Regular readers of this blog know I'm a big fan of urban fantasies. Among my favorite authors are Jim Butcher, Mark del Franco, Mike Carey and Patricia Briggs.
Two years ago I did a review on Ilona Andrews' first Kate Daniels' fantasy set in Atlanta, Magic Bites. This morning I'm punchdrunk because I stayed up until 3:00 AM reading the fourth in the series, Magic Bleeds.
Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym of a husband-and-wife writing team who live in Portland. As I said in my first post about the Kate Daniels' series, the world-building is very intricate. Kate resides in an alternate Atlanta--a city devastated by the war between magic and technology. After centuries in which man's technology dominated Earth, magic is fighting back. When tech is up, everything works as it should: electricity, cars, telephones, modern weapons. However, when a wave of magic hits, all technology fails and weird creatures run free. Then the magic fluctuation subsides, spells fail and technology works again.
Kate has been working as an agent of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, the group that protects the city from paranormal threats. However, her relationship with the lead Knight-Protector, Ted Moynohan, is strained. He doesn't approve of Kate's friendship with non-humans like the shape-shifting population of Atlanta.
In Magic Bleeds, Kate's relationship with the leader of the shape-shifters, Curran Lennart, comes to a crisis point just as an ancient monster, called the City Eater, arrives in Atlanta. When Kate realizes that the City Eater shares her bloodline, her first instinct is to flee. Her foster father taught her how to disappear, and he prepared safe places for her to run if necessary.
But Kate is bound by the hostages to her heart. Fleeing would mean leaving Julie, her ward; Andrea, her best friend; and Curran ... who might just be the love she never expected to have.
Magic Bleeds is a terrific read. The novel combines action with relationship-building without sacrificing one for the other. The authors have done a great job of establishing Kate's character, motivations and goals. They also continue introducing new characters, which revitalize the series. My favorite this outing was Kate's new dog, a scruffy poodle she finds in a cellar beneath a bar.
[Yawn] Now I have to head to work.