Published 2009 310 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
Drafted to work for the Order of Knight of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems than she knows what to do with. And in Atlanta, where magic comes and goes like the tide, that's saying a lot.
But when Kate's werewolf friend Derek is discovered nearly dead, she must confront her greatest challenge yet. As her investigation leads her to the Midnight Games – an invitation-only, no-holds-barred, ultimate preternatural fighting tournament – she and Curran, the Beast Lord, uncover a dark plot that may forever alter the face of Atlanta’s shapeshifting community…
Magic Strikes is the third novel in the Kate Daniels urban fantasy series by husband and wife writing team Ilona Andrews. While Magic Strikes is a fairly self-contained story and could almost be read as a stand alone, it is part of a series with a long-running story arc so new readers would probably be best to read the previous books in this series first rather than starting here. This is no hardship since Magic Bites and Magic Burns are both fantastic fantasy novels. Magic Strikes makes a strong addition to the series, cementing Ilona Andrews’ reputation for delivering top quality modern urban fantasy.
All the novels in this series are set in near-future Atlanta but this is not Atlanta as any readers familiar with the city would recognise. The city has been battered by waves of magic that have eroded the skyscrapers and reshaped Atlanta into a maze of rubble and pockets of magic. The worse effected area is Unicorn Lane, a place where all the monsters hide out - and these are some nasty monsters given that most supernatural beings are accepted as a regular part of life in this city.
In fact a supernatural talent is a bonus in this world where magic has eaten away at technology and computers, mobile phones and iPods are a thing of the past. Even guns and cars can be unreliable when the magic is up – leading to Kate usually using horse powered transport and favouring a sword as her weapon of choice. This lack of modern day technology gives Magic Strikes a strong classic fantasy flavour because the setting has little in common with our modern world. This is unlike the majority of urban fantasy novels on the market today which have a world the same as our own but with the addition of vampires or other supernatural beasties.
Naturally with Unicorn Lane being full of supernatural nasties it’s on Kate’s agenda for a visit along with gladiatorial death fights and avoiding the romantic overtures of Curran, the Beast Lord. Investigating the Midnight Games, a preternatural fighting tournament, proves to be hard work when the investigators keep turning up horribly dead. Teaming with the Weres for an unofficial investigation seems to be Kate’s best chance for finding the person responsible for savagely maiming her werewolf friend Derek. Resulting clues take Kate through Unicorn Lane to a pocket of magical reality where she encounters creatures of myth with a taste for human flesh. Worse the creatures appear to be linked to Kate’s own personal bogeyman, Roland - her powerful necromancer father who wants her dead…
Like all of Ilona Andrews novels Magic Strikes is imaginatively crafted with a rich, yet uncommon mythology. Magic Burns saw the author bring Celtic mythology and a giant tortoise to life (not something that the average fantasy reader sees everyday!) In Magic Strikes the author takes creatures of Indian myth and turns them into her own original magical monsters - complete with flying palace. Amazing!
While there are a couple of mentions of vampires in Magic Strikes they only have a small part in the story. These vampires are mindless undead creatures that can live forever but are completely controlled by the necromancers that ride their minds. Bearing little resemblance to the suave and urbane vampires made popular by paranormal romance stories these vamps are little better than ugly servants, indentured for eternity.
Kate Daniels makes a suitably kick-ass heroine and with an ever heightening romantic tension provided by Curran, alpha of the Atlanta shapeshifters, there is plenty here to delight even the most demanding urban fantasy fans.
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