Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Review: Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels, #5.5)
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels, #5.5
Publication date: July 31st 2012
Mass market paperback, 326pages
Buy: The Book Depository
Gunmetal Magic in numbers:
Number of pages: 326
Number of hilarious sentences per page: Anywhere between 3 and 17
Number of characters I want to be best friends with: 5
Number of raw emotional moments: too many to count
It would appear that, at this point, the husband-and-wife writing team Ilona Andrews can do no wrong. There’s a reason why many people who don’t normally read urban fantasy adore their Kate Daniels series, and people who do read lots of urban fantasy usually single it out as their favorite.
This spin-off of sorts, Andrea’s book, had some pretty big expectations to live up to, but there was never any doubt that they’d succeed, and succeed they did. Fast-paced, emotional, filled with beloved characters and hordes of mythological creatures, Gunmetal Magic is, above all, fun. Mission accomplished, you guys.
Andrea Nash is a person tortured by her past in nightmares. She sleepwalks and wakes up in her closet clutching a knife, but then gets dressed and becomes this unflinching, self-assured heroine you can’t help but admire. Despite many similarities between her and Kate Daniels, the authors never allow you to forget whose eyes you’re seeing through.
They call people like Andrea beastkin, a taboo among the shapewhifters. Her mother was a werehyena and her father a hyenawere, an animal that turned into a human as opposed to the other way around. As a daughter of an animal that occasionally shifted into a mentally challenged human, she suffered abuse and torture that culminated with her being set on fire at the age of eleven. Even though she grew up to be strong and skilled, a knight of the Order of Merciful Aid, the fear and distrust toward her own kind never really left her. Gunmetal Magic explores Andrea’s journey from being completely and utterly broken to having a chance at happiness.
The amount of mythology included in these books is comparable only to Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles, but unlike Hearne, Ilona and Gordon never allow themselves to get pulled into a dry lecturing mode. Instead, they mix a massive amount of information with their signature sense of humor – they’ve developed this skill so perfectly, in fact, that you don’t even notice you’re learning something new between bouts of laughter and all the tear wiping.
Smut is the only thing these two don’t do well. It’s no secret that they don’t enjoy writing it – in fact, they’ve explained several times how uncomfortable they are with it. Their books focus on other things and they have different priorities. I actually tend to agree with them up to a point and this never bothered me one bit (you want smut, you read paranormal romance… with UF you get blood and guns), but I feel that it bears mentioning. I’m not saying that there aren’t any sex scenes in their books – there are – I’m just saying they lack heat some other authors accomplish with little to no effort. For some, like me, it’s a good thing, but the others should be warned.
I will say this just one more time because apparently, I haven’t been loud and annoying enough so far: my Kate Daniels books are full of post-it notes and I reread parts of them more often than I care to admit. It is my favorite urban fantasy series by far, and I’m someone who reads a lot of urban fantasy. If you’re still undecided about picking it up, I say go for it as soon as possible. Given the chance, Kate and Andrea will win your heart in an instant.
This book includes Magic Gifts, a hundred pages long Kate Daniels novella, first published in e-format as a Christmas gift to the fans. Yes, they are just that awesome.