Kelly H. (Maybedog)'s Reviews > Magic Burns

Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews
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This was a little slow to get started, or rather slow to get to the point where I was enjoying it, maybe a couple of chapters. But once it got there, I was hooked and stayed that way until the very end. The characters are real to me and each is their own person, not the same old same old.

My favorite part about these books is that the tall dark and dangerous man who would always get the girl in another book, scares the hell out of Kate. She freaks when she finds out she may have given him to think she was interested in him. True, she's oblivious to the fact he is if. Purse in love with her and misinterprets his actions around her frequently. But the beauty is that she's the one in control and he is the one who's confused and exasperated. Cool role reversal!

Kate is a kick ass heroine. She is a match in combat for King of the Beasts Curran and in the last book she even beat him in one fight. He doesn't rescue her, nobody does except once when she has won the battle and someone finds her to provide medical aid. She doesn't worry about makeup or shoes. She wears t-shirts and other clothes that give her a large range of movement. Style just doesn't even come up.

She so reveals a LOT more about who/what she is but not enough. Andrews better tell us in the next book or I'm going to scream. (Not that she would care if I did...) we also learn about what it's like to live her life and how lonely that can be.

There is a lot of emotion in the book which I like but it isn't over the top. These characters feel it when their comrades are hurt or lost. They get jealous and angry and feel guilt. They also smile and laugh. And they feel grief. Andrews describes grief and loneliness so well I felt emotionally drained when I was done.

The main issue I had with the book is that I don't think the author knows any teenagers and certainly not ones that live on the streets. The youth in the book are the same caricature that I see in genre books all the time: scared and needy kids who trust fairly easily, never mouth off and just need someone to show them some love and they'll be okay. Um, no.

The more kids are hurt, the less their needs like food and shelter are met they less trusting, the angrier, the mouthier they get. The more they suffer the less they believe in anything getting better. They don't believe the next adult won't let them down and so they try to push the kind hand away partially so they won't be hurt again and partially to make the grown-up prove they'll stick around. Unfortunately it's very hard to do enough to prove it. I'm speaking from my nearly thirteen years working with kids like this and my own experiences in group care as an adolescent. Sure there are exceptions but the characters here did not come across as exceptions. The girl was way too weak-willed to have overcome her situation. I just didn't buy it. (At one point Andrews implies that the girl's mother has just disappeared but later we find that she's been either on the streets or hanging with street kids for at least two years.)

Oh, which reminds me: Kate's goal in the first half of the book is resolved in a sudden, after-the-fact sort of explanation. But I didn't really care about that storyline that much. Instead, the intensity and non-stop action of the other plot lines satisfied me a great deal.
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