My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I would like all authors of urban fantasy and paranormal romance out there to stop for a second their feverish scribbling and take a look at this series. THE proof that YES, series don't necessarily need to go down the drain after 4th installment, that YES, series can STILL be interesting after the two romantic interests in the story "do the deed" and that YES, plots do not need to become unbelievably twisted, punctuated by improbable events and where mythology gets slaughtered just to get out of the bloody unplanned mess that became your story's outline.
Now, instead of giving you a synopsis of the book, I'd rather tell you why this book in particular, but the whole series in general, deserved 5 stars:
- because the plot is interesting, well developed, makes total sense, each book is tied to the other but still stands on its own without painful, mean and useless cliffhangers;
- because romance in this book is not the vital core of the story but rather like a planet orbiting around a much substantial and well-founded plot - so much so that in the first book there is NO romance and we're still all here, inhaling every single word Andrews is writing;
- because vampires, in these books, do not sparkle;
- because the Andrews, when they decided to put mythology into their world, did their homework well and decided to stick with what they knew: in this book, they stuck with Russian mythology and used it in a great, clever way - there is no Russian kid who hasn't heard of Baba Yaga that I'm aware of;
-because Kate is simply and undeniably the baddest UF heroine out there at the moment; she is clever, disillusioned, snarky and she kicks ass so much that I wish I was her;
-because the dialogue is so full of snark, banter, sarcasm and great comebacks that I am SURE everybody has highlighted some part or the other of the book;
Finally, the main reason why I think this series is so fortunate: because the Andrews are two. So what? Even P.C. Cast are two. No. I think the fact that a man and a woman have written this series together has given it a great balance. Thanks to Gordon Andrews being present, the books never get cheesy, overly romantic or dangerously stupid. On the contrary, you can see where he puts in his knowledge of weapons, fighting strategies and so on. He gives the books a masculine angle that only helps making Kate even more of a badass. The fact that the authors are husband and wife shows in the dialogues between Kate and Curran, I think.
In all this awesomeness, I am not saying that the book - or the series - is perfect. There are flaws: some that have to do with proofreading - a "door bursts open" immediately after having fallen into the room - some with the plot - I think there is a certain confusion at times about the form the beasts take, half form, warrior form, full animal. There is a passage where Mahon shouldn't have been able to shift into warrior form yet he does - and some have to do with excessive detailing - those who followed and understood the whole coefficient and proportion thing about probability of loupism please raise your hand. Also, I was pretty sorry that Raphael was not in this book, and I expect him in the next one.
Still, somehow, these imperfections do not detract from the general state of satisfaction I was left in after I read the last page of the book.
Dear Ilona and Gordon Andrews, if you keep on writing like this, I will gladly buy Magic Whatever # 15.