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Magic Dreams by Ilona Andrews
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Jul 02, 12

Read in July, 2012

`Magic Dreams' is the new short story from Ilona Andrews, which originally appeared in the 2011 'Hexed' anthology. This short concerns fan-favourites from the `Kate Daniels' universe - Keep spymaster, Jim, and blind white tiger, Dali. `Dreams' takes place between Magic Bleeds (Book 4) and Magic Slays (Book 5), but is a stand-alone story.

There's some weird magic at one of the shifter community offices. Jim goes to investigate, but finds spooky magic, the smell of blood, a mysteriously beautiful woman and a sudden need to snooze. A Chinese symbol is his only clue, so he seeks out Indonesian white tiger, Dali, for her calligraphy expertise.

What Dali discovers is some bad Japanese ju-ju - centred around a death curse and arachnid magic.

Jim and Dali are beloved in the `Kate Daniels' universe. And most of the reason for their independent fandom is their oddball, almost romance. Jim pines for Dali in his quiet, reserved way. He's always complaining about her drag-racing habit (a problem when she's half blind) and asserting his Alpha control over her. Dali is likewise smitten with Jim, but firm in her belief that a sexy Alpha like him wouldn't want a klutzy, ugly spinster who wears coke-bottle glasses and is a vegetarian tiger.

Well, `Magic Dreams' is Jim and Dali's story, their chance to finally get their act together and get together!

This is a great little short. Ilona Andrews delivers a wonderfully complex and frightening magical mystery - entrenched in Asian mythology and complete with creepy spider villains. Truly, this is a spine-tingling story. And it's especially brilliant for introducing readers to a bit more of the `Kate Daniels' physical universe. In `Dreams' Dali ventures to the Atlanta Underground, where the black market runs rampant and shifters are worth a pretty penny (dead, or alive). For a short story, there's some intricate and wonderfully complex story-telling going on here - Ilona Andrews definitely assert their trademark worldbuilding.

The romance between Jim and Dali is a little underwhelming, on the whole. Sure, there's plenty of lovely tension and funny misunderstandings. Since `Dreams' is told from Dali's POV, it's nice to know just how much she has been pining after her sexy alpha. And Jim offers a few veiled-asides and drops hints that go completely over Dali's head . . . but fans shouldn't hold their breath for hot loving between the two of them. Jim and Dali are both quite reserved characters. So there's no steamy coupling like Andrea and Raphael's in the `Must Love Hellhounds' short, `Magic Mourns'. It would have been nice to read some erotic by-play between these two, but I understand that it wouldn't have been exactly in keeping with either of their personalities. Still, a girl can dream.
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