Kate finds herself in the middle of a political catastrophe where being the Beast Lord’s consort works against her. Multiple sub stories race though the book, twisting and turning to close previous open storylines while giving us hints to new ones. Kate learns more about Roland’s end game while being introduced to possible allies who, like her, are not impressed with daddy dearest. Villains galore run rampant through this installment; from hilariously vapid to down right scary. There is one scene that had me giggling like a fiend as they all play “who’s the biggest monster here.”
“You are trapped with us. Give money!”
“You have it wrong, dear. We are not trapped with you. You’re trapped with us.”
A series of diabolical events set in motion by the villains ends in a climactic finale that guarantees the final coming battle against Roland and his army will be brutal and deadly.
Magic Rises more then rises to the occasion in this delightfully funny, dark, high octane action packed installment that addresses love, loss, and choices. This series just keeps getting better and better. I honestly can’t think of one single problem I had about this book. The storylines and direction they take are top-notch. The way it ends opens up a new future, and I am sure a new set of troubles for Kate to drag Curran and the pack into. Sure to appeal to all fans of urban fantasy and the mythological world and characters Ilona Andrews has created in their bestselling Kate Daniels series. I do not recommend starting the series here. The arc is long reaching and the characters and storylines bleed over without much recap.