Desert Isle Keeper
When my children were small, we were Harry Potter fanatics. We counted down the days until the next book was due to be released. We attended midnight themed parties on that red letter day. We had Harry Potter trivia contests in the car on long trips. In other words, we were obsessed. I feel somewhat the same way about this urban fantasy series. I am having a hard time getting any of my grown children to start the Kate Daniels books. Their lives are extremely busy with work, school and the various activities that adults just starting out in life attend to. I am persistent though. I will keep after them until one finally picks up Magic Bites and then systematically consumes all of the rest of this wonderful series. Then we can dissect the books over the phone; have trivia contests during holidays and gain enjoyment in a shared experience of really loving an alternative literary world.
Magic Binds is the fifteenth story set in this world – the ninth full-length novel – and while a reader might be able to jump into the series in one of the first few books, I would not recommend starting with this one. Needless to say, this review will contain spoilers for all the novels and novellas that have gone before. I recommend clearing your calendar, getting the first book and reading until you are caught up in the Kate/Curran world. This Kate Daniels novel does not disappoint.
In her last adventure, Kate and werelion honey, Curran Lenart were after a djinn intent on revenge on one of the Pack. With the Arabian djinn vanquished, they can now turn their attention to more pressing matters – and one of those matters is getting married. Their first order of business is to ask Roman, a Russian black volhv, and good friend to officiate at the wedding. Once he’s said yes Kate can start picking out a wedding dress, sampling food from the caterers and keeping the wedding plans secret from crazy Roland, her narcissistic god of a father who seems not just intent on running her day but her year (and possibly her whole life.)
However, once Kate and Curran discover that ice god Samain, another good friend and regular to the series, has been kidnapped their focus abruptly shifts from their nuptials to their latest nemesis. So it is the Beast Lord and the Tower Builder’s daughter to the rescue once more!
The previous book in this series, Magic Shifts was a transition book and I think it only received an A- from me because the storyline kind of took a backseat to the building apocalypse between Kate and her father. This latest installment is right back up in A-grade territory – without the minus – and assures me that Ilona Andrews still has plenty of ammunition left in her urban fantasy “canon”.
Kate is one of those characters that readers will remember for generations and use as a comparison when new kick-ass heroines appear on the scene. Just as Harry Potter was not the same character at the end of that series, Kate continues to change and grow as a person. Her baggage doesn’t disappear just because she found true love; it follows her around (especially the issues with and about her father) and each adventure has her dealing with it in some new way, even though, like many of us, she doesn’t always want to do that. Her growing powers provide some moments of moral ambiguity that makes her an interesting and fully realized character.
Curran is such an alpha’s alpha that it would be easy for him to totally subsume Kate with his overwhelming personality, but Kate is so strong that she meets him stroke for stroke and the dance they dance with each other is almost a blueprint for an egalitarian relationship. They complement each other and they are stronger together than they are as separate entities. With each other, the baggage they bring is easier to lug around and they take turns carrying it.
There are some revelations in this book that will excite dedicated readers and the humor we have come to associate with Kate and His Furriness is evident throughout the book. Magic Binds is another winner for author Ilona Andrews. In fact, the only problem with it is I have finished reading it and now I have to wait for the next one!