Review of Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews (2007) (Kate Daniels #1)

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014

Bottom line: Good, but gruesome

Rating: Recommended


Earning a living cleaning up magical messes, mercenary Kate Daniels is drawn into a power struggle between two factions–necromancers and shapeshifters–within Atlanta’s magic circles when her guardian is murdered.


This is one of those books that makes me wish I were WAY more desensitized to violence. I enjoyed the writing, the characters, and the unique setting (magical power comes and goes, alternating with technology – and her take on vampires was really interesting, and far more believable than sparkling demi-god-like figures). It is sort of a murder mystery/urban fantasy mashup, with the emphasis on the urban fantasy: both of which I love.

However, and this is a big however, it was really gruesome. There was a lot of violence, particularly sexual violence against women. The worst of it takes place “off screen”, but is no less present for that.

I’ve heard that the rest of the books in the series aren’t quite as awful in this particular way, so I stepped out on a limb and reserved the second one (Magic Burns) at the library. I’m hoping it’s less graphic, as there were many things I liked about the first book. The author nicely balanced the tension of wrapping up the story arc at the end of the first book, while leaving plenty of unanswered questions about the characters that make you want to keep reading.

Have you read the book or series? What did you think?

P.S. One of the things I loved about the character is that she dresses for practicality, not to be sexy. How could you not love a character who wears “jeans loose enough to let me kick a man taller than me in the throat”?

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