Mike (the Paladin)'s Reviews > Magic Bites

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
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Sep 10, 12

bookshelves: urban-fantasy

And again my rating is the dreaded...3. I had one commenter very upset about books that got/get a 3 rating. He sort of felt everything should get a kind of "pass/fail" rating...4/5 or 1. The problem is that all books AREN'T 5s or 1s. This is a good example.

If you read my profile you know that for a book to get a 5 from me it means "I love it" it means the book is, if not on my favorites list a contender to be on it. Therefore a "4" rating means the book is very good, it might even be exceptional just not one I find good enough or like enough to give a 5.

Thus for a book to get a "3" from me is not a bad thing. 3 is that middle ground. Books I give a 3 range from "I liked it but just not enough" or "I really liked it but it's very flawed in some way" to "I kind of like this"(thus a "2" is from "I kind of like it" to "I don't hate it").

All that said, what's with this book and why did it rate a 3 rather than a 4? All in all we have a "pretty fair" urban fantasy here, though I suspect I'm not really what would be considered the book's "primary audience". The book opens up and begins to present itself as a sort of urban fantasy/murder mystery and on that basis I at first got a little frustrated with it. The feeling of the book is not that our protagonist is putting together clues and working out a puzzle. It's more as if she's stumbling from encounter to encounter and trying to figure what she's gotten herself into. The situation resolves itself on revealing what she herself has to do with the book's situation and how it revolves around Kate herself (view spoiler) Thus what could (and initially does) feel a bit like a deus ex machina answer is really what the author was headed for from the first.

The main character at first put me off a bit as she started out sounding like the ubiquitous "rebel without a cause (or clue)" hero/heroine. You know the kind you pick up at "Protagonists R Us". She began telling us how she didn't deal well with authority and turned away from a connection to a group that could help and even protect her...even though she NEEDED it.

Oh well.

On the plus side the character does seem to grow (a bit) during the events of the book.

The story here in the end is more a suspense/action adventure type urban fantasy and we're obviously going to see more of our main character (not news as there are already a good number of books in this series). The mystery angle is upheld in that we work out "the mystery" and Kate puts the pieces together even if she does it in a rather "oops I should have seen that before" kind of way. Not a bad read and I believe the action will tie the book together well for many readers.

There is also a romance angle to the book which I found a bit annoying (cloying, over whelming to the plot, pervasive...too much???). This is one of those times I mentioned when a book can't be graded either "pass or fail". Where I found the romance only a bother and was frankly annoyed by the way it threaded through the story others out there in "reader land" will undoubtedly find it their favorite part...go figure. Hey it explains all those ice cream flavors.

In the end, I don't know if I'll read any more of these or not. It shows the range of my 3 star rating as sometimes I know I'll follow a series, other times I don't. I can tell from the reviews (and the cover) of the next book that it's probably going to run about the same. I'll see. I give this one 3 stars and suggest you try it. It's urban fantasy and slightly PNR (ParaNormal Romance). It has enough of a romance flavor that it treads perilously close to that line. Decide what you think for yourself, it's a pretty good adventure/mystery.

(view spoiler)
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Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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Kara Nice review Mike. And no, I don't think you are the primary audience for these. ;)


Mike (the Paladin) I figured that out....:)


Stephanie I Glad you read this! And I agree with you on the ratings-- books aren't pass or fail. I hope you try more of this series. I do like Kate, but I agree that her stating "I have problems with authority" gets an eyeroll from me. It is becoming one of my favorite series, though.


Mike (the Paladin) Maybe, I looked up the second, but I have a lot of books waiting. Thanks.


message 5: by cook777 (new) - added it

cook777 Didn't finish. I would gave it a 2 to rate it as far as I had got. I can't say what I didn't really like about it though. Part of it might have been the audiobook, I know that does affect my enjoyment level of a book.


Mike (the Paladin) It can. And personal taste comes into it. The entire romance/smitten with lion boy thing was a negative for me. To each as they say. Some of it was quite good other parts left me cold.


Sandi You gave it a higher rating than I did. I guess I have a limit to the number of series in this genre I can deal with. I'll stick with Mercy Thompson and Kitty Norville.


Mike (the Paladin) LOL. I think this one tried to walk the line between PNR and UF and consequently didn't do either real well. Some like it a lot though.


Erin (Paperback stash) *is juggle-reading* The series improves. Most of my books are average of 3 rating. To me this means I liked it and worth reading.


message 10: by K.F. (new) - rated it 4 stars

K.F. Breene I thought it was funny that when I got to the part in your review where you talked about the romance angle, I thought to myself, is this a dude? Sure enough- ha! In other words- yup, I'm a sucker for romance. Hell, I write it, so you know that is a plus for me. Good review, and if I was a guy, I'd probably do the 3 star route, too. It's just hard to find a female that literally kicks ass, so I threw one more star at it and kept reading. Like your honesty, though :) And one more thing- what douche is telling you that you either like or hate something? Another dude? Because moderation, middle-of-the-road, and the gray area are actually quite common places. Just sayin'! (I'm still trying to teach my husband the fine art of moderation)


Mike (the Paladin) I have friends who like these, I like UF. We've actually talked about where each reader draws the line between UF and PNR. I have a pretty low tolerance for romance. These didn't burn me like some others A few I've started and had to just abandon, LOL.

So, yeah I'm a "dude" I suppose...if we're talking modern usage and not western US. :)


Derrick Good action. Some creepy gore. I got a little tired of our heroine always feeling the need to prove herself in combat with everyone she meets. I also wish she would have shut up about "no one would call me beautiful", when men are throwing themselves at her feet left and right. It smacks of false modesty.

And the fact that she's apparently ridiculously powerful seems a little too easy. Even Anita Blake didn't start piling on the sudden convenient superpowers for half a dozen books.


Tessa Eger Don't read the other series, either! I love it (reading On the Edge), but it is more romance-centered than this one was. I love the world she builds, but it is definitely more of a romance than a fantasy, IMO. Occasionally, I like that. I like On the Edge more than Magic Bites, but both are great for urban fantasy with romance.


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