Review: Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

magicbreaksMagic Breaks (Kate Daniels, #7) by Ilona Andrews
Urban Fantasy
Releases: July 29. 2014
Ace

Joint review by Mandi & Tori

When trouble comes to Atlanta, you can always guarantee Kate Daniels is smack dab in the middle of it, swinging her sword. And trouble is definitely come to Atlanta in the form of Hugh D’Ambrey.

Being consort to the Beast Lord isn’t an easy job. Between struggling to keep her business afloat and dealing with never ending pack issues, Kate has her hands full. During the monthly Conclave meeting, a master of the dead is murdered and the pack is challenged to find the culprit within 24 hours or the People will declare war. If Kate didn’t have enough to do, Curren is off doing business in North Carolina, the pack has a traitor in their mists, and Kate knows Roland is coming for her.

As tensions build, Kate will have to shuck off the last remaining shackles of her youth and embrace who and what she is if she is going to save her city, her friends, and the only man she has ever loved.

Tori: We here at Smexy Books love Ilona Andrews and their bestselling urban fantasy Kate Daniels. Basically, we love everything that comes from this dynamic writing duo and if they write it, we will read it. Often rereading this series multiple times per year, I find comfort in their writing. Each reread provides me with more understanding of this convoluted world and its constantly changing inhabitants. While the familiar draws me in, it’s the evolving world and vibrant characters that keep me returning. Equal parts of humor and horror merge together to form intriguing stories that drag me in and hold me hostage to the end.  I find their style of writing addictive and I await their new releases with barely concealed impatience. Thisseries is the perfect urban fantasy with its balance of power, action, and vulnerability.

After the catastrophic breath stealing events in Magic Rises, the Andrews takes pity on their readers and gives us a story filled with love, laughter, tragedy, and hope. Almost everyone now knows who Kate is and all her reasons for hiding are out in the open. She must take the offensive if she hopes to have a fighting chance against Roland. I find the route Andrews is taking concerning Roland to be unique and also keeping within the theme that has permeated the series. No one in here is decidedly good or bad. There are multiple shades of gray and each person must make their own choices on the path they decide to walk.

I love the evolution of Kate Daniels throughout this series. In the beginning we met a sociopath whose versions of right and wrong are made more poignant once we are privy to her back story. Raised and manipulated by her “stepfather” Voron, Kate is one of the good guys because she chooses to be. Her internal moral compass, while skewed, is strong and generally points in the right direction. We have watched as this solitary young woman has taken chances and learned to trust and love. Though for every step she made she was forced back two…she fought, clawed, and struggled to become her own person and not the instrument of destruction Voron hoped to create. In Kate Daniels we see a woman who against all odds has become a hero. What do you think, Mandi? Has Kate’s evolution been to your satisfaction?

Mandi: Her evolution has trumped my satisfaction. I’m not sure I could ask more from a heroine. Kate is bad ass, strong, smart, and extremely talented. We can all agree. But she also accepts her faults. She knows she has a weakness for leaving those she claims as hers (pack, friends, family) behind. She can’t just say, ‘let’s sacrifice one for the good of the pack’ – she won’t leave anyone behind. This doesn’t always make a good leader though. And she knows this. She knows when to ask (or should I say finally give in) Curran for help. She is stubborn, loyal, brave and freaking sarcastic. I love her.

I think it’s safe to say that this book is the book we’ve all been waiting for. Ilona Andrews even wrote a note before the book starts basically telling readers to buckle up (and that there are more books to come). Kate has not one but two big, bad dudes after her – Hugh d’Ambray and daddy Roland. This book she gets tested. Big time tested, like never before. I love that this book (and series) is so violent, dark, gritty – but there are scenes like this that make me laugh so hard:

“Hey, Kate? Have you thought of walking up to Hugh and telling him that he’s got the biggest dick ever?” She spread her arms to the size of a baseball bat.

“No, you think it would work?” I asked

“It’s worth a try. Maybe he’ll be so happy you noticed his pork sword, he’ll forget all about trying to kill us.”

Tori, what did you think of the events that take place in this book as it culminates the overall arc this series has been leading to?

Tori: I went through an “evolution” myself as each event revealed itself. The path twisted and turned; once again proving the sheer talent possessed by the Andrews writing team. They plot a difficult emotional path to Kate’s destiny in here, changing the ongoing story line and showing us that regardless of what you think may happen…they have plenty more tricks up their sleeve. What thrilled me the most was the ease in which everything changed and settled back into place. Fans have spent six books with an expectation towards a certain conclusion only to find out, like Kate, that nothing is ever what it seems.

As always, Kate fights for the underdog and all those she feels are under her protection. Parallels between she and Hugh are expanded upon, showing us what she could have been and what she has chosen to become due to a series of events. Introducing new characters and their thoughts/actions gives readers a new “bone” to chew on as we are herded towards the series conclusion. Old plotlines are effectively wrapped up with realistic results while being used to nudge open new avenues for exploration. Violence and humor go hand in hand here to keep readers thoroughly engaged till the very end.

“The other day Andrea tried to explain to me that apparently I am suppose to have a new thing, an old thing, a blue thing, and something stolen.”

“Borrowed, Kate.”

“Who the hell even makes up these rules?”

“It’s tradition.”

“Even Julie talked to me about it the other day.”

“What did she say?”

“She thinks I should wear black.”

Some events were almost stupefying in their outcome. I love that Kate isn’t omnipresent and gets caught in the crossfire quite a bit. Her ability to survive is half skill and half luck. I love that while Kate will do anything for the pack, she isn’t stupid enough to believe they will do anything for her.

“Honey, we can fill this place with what we know and you don’t.”

Mandi, you messaged me that certain things happened that you didn’t foresee. Did you find them overwhelming or the perfect introduction for the direction we seem to be going in?

Mandi: I was very happy with the way the big events turned out at the end of this book. Honestly, if I had been told what happens before I read it, I would have thought I wouldn’t like it – but as you read, it all falls into place. It’s like Ilona Andrews knows what they are doing or something! *wink* While this closes a large arc, it also opens up room for some new adventure. Very intrigued and excited to see where we go in the next book.

We also get a hot sex scene! Yeah Curran! And I laughed, I cringed, I held my breath – this author is by far the best storyteller out there.

A few of my favorite quotes/scenes:

“What the hell is this?” Desandra asked (Kate).

“This is Cuddles. She’s a mammoth donkey.”

Derek grinned, leaning on the fence. “Do you have any self-respect left?”

“Nope.”

—-

“Trapped by a horde of vampires in the middle of a snow-covered field, huddling around a tiny fire on thin blankets,” Curran said. “Drink it in, baby. All this luxury just for you.”

 

Tori: I second that ‘Yeah Curran!’ Though I was still a little put out by his actions in Magic Rises, I found my love for him hasn’t decreased. The romance, though limited in interaction in here (Curran is gone three quarters of the book) is still as hot and potent now as it was when it first started. This couple has been through the wringer, both externally and emotionally. They have fought their feelings for so long only to give in; which opened a whole new bag of problems. Not many want to see them together, starting with Curran’s own pack. But this couple truly loves one another with the kind of deep powerful that love not only embraces the good but also the bad. Neither Curran or Kate have any illusions to who they sleep next to every night.

“Hey, I warned you from the start it would be weird. I sat in that bathtub with you and told you that this was a really bad idea. You said you loved me and stayed in the tub. As far as I’m concerned, you’ve made your bed. You have to lie in it.”

“I’ll lie in any bed as long as you’re in it, but this is still weird.”

A menage of secondary characters, new and old, continue to expand in their roles, each a viable player in this high stakes game of life and death. I readily appreciate the different personalities that are injected through out here. As I stated earlier, no one is firmly “good and/or evil.” Each serve their own higher purpose that may or may not eventually come into contact with Kate’s purpose. I enjoyed seeing Kate and Ghastek interact on a more personal level. They have been frenemies for so long, it was interesting seeing them interact on a more personal level. Once again, the Andrews remind us that Kate has male friends (of sort) that exist beyond her relationship with Curran, further solidifying the growth she has undergone in this series.  Of course, we see plenty of Andrea, Barabas, Ascanio, and the rest of Kate’s rag tag entourage who fight beside her regardless of what she says or does.

Ascanio shot me another brilliant smile. “I’m sorry for all this trouble. I honestly was just trying to help. But now that I’m here, I couldn’t possibly go back all alone and defenseless. Unless you want to condemn me to certain death. Alone. In the night. In the freezing rain.”

The main conflict is a multi layered concoction of intrigue, tension, violence, and heart stopping scenes as the rules are once again changed on Kate. Multiple plot lines race though the book, twisting and turning to close some long standing open storylines while giving us hints to new ones.Magic Breaks takes everything we have learned and turns it inside out, leaving this reader reeling with all the implications of what’s to come. This series just continues to get better and better. Magic Breaks is a another appealing installment into one of my top recommended urban fantasy series.

Rating: A

Goodreads l Author Website l Series

Kindle l Nook

 

Comments

  1. Lege says

    If there is one series I don’t want ever to end-it’s this one. And I’m with you, Tori, my comfort reread as well…

    Tomorrow…everything can wait ’cause I’ll be reading Kate. :)

    Great review, ladies!

  2. Hanna says

    Can’t wait. :) I’ve re-read all the books up to Magic Rises in preparation. I think I will have to read Magic Rises tonight since I swore that Hugh died in the end of that one… maybe I just wanted him to so bad that it became ingrained in my memory.

    And I have to laugh at how you can chop people up with swords, burn them to death, beat them to death, eat their corpses, and have basically every form of horror that one person can inflict upon another described graphically in a book… BUT NOT SEX. ANYTHING BUT THAT. :D

    Eh, if you can handle watching Kate impale herself on a sword and then kill someone with spikes made of her own blood (Book 3? Ick.) I figure you should be able to handle a little smoochies.

  3. Jane C. says

    Thanks for the great review! I am with you Tori! Evev though I have read thousands and thousands of books, few have ever been “comfort” books that can be read time after time without losing their appeal. The audio versions are equally stellar. Renee Raudman is as much as an artist as Ilona Andrews! Can’t wait for tomorrow!

  4. Lindsayb says

    You have me sold. I’ve had Ilona Andrews on my TBR pile forever, but keep putting it off for whatever reason.

  5. Jo says

    I love this series so much. I came on board at Magic Burns and have been a fan ever since. Each book is consistently great, the quality has not dropped one iota. The writing team of Ilona Andrews is one of the few authors that is an insta buy for me and I can’t wait to read Magic Breaks.
    Loved your review and I’m trying to keep my squeeing down a little but…..
    SQUEEEE*claps*SQUEEEE

    ok yes I’m probably too old for such behaviour but ILONA ANDREWS!!

  6. Sheena says

    This series has long been on my TBR pile! I seriously need to get started. But I love that I am a few books behind, that way I can binge read!

  7. says

    I really hate to squee, but I just have to with this series and this book (and really these authors). I know some people feel that there are some deus ex machina and randomness, but it just doesn’t seem that way to me. The choices Kate has made led to the outcomes in a logical fashion. The only thing I couldn’t abide was the Mauro side plot.

  8. Sarah says

    Just finished. A+. Just when I think…this is the best urban fantasy series ever…it just gets better. I finished tonight and I thought I can’t possibly wait a year before the next book and then I remind myself that I’ve been saying that for the past five years. Lol. Thank you Kate Daniels for always being awesome and keeping me on my toes. … Until next year :)

  9. Shepherd says

    Love the review, and agree with it, but… “Barbados?” Barabas, maybe? Has your review been autocorrected? :-)

    Great book, great series.

  10. mel burns says

    I agree with many things you said about Kate Daniels, BUT…….

    SPOILERS……….

    I wasn’t thrilled by Magic Breaks. It was plot device after plot device with a little humorous banter thrown in the mix and most of it felt recycled from past books in the series. I love the Kate Daniels series like a sister, no matter what she does I will always love her, but I was a little underwhelmed by her story this time around.
    I.HATE.HUGH. Would he die already or at least go on a long vacation. I know there is a strong fan voice that wants him and Kate to “get together” (repulsive), and I do wonder if that is why Hugh takes up so much story space. Hate the guy, did I say that already? He’s just another a cartoon villain to me. No real substance.
    The showdown at The Order was so messed up…..I was speechless over how badly it was conceived…..Mauro???….totally unnecessary! Kate’s loyalty and honor was shoved down my throat the whole book…..again totally unnecessary! I’ve read the series…..I know Kate! (I also felt a kind of disrespect as a long time reader with all of the fucking back story which I’m sure is the publishers doing, not the authors.) The way the Andrews’ introduced it as a journal was inventive, but I still resented it.
    The story got really good from the rescue part on and I felt like the authors were back on track with the genius they’ve shown in past books. Kate is in a class all by herself and I look forward to future books, but I was a little disappointed by the way things were left concerning Christopher (who is he?), The Witches (what’s the bit with the sweater?), Nick (Greg’s ???) and The Order and also the informant (too convenient). I was in no way surprised at the ending given what Curran said to Kate about the pack in Magic Slays. That part of the conclusion felt inevitable and I’m glad for it. New problems will definitely occur which leaves a ton of good stuff for the next book.
    I just started the audio. It will be interesting to see if Renee Raudmans’ performance changes my opinion.

    Great review…..thanks!

    • says

      Mel, the sweater thing was pretty clear, a wool sweater will keep you warm for a long time, even when wet. And the Nick thing wasn’t a surprise to me, I’ve been waiting on the plot twist for him the whole time. He just knew too much for there not to be some sort of additional connection. I also suspected Jennifer from the outset.

      • mel burns says

        Evdokia told Kate to keep it on for at least 24 hours…..she didn’t. I know Kate left her coat behind, but it didn’t seem to me to be just about warmth and water proofing. Your reply seemed condescending to me. The thing about Nick…..it made some sense, but it still felt like a loose thread, not enough info. The thing with Jennifer was too convenient, everyone suspected her, so it would of been more creative to do something out of left field. IMHO.

        • says

          I certainly didn’t intend to sound condescending, I’m more… baffled. Kate says it specifically “Not cold, but not especially warm either. Evdokia’s sweater would buy me some time. Wool kept you warm even when wet.” I was offhanded quoting what was said in the book. I do apologize though if my intent was unclear. As for the Nick thing, opening up that plot twist now while still leaving it open ended makes sense because we have closed a story thread with Curran leaving the pack, which was inevitable, and this opens up some new avenues. Conversely, it made sense to use Jennifer as the spy, despite the fact that she was obvious (maybe even because of it) since it made a clear transition for a change in pack leadership as well as not making everything about convoluted plot twists that seem like a shameless plug to cause the audience to gap in surprise. Sometimes a spade is just a spade. It felt like a good mix of logical conclusions and plot twists to me.

    • Mandi says

      I was surprised by the way things turned out with Hugh..not disappointed but I thought things would take a different path…I like Hugh as a character so I wasn’t upset he was in the book a lot. If you don’t like him, he was in the book A LOT. I feel ya.

      I was also surprised by the journal at the beginning and all the recap. I’m sure it was the publisher who made her do that. This came out in hardcover and I think with its popularity, new people will pick it up and be ticked if they can’t follow along (although I don’t know how you really can if you start with this book)

      I guess some things are left more open because they have more story to tell. They could give us soooo many spin-off stories (Derek…..pleeeease give a book to Derek). All of their supporting characters are so interesting, they can’t wrap each one up in every book.

      I’m curious to see how the tone of the next book will go now that the major arc is over.

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