Originally posted at http://www.fictionvixen.com/review-gu...
As a huge fangirl of the husband and wife writing team that is Ilona Andrews, I must say I was both excited and not excited when I heard the next book in their Kate Daniels series wasn't going to be about Kate Daniels, but about her best friend Andrea Nash. Excited because, hey, this IS in the Kate Daniels series, which in my opinion is probably the best Urban Fantasy series out there. Not excited because, in my expirience when an author starts to branch out and tell the secondary characters stories I tend to find those tales not as good as the original storyline. In this case there should have been no worries, Andrea Nash is just as kick ass of a character as Kate Daniels is.
Andrea has been the best friend, a kind of side kick if you will, of Kate Daniels through out the series. In Gunmetal Magic we get to see her in action, all by herself, told from her POV. This book has, of course, a mystery to be solved. Four shapeshifters who work for Raphael have been murdered while guarding a jobsite. Jim has asked for Andrea's help to find out what happened. While working the case Andrea finally has to deal with Raphael, an ex-lover whom she parted with on bad terms, but, for Andrea to deal with Raphael, she must also deal with her painful past and come to terms, once and for all, with who she is and who she wants to be.
For me the storyline of Andrea accepting herself and her and Raphael coming to terms with who they are to each other was the meat of the story. The reader finally gets a glimpse of Andrea's childhood and let me tell you, it is not pretty. I got this huge, painful feeling in my chest when Andrea is remembering some of the uglier aspects of her childhood. When she finally tells Ascanio the whole story of her life my heart hurt for her. What I loved about her though, is that when she comes to the realization that she has to deal with her shapeshifter side and accept that as a positive part of herself, she doesn't waver. Once she has made the descision to let the part of herself she has been holding back come to the forefront she moves forward and embraces herself. Of course, we learn that part of the problem between Andrea and Raphael has been her accepting herself as a shapeshifter and entering into the Pack. The push and pull between two people who love each other, but who come from two different life expiriences, while being interwoven with shifter mating rituals was lovely to read about. I LOVE shifter mating rituals, OMG, how I love shifter mating rituals. All I can say is.... purple shag carpeting. On everything...
One of the best parts of this series is the secondary characters and the dialouge between them. There is never a dull moment and often I find myself chuckling out loud at their banter. Every character is so unique and interesting that I always want to know more about each and every one of them. It's always a good thing when I am just as invested in say, Derek or Ascanio or Jim as I am with the supposed main characters. Even though the storylines tend to be heavy on some type of mythology it never overshadows the characters. The way this team writes lets the characters be in control and the main focus at all times. I like the reliance on each other's strengths and the willingness to work together to overcome the odds.
We get to see Kate, Curren and other beloved characters throughout the story and I enjoyed seeing them through Andrea's eyes. I have always loved Kate and Curren together but the reader actually gets a little different take on them as a couple when told from a different POV. Ascanio cracks me up and the back and forth between him and Julie kind of made me go.. "hmmmm...". Might there be something there between them in the future? I would love that. Roman plays a much bigger role than in the previous book and to be honest, I found him to be an awesome character. I even had a few, aha, moments when Andrea and Aunt B were interacting with each other.
Overall, this continues to be, in my humble opinion, the best Urban Fantasy series out there. From the rich world building, to the witty, sarcastic dialouge to the original takes on mythology and folklore.... there are no rivals. Ilona Andrews has managed to weave all the parts I like best about reading into one series and continue to improve with every single new addition. The writing is always seemless, the storylines are always action packed and interesting , and I honestly care about what happens to the characters they have created. I'm hoping that they decide to include more books about other secondary characters into their writing schedule.
"You mean you showed her your guns and she didn't faint?"
Ha-ha-ha. "No , honey, you're the only one who does that."
"As I recall, it was usually the other way around."
"I've seen plenty of guns. You have a nice one, but it didn't make me faint."
"That's what you say now."
"Raphael, I don't own this phone. Don't make me break it, because I just gave up my last ten bucks to use it."
His voice was sweet as honey. "Darling, do you need me to loan you some money?"
"I have never in my life needed you to loan me money. If I was dead, and the ferryman needed a coin to take me across the river to the afterlife, and you had the only quarter in existence, I'd tell you to stick it up your ass."
People looked at me, This wasn't going well.