When magic strikes and Atlanta goes to pieces, it’s a job for mercenary Kate Daniels in this thrilling novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.
Drafted into working for the Order of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems than she knows what to do with these days. 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 Lord of the Beasts, uncover a dark plot that may forever alter the face of Atlanta's shapeshifting community...
- ISBN10 0441017029
- ISBN13 9780441017027
- Publish Date 31 March 2009 (first published 1 March 2009)
- Publish Status Active
- Publish Country US
- Publisher Penguin Putnam Inc
- Imprint Berkley Publishing Corporation,U.S.
- Format Paperback (US Mass Market)
- Pages 320
- Language English
- URL https://penguinrandomhouse.com/books/isbn/9780441017027
In this one, Kate has been drafted to work in the Order as a sort of liaison between the Pack and the Order. She is on shaky ground with them, even though her mentor was a Knight of the Order and held in high esteem. But Kate quit before earning her Knighthood and is a bit of an authority-hating rebel.
These books are action-packed and thoroughly engrossing. But for me, the characters are what really bring me in. We learn more about Kate, her past, and why she is the way she is. The story of Kate is fascinating and tragic at the same time. Curran plays a big role in this novel and I love his character, too. It would have been too easy to make him the alpha male, all brawn, and no brains type. He is an alpha male, but he is so much more than that. He is smart and just and surprisingly amusing. Derek, one of my favorite shifters in the story, is significant in this novel. I loved his story almost as I did Kate's.
The mythology is fantastic in these books. The way it is woven into the mythology of the world is creative and seamless and adds a really rich layer to the entire series.
Overall: This has quickly become one of my favorite series and it is one I highly recommend!
Original Rating: 12/14 - 4.5 stars
This novel was hard for me the first time, and it was hard for me the second time, because Derek is my favorite. Like, seriously, I did not like him getting hurt one bit! And the whole situation with Jim was still nerve wrecking even though I knew what is going to happen.
Another thing I enjoyed in this novel is that Kate is starting to show how smart she really is. The first two novels establish her shit luck and her strange powerfullness, but now we get to see some more deduction from her and how much of a fast learner she is (the scene where she's cold Order member with Jim and he's like who are you and what have you done with Kate killed me. Same for Saiman)
Still experiencing phantom frustrations with Kate and Curran taking their time haha
Once again, Kate throws her well being out of the window and does everything she can possibly do to save and protect her friends and loved one. I love this, but I also think these books are following a very similar pattern for each one - a lot of bad shit happens, and at the end Kate is bleeding and on the verge of death but pulls through.
Kate is contacted by Saiman after he finds Derek breaking into his apartment and trying to steal his tickets to the illegal, gladiator-type fights known as the Midnight Games. Saiman recognizes Derek from the last time Kate visited him with the werewolf in tow. He makes a deal with Kate to release Derek to her and not involve the authorities. The authority being Curran who as Beast Lord would have to punish Derek severely, first for the B&E and secondly because Curran laid down the law the no shifter could attend the Midnight Games — EVER!
Derek is one the few people Kate considers a friend and he is obviously in over his head on something to risk that type of punishment from the Beast Lord, but whatever Derek’s problem, he won’t let Kate help.
But there is one thing she can do. Kate agrees to escort Saiman to the Games for his silence. Saiman not only wants Kate there in his continued attempts to seduce her but also for her abilities as a warrior to assess the combatants. There is a group of fighters calling themselves The Reapers, who are testing as human, but there is no way they could be surviving all these fights against supernaturals without some type of magical or supernatural ability.
Kate knows from first glance that these warriors are not 100 percent human. The one fighter has skin too perfect. No healed cuts, no small scars. And another has an absolutely uniform tattoo covering most of his body. Impossible since he could not have had all that work done at the same time and this fighter also has no flaws in the ink, no scars, no cuts. These fighters couldn’t possibly be human, but how can they possible fool the m-scans and the blood tests?
The winner of the games will win a gemstone unlike any other. When Kate learns that The Reapers are trying to win it so they can carve it down to use to destroy all the shifters, Kate has no choice but to enter the ring herself in order to keep all her friends safe.
There was a huge difference in my enjoyment of the story since I read this novel vs. listening to the audiobook. There is the fact that a lot of this story involves the gladiator-type games which was easier to follow than some of the other story lines. But when we get into the why and the what-the-hell-are-those and what’s with the flying castle which all involve Hindu legends, it was a lot easier to absorb the details while reading.
Who doesn’t enjoy the tension between Curran and Kate, although I will complain that it was a very quick change of mind from Curran calling Kate his personal nightmare to wanting her as his mate but who can argue since I like their chemistry. I have also been enjoying the quick Curran POV shorts that you can get free on the Ilona Andrews website. Especially the Hot Tub scene from Curran’s POV.
This is a very interesting Urban Fantasy series, with great world building and interesting characters, but you have to give the story your full attention if you want to understand it.
Kate once again puts herself in danger for her friends, as she demands vengeance and tries to protect Curran and his pack. The plot was action-packed as we find ourselves in the middle of the Midnight Games. The games feature a gladiator type arena where shifters and other supernatural creatures compete. The stakes are high and the betting is of the chart. It is also a place that Curran has strictly forbidden pack involvement. I found myself standing still in the middle of my chores totally caught up in the tale and holding my breath.
Andrews keeps the action at full throttle even as she continues to develop Kate. I loved the softer sides of our snarky heroine. Andrews gaves her wings and allowed her to fly. It was so impressive. Curran continues to make me swoon. He is a fearless alpha, quick to temper and cocky as hell, but we see his softer side as well. The interaction between them is positively delightful. I found myself giggling at their banter. His mannerisms and her inner banter are things of pure joy.
Andrews weaved in a little Hindu along with some Greek and Norse mythology. I love that the tale is grounded more in shifter history with the magic woven into it. We learn more about Kate’s reasons for burning her blood and what she is. Dark, gritty, bloody and heart stopping at times Magic Strikes was perfectly balanced with humor, friendship and snark. The ending was perfect and had me giggling.. This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Book Reviewer
Kate gets a call from the shapechanger Saiman that he’s got Kate’s werewolf sidekick Derek after he tried to break into his home. In exchange to Derek’s freedom Kate agrees to go to Midnight Games, highly illegal tournament to death, as Saiman’s date. Derek won’t tell why he tried to steal Saiman’s tickets but makes her promise to deliver a message to a girl in the Games without reading it first. Kate does as she promised but it comes with a price as she comes too late to Derek’s rescue and finds him nearly beaten to death, unable to shapeshift nor heal himself.
At first I have to say that this was the book that made me love this serie for sure! I’ve liked the previous books but this is by far the best so far.
There’s lot of action and ass kicking and I loved it. Kate seems to have matured a bit and started to care for others more. I loved how she went to Julie’s rescue to the school. Relationship between Kate and Curran takes to another level and the bath scene *drools* I like that the relationship is building in stages and she’s not just jumping into his bed at first chance.
I laughed aloud many times and the book is great mix of humour and action.
I found myself to become more curious of Jim too. It’s not easy when there’s too many hot men there! And poor, poor Derek!
I admit that everyone was right, these books just gets better.
Kelly: For the love of small furry kittens, why did we wait so long to start this book??
Amanda: Because my life has been insanely busy and this was the first time I had time to read this book?
Kelly: Good point.
Amanda: You know we both have wanted to pick up the next book in the series ASAP upon finishing.
Kelly: Yes. YES! *looks covetously at the rest of the series*
Amanda: I probably shouldn’t have even read this one, but you know what? I’m glad I did.
Kelly: *raises hand* I want to have Curran’s magical babies now. And Derek’s. And Raphael’s.
Amanda: I believe you already said that. About Curran anyway. The Derek and Raphael thing is kind of new. Anyway. Magic Strikes was… delicious.
Kelly: Like Nutella.
Amanda: Mmm…Nutella. And we got answers about Kate’s father.
Kelly: OMG! Did we! I was a little surprised that I actually guessed the whole father thing, btw. You know that I’m the worst clue-decipher-er in the whole world. I figured that I was wrong just because I thought I was right.
Amanda: As the series progressed, I felt like it was less of a mystery, and more of a secret Kate was keeping. You know, like she just didn’t want to talk about who her father was, rather than it being some grand mystery we were supposed to figure out. And I’m guessing that we will see a lot more of the father story arc in the coming books. Especially since Kate did something that kind of blows her secret out of the water. Or blood. Whatever.
Kelly: I don’t see how this couldn’t be a big part of the storyline. I mean… BIG STUFF!
Amanda: And she did THE THING for Curran. And her friends. But mostly for Curran. You know, I was surprised at how little Curran actually appeared in this book, but every time he did… *swoons* *fans self*
Kelly: I believe I tweeted my thoughts on Curran to you at one point. *swoon swoon motherfucking swoon*
Amanda: Motherfucking swoon is right. That little romance is starting to heat up big time, and, even though it’s frustrating, I love how slowly it’s progressing and how effectively Curran is stalking Kate. Yes, stalking. Like a lion. Rawr.
Kelly: I love Kate’s thought process on Curran. It seems like she honestly doesn’t know how she feels. She likes him. She thinks he’s a sociopath. She thinks he hates her. She can’t stop her body from responding to him. She wants to make mad monkey love…err… lion love. Scratch that. Mad lion love sounds painful.
Amanda: Oh, and her dream? I laughed so hard. You know I have the weirdest dreams. Sparkly tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, people waving my own red heels at me. But Kate’s?
“I dreamed that Curran and I killed a dinosaur and then had sex in the dirt.”
Amanda: I laughed and instantly highlighted it in my Kindle. I found a lot of quotes that I really really liked in this book, and any time a book makes me stop and highlight something, that’s the mark of a good book, I think.
Kelly: I LOVED that line! It had me giggling madly! I’m curious about what you thought about the mythology that was introduced in this book.
Amanda: I have a confession to make. I have a tendency to ignore mythology that is very complex and/or that I don’t know much about. That was the case here. On both accounts. Plus, I was waaaaaaay more focused on the romance. So, rather than be confused or wonder how the hell the mythology plays into it all, I pretty much skim through it. And I do this with all books, not just this series.
Kelly: I have a pretty good handle on Celtic and Greek mythology but I’m only mildly conversant in Hindu mythology. I honestly had some serious overload with the amount of info we were given here. To the point where I almost couldn’t follow which god was which and who they were fighting against. It was like being hit in the brainpan with a concentrated blast of Advanced Hindu Gods 101. Since I was also focused on the romance (and the carnage… oh, the carnage!), this was only slightly distracting but I think it helped for me that Kate was sorting through all this info at the same time we were.
Amanda: Yes. And that’s why I skim. It prevents overload and distractions. I think you probably have to have a good handle on Hindu mythology for it not to be a total information overload and to make sense of it all.
Kelly: I don’t think you’re wrong. All in all, I ended up LOVING this book. I am so happy that we’re getting answers and that Kate and Curran are starting to heat up even more! Rawr!
Amanda: I’m hoping for even more swooning in Magic Bleeds. And the need to take a very cold shower after we finish.
Kelly: Niiiiiiiiice. I don’t know if you noticed but the next book has a bit of girth to it. *looks innocent*
Amanda: Is it nice and big? You know how I love big things.