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Kate Daniels #1

Magic Bites

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Ilona Andrews invites you to experience the first novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series featuring the intriguing fantasy world of mercenary Kate Daniels…

When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.

Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.

The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t have it any other way…

261 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published March 27, 2007

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About the author

Ilona Andrews

109 books29.7k followers
Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Oregon with their two children, three dogs and a cat. They have co-authored two series, the bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,185 reviews
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,573 reviews33.9k followers
September 1, 2011
3.5 stars

10 Reasons to Love Kate Daniels:

1. She doesn't take any crap from anyone.
2. She's sarcastic and occasionally rude and always hilarious. Who else would greet a snarly Beast Lord with "Here, kitty, kitty...?"
3. She knows all the rules of diplomacy when dealing with shapeshifters, vampires, and other supernaturals.
4. She knows how to break all those rules and commands respect in spite of it.
5. She admits when she makes mistakes.
6. She's comfortable with herself and who she is. But she's lonely too, and she isn't afraid to acknowledge it.
7. She has a lot of men in her life that she likes for different reasons. But she won't hesitate to call them out if she thinks they're crossing the line.
8. She has a huge amount of decency and integrity. Exhausted, hurt, bleeding, and hungry, she'll still stop eating when she thinks someone else is being slighted.
9. She wields a mean sword that she calls "Slayer" that she uses to kill all kinds of vicious creatures.
10. She kicks serious ass, with or without magic.

I have a hit-or-miss track record with most urban fantasy books that I've tried, but I think Kate and I are going to get along just fine. Can't wait to read the next book! And the one after that, and the one after that...
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,258 reviews8,703 followers
November 17, 2021
5/5/18: Still love it (if that wasn’t evident by virtue of having read it SIX times). If you haven’t read this, you should. Immediately. 📚🖤

This is my F-A-V-O-R-I-T-E series.

And that's kind of a big deal. For example, if you asked me what my second favorite series was, I'd have to give you a top 5 list. BUT. KATE DANIELS is unquestionably my #1 favorite.

I'm rereading the series, b/c the new book is out next Tuesday, and I think this is my fifth (or sixth?) time. I typically can't reread a series every year b/c I get bored, and I thought that might be a problem this time, but, NOPE, it's not.

This is also the series I immediately suggest when asked for a reading recommendation, and it's hooked every person that's taken that advice. When I'm harassing people for feedback, they've all liked MAGIC BITES enough to read the next book, which is good b/c unlike most series, this one just keeps getting better.

There have, however, been a few complaints that this first book is a little confusing on the world-building front. I can't be completely objective, b/c looking back after reading the series five(+) times . . . hindsight is, after all, 20/20.

The basic premise is brand new: the world began with magic and technology existing in a harmonious balance.

The analogy made is of a pendulum swinging only slightly back (magic) and forth (technology). But over time man developed magic, causing the pendulum to swing increasingly wildly until the pendulum crashed to the other side, leaving only a minimal amount of magic behind and flooding the world with the ability to use technology in magic's stead.

I pictured it like that boat ride at theme parks--at Carowinds it's called the Frenzoid--that starts out swinging slowing back and forth, gaining momentum, until finally, after a nerve-wracking several seconds held completely upside down, it crashes to the other side.


This happens approximately every 4000(ish) years, most recently about 40 years prior to the present time in the book.

The changeover from magic-to-tech, or in the book's case, tech-to-magic, is not immediately complete. Like the Frenzoid, after the initial shift from back-and-forth to completing a full circle, the momentum keeps the boat (or magic/tech) swinging wildly back and forth until it settles down in the middle, or magic in MAGIC BITES.

As man develops magic to replace the lost technology, the process begins again, and in another 4000ish years the reverse shift will occur.

I honestly can't remember how well this is explained in book 1, but I do know that if it wasn't fully explained, I did not care. It was secondary to the plot and the characters.

I knew that sometimes magic worked and sometimes it didn't. Same for technology. I knew that when magic worked, guns wouldn't fire, and that spells didn't work when tech was up.

I also knew this was why Kate carried a sword--b/c a sword always works.<-----Kate is KICK-ASS.

And that was enough information for me, b/c who cares about world-building when you have a main character like Kate Daniels?

Not me.

Kate is the perfect heroine. On the surface, she's the standard Urban Fantasy MC: she's super special magically and snarktastic. Oftentimes this can get old, but not Kate Daniels, who after numerous rereads only gets more fantastic.

Unlike other UF heroines, Kate's brand of special kept her truly isolated. She didn't feel alone, she was alone. Anything else meant death. And yeah, her mouth is always getting her into trouble, but Kate often reveals her vulnerability right before she attacks:

Curran turned to me. "Take one of mine again and I'll kill you." He said it in a conversational manner, matter-of-fact and flat, but in his eyes I could see a simple certainty. If he had to, he would kill me. He would not lose any sleep over it. He would not give it a second thought. He would do it and move on, untroubled by ending my existence.
It scared the shit out of me, so I laughed in his face.

She was scared. So she laughed. In his FACE.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I love Kate.

She doesn't bitch and moan about how life isn't fair, why her? She does what needs doing, and she often does it hilariously.

She's my favorite.

Teenage girls everywhere wish that they were Katniss Everdeen. I wish I was Kate Daniels.

My other reviews for this series:

A Questionable Client (Kate Daniels, #0.5)
Magic Burns (Kate Daniels, #2)
Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, #3)
Magic Mourns (Kate Daniels, #3.5)
Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels, #4)
Magic Dreams (Kate Daniels, #4.5)
Magic Slays (Kate Daniels, #5)
Magic Tests (Kate Daniels, #5.3)
Magic Gifts (Kate Daniels, #5.4)
Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels, #5.5)
Retribution Clause (Kate Daniels, #5.6)
An Ill-Advised Rescue (Kate Daniels, #5.8)
Magic Rises (Kate Daniels, #6)
Magic Steals (Kate Daniels, #6.5)
Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels, #7)
Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels, #8)
Magic Stars (Kate Daniels, #8.5, Grey Wolf, #1)
Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9)
Iron and Magic (Kate Daniels, #9.5)
Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels, #10)
Curran POV Collection
Profile Image for Anne.
3,918 reviews69.3k followers
April 27, 2022
This was a really dry book. I mean...wow!
So, I originally read this (at the prompting of my BFF) back in 2010, and was so underwhelmed it took me 4 years to pick up the second book. And, no I didn't bother doing a re-read of book 1 beforehand. I was simply so sick and tired of all my friends telling me what a great series I was missing out on, that I just snatched up 2 and dove in.
I fully expected to hate it.


However, Magic Burns was fantastic, and set me on the path of becoming a rabid fan of not only this series, but of anything the Ilona Andrews duo writes. And even though I've pretty much read everything else that I can get my hands on, I'd still never attempted a re-read of Magic Bites. All I could remember was what a chore it felt like to slog through, and some vague Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty... reference to Kate and Curran's first meeting.
It was love at first sight for those two...


So. Fast forward 7 years, and here I am. Finally going back to see what happened to kick off one of my favorite series ever! I felt sure it would be awesome! And in my mind, I looked a bit like THIS while jumping into the story:


The reality was a bit more...THIS:


Ok. So, yes, it was better this time around. Now that I know what the world is like, see where all of this is going with Kate and Curran, know what's up with all of the cryptic references to her father and her blood, and recognize characters that will become important staples in this universe in later books - it wasn't chore to get through it.
I still say this is one of the worst intro books ever. At least, to such a fabulous series.
The first book of a new series should WOW you. It should be so delicious that it slaps you across the face, knocks you off your feet, makes you want to come back for more.
This was dry and crunchy with an oddly unspecific taste to it.


This time around, I'd give it 4 stars because I love these characters SO much, and seeing them meet and fight was unbelievably worthwhile. But there's still a teeny-tiny part of my brain that realizes this book was boring enough that it took me 7 years to bring myself to do a re-read.
I wish I could just be like, Nah, this was great! I don't know what you fools are talking about! And admitting that I understand why a lot of people don't continue with the series after reading this pains me...truly.


Ok, so here's the deal: if you read this and thought it sucked, for the love of God, just read the second book before you decide to give up. And, NO, don't go back and try to do a re-read of this one first! Go...just go! Move on to book 2, and the recaps will get you through.
For anyone who truly did enjoy this book the first time around, know that I'm not saying it's crap, just that I don't believe it does a good job showing how awesome these characters or this world will become in the future.
Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
475 reviews16.2k followers
August 5, 2010
Ever ventured out into the world of dating and discovered that it was disproportionately populated with assholes? Did you ever look around and say, "Where the hell are all these assholes coming from?"

Well, if Curran turned your oven on then the answer is possibly: You!

Yes, that's right. Assholes who have the common traits of narcissism, marchiavellianism and pyscopathy according to recent studies, score more with the ladies. It's called the Dark Triad (I know - best name ever) and in many respects these aspects of a person can be considered partially genetic traits. So when ladies hook up with the dirtbags, they occassionally spawn a entirely new generation to fill up a gene pool that obviously NEEDS more jerks.

I'm not going to bag out Magic Bites because I actually really, really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series, which I'm about to start, but either Curran needs to have a major personality overhaul or he needs to be boinking someone else. He's aggressive, petty, arrogant, dismissive and violent. And yes, I caught myself thinking he was hot on a couple of occasions.

I will submit myself for regular beatings - with nunchucks later. Nunchucks can cure anything.

I really loved the concept, I loved the world and its interesting take on vampires and the governing associations that run the world. I had just a LITTLE bit of a problem with the characterization.

Okay, I might get crucified for this, but Kate Daniels actually really reminded me of Anita Blake.

Paranormal mystery solver? Check!
Daggy clothes and utter disregard to style? Check!
Tough-talking super bravado? Check!
Solves everything with violence or an over abundance of natural magical ability? Check!

Obviously when more than two men had an overly enthusiastic sexual interest in Kate, my Pavlovian conditioning kicked in and I was half prepared for Kate Daniels to turn into a slutqueen with a magical vagina. You have no idea how happy I was when she didn't!

I did like her better than Anita though as she had moments of maturity when she decided that tough talk and threats of violence weren't really conducive to what she needed and thus backed down and recognized that she can't defeat evil with her badassery alone (Anita will never discover this because even if she died, she'd just seduce God and steal his powers and then we'd ALL be in a lot of trouble!)

Also, when the chips were down, she got drunk, sat on her porch and DARED the world to come and get her. I like it. Best. Fucking. Plan. Ever. I felt true sisterly affection for her then!

The mystery was painfully easy but I dismissed that because everything else was covered in so much badass awesomeness. Besides, right from the start, Kate laid out her very tactical sleuthing plan and I immediately knew that she was definitely NOT Poirot or Sherlock Holmes. She was SUPPOSED to be bad at it and thus she gets my seal of approval. It's truly aweinspiring when you can suck arse at something and still come out on top! I love it.

So, over all, THOUGH I only gave it three stars, I actually liked it. Funny, fun, a little bit sexy and a good, light read.

Except for all the gruesome death, rape, stabbing, decomposing and dying.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
July 17, 2020
Completed an audiobook reread of this book in July. Here are my thoughts on this reread. Most of the meat on the bones is in my first review.

I am glad I reread this. It was a great book, but I forgot quite a bit of what happened. It's pretty edgy even today. A hefty dose of the horrific in the type of villain it features and the highly heinous deeds he commits. Kate Daniels is badass. She is snarky, but has the ability to back it up. I enjoyed her dialogue and I appreciated being inside her head and seeing the world through her eyes. For an urban fantasy, this book is highly dystopian. A near future setting where Atlanta is devastated by a magical cataclysm. In the time of COVID-19, it seems very prescient.

I liked the 'flirting' with Curran, if you want to call it that. I appreciate that Kate doesn't compromise who she is just because he's the Beast Lord. And he's very scary, tbh. I really like Derek as Kate's sidekick.

Renee Raudman is a very good narrator. She has a great way of making Kate sound lethal but also deliver's her snarky lines perfectly. She's also good at male voices as well.

I would recommend checking out this Audiobook, even if you're read this before.


About twelve years ago, there was a little girl named Danielle who read a book called Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton, and was seduced into the dark, enchanting world of urban fantasy. She went on to read more urban fantasy than she could shake a stick at. Over the years, she lost touch with Anita Blake, and mourned the loss of a tough-as-nails, kickass, urban fantasy heroine to join for exciting, dangerous, and magical adventures.

Recently, she finally picked up a book called Magic Bites, which had been sitting on her bloated, embarrassingly large tbr pile. She read it to find out who this mysterious "Beast Lord" was, and why everyone thought that Kate and Curran were the best urban fantasy couple. That young girl is a very happy camper.

Magic Bites is a hard book to describe. If you are a genuine, die-hard urban fantasy fan, you will like this book. At 260 pages, it appears deceptively slim. However, there's a lot of information, adventure, description, and incredibly good writing in that relatively small amount of pages. I will admit that this book made being confused and baffled fun for me. I had a lot of questions as I was reading. Still do. But that's kind of nice.

Kate Daniels is one of the best urban fantasy heroines I've had the pleasure to meet. I've said before that I don't care for arrogant, braggadocious, posturing characters. She doesn't posture. She simply is a bad-ass, but down to earth, at the same time. She doesn't run around in bustiers, low-riding leather pants, and stiletto heels, climbing out of bed with some random guy long enough to kick-butt. She wears clothes that facilitate her ability to kick ass and to keep herself alive. Being cute is all good and well, but in her world, being cute might get her killed. Her only vanity is her long hair, which she keeps in a braid most of the time. Lethal abilities aside, Kate is very feminine. She can appreciate a cute guy, and she had flaws and weaknesses just like the rest of us armchair kickbutt heroines. I like her no-nonsense view of the world, her snarky sense of humor, and the fact that she likes to pull the lion by the tail, sometimes literally. I thought she was an interesting character. She has some emotional wounds that she is dealing with, and tends to keep her own company. It's nice to see a thoughtful, almost brooding heroine in this genre.

Ms. Andrews earned my respect. The Atlanta that she has created is a very fascinating place. I still don't understand all of what occurred to make Atlanta very much like a dystopic wastleland, but I didn't have to understand that to enjoy this book. I do know that magic plays a huge hand in the catastrophe that hit this fair Southern city. It seems to surge and ebb, like the electricity brownouts that were hitting California when I lived out there. For all the importance that magic plays in this story, Ms. Andrews is never heavy-handed with the use of magic. In fact, she lightly and skillfully builds a storyline that is credible and interesting around the tendrils of magic power wielded in different ways by many of the characters in this novel. And better yet, she was able to create a female magic-wielder who wasn't a witch. I believe there are far too many witch urban fantasy and paranormal heroines. It's gotten to the point where it's almost cliche'. Her use of folklore is clever and well-placed. She takes a different direction with vampires, shapechangers, and mages. I must say I've never seen vampires described in the manner in which they exist in this story. They are quite gruesome and almost pitiful in Kate Daniels' world.

I have to say that Ilona Andrews writing is high class. She sets the scenes very well, using language in just the right way, to keep the story flowing forward. She employs the noir elements that I enjoy in urban fantasy and occult detective novels very well. Better yet, she treats the reader with respect, understanding that popular fiction readers like to be challenged and fully engaged. She seems to understand that just because we enjoy fantastic, escapist material, it doesn't mean that we want to read something meaningless and without substance. In fact, I felt as though I was reading a police procedural with magical and horrific elements (a sure sign of a good occult detective novel). I thought I had figured out who the killer was fairly early on (and was about to be disappointed), but I was way off. When the reveal happens, it comes at you in such a manner that you cannot help but admire how skillfully the red herring and clues were laid out.

As I read this book, my brain, which always tries to make order and sense of things, tried to think of a way to categorize and classify this book and the world within it. I never came up with a concrete classification. But that's a good thing. It's nice to find something new within a well-loved genre, and to encounter a novel reading experience at the same time. This book delivered that to me.

If I were to make any literary allusions, I would consider this book to have incorporated the story traditions of the tales of medieval knights, with a modern and often horrific spin. If I could describe Kate in any quick way, I would call her a knight-mercenary. She has the requisite sword, although she lacks the steed that usually goes with the package(To my pleasant surprise, there is quite a bit of horse-riding in this book, but Kate doesn't have her own horse). Unfortunately, we didn't get to see her wearing her armor. Maybe in the next books. Slasher, her blood-thirsty and sentient sword, reminded me of Stormbringer, the vampiric sword owned by Elric of Melniboné, written by Michael Moorcock, whom I became acquainted with earlier this fall.

Any urban fantasy heroine has to have a potential spark, if you will. That's where Curran, The Beast Lord, comes in. He's impressive, let's leave it at that. He's not just a potential love interest, but a powerful ally. These two butt heads in the most delightful ways. As the Beast Lord, and a lion shapeshifter, Curran's used to being in charge, and Kate lives by the 'you're not the boss of me' philosophy. I look forward to more fighting alongside, and flirting with Curran in the next books.

This book is quite dark. Blood (and blood magic) and guts aplenty, dark deeds, dark magic, dark creatures. This is a book for a reasonably mature reader, in that regard. Being a big fan of Magic Noir (thank you, Brad, for letting me steal your fantastic term), I enjoyed those aspects. But I did wince at a few particularly gruesome scenes. The villain is a very disturbing individual, in more ways than one. Everything in this story has an edge to it. That's not a bad thing to this reader, since she enjoys a little darkness in her fiction. But if you tend to enjoy the lighter urban fantasy stories, you'd want to be prepared when you read this one. Now there is humor, but it's of the drier, more wry, and grimmer variety. If you like the hero to get banged up and injured quite a bit, you'll enjoy that about this novel. Kate definitely faces jeopardy, again and again. The stakes are particularly high in this novel, in ways that you need to read to find out.

So, after so much rambling, I have to say that this urban fantasy fan has found a new series of which she intends to fully avail herself. Kate Daniels is my newest knight in shining armor. Let the adventures continue.
Profile Image for Katerina.
422 reviews16.8k followers
September 14, 2016
“These were unsafe times. But then in safer times, I'd be a woman without a job. The safe-tech world had little use for a magic-touting mercenary like me.”

Welcome to a world where magic and technology fight to gain the upper hand. Where necromancers control vampires and every nightmarish mythical creature turns out to be real, eager to devour human flesh.
Welcome to Atlanta.

The story
“My name is Kate Daniels. Greg Feldman was my legal guardian and the closest thing to a family I've had for many years. I want to find the scum who killed him.”

Kate Daniels is a mercenary, hired to take care of supernatural problems. When her guardian is brutally murdered but no one seems to know by whom and why, she takes matters in her own hands and crosses paths with shapechanger lords, necromancers and vampires trying to get answers. But when she is targeted by a creature more devious and ruthless than anything she's ever encoutered, she has to make choices that will affect others and decide who is worthy of her trust and who deserves to be run through by her magic blade.

Magic Bites was the introduction to an action-packed, drama-free and gruesome saga. I must admit there were many times I felt confused and my brain hurt from the effort to understand, because the world-building was slow with many questions unanswered, and that's the reason I rated it with 4 stars. That being said, I immensely enjoyed this book! Despite being difficult to get into, it kept me hooked and I was eager to learn more, to dive into magic adventures and bloody fights! I've read my fair share of urban fantasy but this series was different from my regular YA ones. More mature, darker, crueller and slightly disgusting (unless you are unfazed by mutilated corpses and a huge variety of body fluids), yet fascinating and extremely engaging.

The characters
“What kind of a woman greets the Beast Lord with 'here, kitty, kitty'?”

That's Kate. Sarcastic, confident and smart-ass, she'll face danger without blinking and she'll slay anything that gets in her way. She's not a team player and she can't tolerate any form of authority. She doesn't have any friends, her life evolves around blood and magic. And she has a sword named Slayer. That's what we call badass.

But Kate isn't the only badass here. How about a shapechanger whose beast form is a lion, sexy as hell, arrogant and stubborn alpha-male asshole? Meet Curran, also known as sex-on-a-stick.

While romance isn't the main focus of Magic Bites, you can sense that things will get intimate between Kate and Curran because holy.hawt.chemistry.Batman! They barely tolerate each other because they're so much alike, and they constantly bicker and that's why when they finally get together I expect explosions and fireworks!

If you're in the mood for a darker urban fantasy book full of blood and gore, then don't hesitate to grab the Kate Daniels series!

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February 16, 2023
And the moral of this particular rerererererereread is:

Need I say more? Didn't think so.

👋 Until next time and stuff.

[May 2019]

🐈 The Adventures Of A Brave Little Kitty Buddy Rerererereread (TAOABLKBR™) with the IA Addicts 🐈

And the moral of this particular rererererereread is: Kate Bloody Shrimping Daniels =

Bloody shrimping QED and stuff.

[November 2017]

The Grand IAA™ KD Buddy Rerererereread Extravaganza (GIAAKDBRE™), aka the yellow brick road to Magic Triumphs

Presenting Episode 1, or How Kate Daniels Learned Not all Cats are Kitty-Kitty-Kitties.

· Previous rating: 10 stars
· New rating: I have been asked by GR support not to reveal my rating. The IT team thinks the site might implode if I do.

And the moral of this particular rererererereread is: have a thing against a certain plastic surgeon? The Anti-Toothpaste Coalition (ATC™) is actively recruiting! PM me for details.

P.S. Let's dance.

I'm the short one in the middle, in case you were wondering. The more inconspicuous, the more nefarious and stuff.

[April 2016]

KD is the Cure to All of Life's Problems Buddy Read (KDitCtAoLPBR™) with my dear wife Ange, and the poor souls who have fallen into our deathly KD Surprise Reread Trap (KSRT™) ❣

· Original rating: 5 stars
· Rating after xxxxxx rereads: 10 stars. Up up up the rating goes.

» And the moral of this particular rererereread is: one tiny little KD fix and all is right in the world again. Bye now.

[Original review]

☆☆☆ Post-Shift Productions proudly present ☆☆☆
Just Another Day in the Life of Kate Daniels

8.00 a.m.: Chilling at home. Looks like there's something on your wall. Well hello there you friendly neighbourhood spiderman. Throw a knife, slice a throat. Today's going to be a good day.
8.30 a.m.: Greg. Dead. Shit.
9.00 a.m.: Pay the Knights of Merciful Aid a visit. Meet Scumbag Ted of The Debatable Fashion Sense. Discuss your investigative techniques: annoy the people involved until the guilty party tries to make you go away. Always works wonders.
9.30 a.m.: Meet a hot guy with a toothpaste name. Try to radiate integrity and decency of character. Doesn't work. Give him your knockout smile. Misfires. Damn.
10.00 a.m.: Talk to Anna. She just had a vision of you sitting cross-legged on the grass, eating a corpse. Nice.

10.30 a.m.: Oh look! A big cat! Here kitty kitty kitty! Give the beast your best cryptic smile. Try to impress him with Slayer's useless but very cool white glow. Fail miserably.
11.00 a.m.: Pay Saiman a visit. Watch him go from bombshell blonde to barbarian king in less time than it takes to blink. Throw up in your mouth a little.
11.30 a.m.: Finally manage to get some rest. Head to shower. The phone rings. Step out of shower. It's Mr Hot Toothpaste asking you out. Wow, did you just say yes to a date? Yes you did. Head back to shower. The phone rings. Damn. Step out of shower. It's Maxine letting you know Scumbag Ted of The Debatable Fashion Sense wants to see you ASAP. Oh goody. Head back to shower. The phone rings. Somebody kill me now. Step out of shower. It's Jim. Gives you hell but puts up with your shit. He doesn't have a choice. Who else is going to help his furry ass anyway?

12.00 a.m.: Put on your Thugs Are Us outfit. Pay your new Pack friends a visit. Piss His Furry Majesty off a little. He better get used to it.
12.30 a.m.: Get yourself a teenage werewolf sidekick. Go visit the People's shithole. Look at lovely vampire family pictures: intestines, brain, heart, bladder, colon, oesophagus, lungs, liver, kidneys. It's like a build-your-own-vampire Ikea kit! Very cool.
1.00 p.m.: Cut a freakish, ancient vampire's head off. Take it home to try a new recipe. Add some herbs. A drop of blood. Chant a little. Wakey wakey vampire head!
1.30 p.m.: Surprise visit from Mr Hot Toothpaste. Chat about tattoos, ravens and the odds of getting an orgasm with a blind date. Hey, it looks like someone is trying to take advantage of an injured, naked woman. About time!

2.00 p.m.: Time to finally get some rest. Someone knocks on your door. What now? Oh look, the Beast Lord! And here you were thinking it would be someone important.
2.30 p.m.: Field trip to Unicorn Lane with your furry friends. His Fussiness compares you to an elephant. Try and refrain from kicking his ass.
3.00 p.m.: Meet a lovely Mistress of the Dead. Cut cut cut, slice slice slice, cleave cleave cleave. Play the disembowelment game. Fun times.
3.30 p.m.: Oh look! A blanket of undead on the ceiling! Rip a heart out, mix a blood cocktail, pilot a few vamps, play with fire, pass out. Same old, same old.
4.00 p.m.: Witness the Beast Lord soaking in all his naked glory. Want to jump in? Err, no thank you. Places to go, things to do and all that.

4.30 p.m.: Get ready for a date with Mr Hot Toothpaste. Dress up. Fancy restaurant. Boring, boring, BORED. Well if that isn't His Furry Highness sitting across the room from you! Here, have some milk kitty cat.
5.00 p.m.: Home at last. Get some sleep. Wake up feeling refreshed. Err, is that a human head on a stick? In your yard? Will this day never end?
5.30 p.m.: Oh look! A giant bone puzzle! It's just like sorting out dirty laundry! Vamps on the right, shifters on the left! Good times.
6.00 p.m.: Wrongly accuse an innocent man. Feel like shit. Get drunk. Uh-oh, bad idea. Looks like you're on the menu tonight.

6.30 p.m.: Make a pact with the devil. Piss His Furriness off. So what else is new?
7.00 p.m.: Time for a costume party. The Beast Lord wishes you good luck. I. What. You. Huh? Concentrate Kate, concentrate.
�� 7.30 p.m.: Rotting flesh, putrid juices, swarms of flies, half-animals on a telepathic leash. Why me?
8.00 p.m.: Cut cut cut, slice slice slice. Make a little magic, speak a few power words, play with fire again. Oh look! A see-through villain! Take that you vicious bastard! Feel like you're dying a little.
8.30 p.m.: Regain consciousness. Unexpected hellish nursemaid. No nails. New job. The Beast Lord can't hammer shit. Oh boy.

Book 2: Magic Burns ★★★★★
Book 3: Magic Strikes ★★★★★
Book 4: Magic Bleeds ★★★★★
Book 5: Magic Slays ★★★★★
Book 6: Magic Rises ★★★★★
Book 7: Magic Breaks ★★★★★
Book 8: Magic Shifts ★★★★★
Book 9: Magic Binds ★★★★★
Book 10: Magic Triumphs ★★★★
· Book 10.5: Magic Tides ★★★★★
· Book 10.6: Magic Claims · to be published June 2023
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,401 reviews11.7k followers
July 17, 2019
Another second chance reread. Another DNF. I can’t believe I put some much work into ranting about this book. All I can say today is that it bores me.

Original review

I've read enough urban fantasy to know that the genre is extremely formulaic, just like, let's say, the genre of historical romance. Basically, you are aware of what exactly you are going to get from the get-go. The difficulty here is to find a series whose standard mix of ass-kicking heroine/amusing cast of secondary characters/lore/mystery/paranormal hunk that suits your personal preferences. Unfortunately, I will have to put "Magic Bites" into the pile of urban fantasy I doubt I will ever get back to, along with Richelle Mead's "Storm Born" and Patricia Briggs' "Moon Called."

The weakest part of the book is definitely the writing. I can see how Ilona Andrews might have lost numerous readers within just the first couple of chapters. She throws us in the middle of her world without explaining anything at all. Only pages later do we get enough information to understand previous events. A perfect example is the opening scene of "Magic Bites" where Kate throws a knife into a vampire's throat and then this vampire starts talking to her in a voice of some other character. Finally two chapters later you find out that in Andrews' world vampires are basically brainless zombies who are operated by necronavigators. This kind of thing happens repeatedly. Some readers might enjoy such cryptic type of writing based on extensive withholding of information. I personally don't find it enjoyable, unless it's written by Margaret Atwood or Megan Whalen Turner. However in this case I don't think the effect is intentional, it seems to be more indicative of poor writing skills. I might have overlooked the bad writing (after all, you do eventually get a better understanding of the world and start keeping up with the events), if only I felt attached to the world or the characters. No luck here unfortunately.

Patricia Briggs calls "Magic Bites" "an edgy, dark fantasy, touched with just the right amount of humor" in her blurb on the book cover. The novel is not particularly (or at all) humorous, but it is dark indeed. In fact, "Magic Bites" is probably the darkest and goriest urban fantasy I've come across so far. Andrews doesn't shy away from incorporating split open chests, exposed colons, dead flesh eating monsters, etc. in her novel. So if you are not into this kind of thing, you might want to reconsider reading this book.

I appreciate the author's attempt to reshape traditional werewolf/vampire lore with a touch of Slavic mythology added in. Sometimes it works (I liked the shapechanger concept), sometimes it seems ridiculous ("feeding" your sword a mixture of wheat with some iron bits). I personally find this world ugly and very vaguely defined. For instance, I still have no understanding of what exactly "magic" is. Is it some kind of energy force? Who can be in possession of magic? How is it used? I've seen it operate cars, I've seen it applied telepathically, through incantation, via a sword, with the help of herbs in this book. I still have no idea what it is. I would also love to gain a better understanding of the relationship between the human and magic world. Do they co-exist? How much are they aware of each other? What is humans' attitude towards the magical creatures and vice versa? Or I would love to know what exactly the Guild and its diviners and protectors do. Or what Kate does as a mercenary.

And finally, the main character. Kate Daniels will appeal to you if you like your heroines tough, very gloomy, with no sense of humor and irresistibly appealing to all the males in the vicinity (to be fair, this is a common theme in urban fantasy). I would have liked her more if Andrews didn't write her so ever defiant and in constant need to get confrontational with every person (man) of power around her. She softens up a little bit towards the end of the book, but unfortunately too late in the game for me to change my opinion about her.

Overall, "Magic Bites" didn't quite work for me. The mystery kept me turning pages, but I finished the book without a desire to continue on with the series. It doesn't mean, however, that this novel will not work for you. It might, especially if you like your urban fantasy dark and gory and your sword-wielding heroines tough and defiant.
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
August 12, 2021
The first book in the Kate Daniels series! It's pretty good urban fantasy, but the series definitely improves and builds on itself as it goes along, so keep your expectations tempered for the first couple of books, and don't give up, at least until you've read the third book.

3.5 stars, rounding up. In an alternative version of our world, technology and magic are at odds: when a "magic fluctuation" hits, most technological items (cell phones, cars, anything electrical) stop working, but sooner or later the magic wave ends and technology kicks in again. Smart people finds ways to get along whether magic or technology happens to be ascendant, like Kate Daniels, who carries a sword - fondly named Slayer - and is capable of kicking pretty much anyone's ass at any given time. Someone has killed Kate's friend and one-time mentor, Greg Feldman, and Kate is determined to find out who it is. But her investigation becomes increasingly dangerous to herself and those who are helping her.


Magic Bites is basically a detective story set in an urban fantasy world, complete with vampires and werewolves, but they're vampires and werewolves (or, more accurately, shapechangers, since many of them are not wolves but rats, leopards, lions, etc.) like I've never seen or read about before. I'm rounding up to four stars because the world-building with the fantasy part of the story is done so well here. It struck me as detailed, highly original, and very well integrated into the overall story. Vampires, for example, are near-mindless automatons controlled by humans who are trained to do so:
. . . the mind of a vampire died the moment vampirism took hold. The vampires knew no pity and no fear; they couldn't be trained; they had no ego. On a developmental level they stood close to insects . . . An insatiable hunger for blood ruled them and they slaughtered everything in their path in their urge to quench it.
Also this:
The thing followed me on all fours. It was a vampire, but one so ancient that no trace of it having walked upright remained. . . Its face no longer bore any resemblance to a human. . . Rows of fangs gleamed against the blackness.
Eeeek! Also eeeew!

There's a lot of snarky humor in this book, again kind of like a gumshoe detective story. When Kate is summoned to a meeting with the shapechangers she considers her options for self-protection:
I paused, considered the arsenal available to me, put on thin wristbands loaded with silver needles, and took nothing else except Slayer. To get clear of two hundred enraged shapechangers I'd need a case of grenades and air support. There was no reason to weigh myself down with extra weapons. Then again, maybe I should take a knife. One knife, as a backup. Okay, two. And that's it. Armed and dressed to kill--or rather to die quickly but in style--I went . . .
Overall, it's not terribly deep or insightful, but it's a fun read and I think it achieves very well what it's trying to be. And the series seriously improves by the third book.

Content notes: There are a fair number of F-bombs and some blatant sexual innuendos. And gory scenes. Also, rape trigger warning.
Profile Image for  Teodora .
303 reviews1,634 followers
December 24, 2022
4/5 ⭐

This was certainly more entertaining than I initially anticipated.

At first, it started kind of slow for me, but I've decided that I want to see where everything goes. So I switched to audio and even though I don't really like audiobooks, this one slowly sucked me in.

I really love Kate, she's the kind of badass female MC with a sassy mouth and sarcastic comments that you can't help but enjoy throughout the book. I liked the fact that even though she's afraid of things most of the time and she admits that to herself, she's always up for the challenge.
Also, the Beast Lord seems like one hell of a promising future love interest and I can't wait for them to get into it *hehe*
Forget that no-good piece of poop Crest, Kate darling. He's no good for you, trust me on that.

From the moment this book started to warm its way to my cold soul, I realised that it's actually fascinating. The unique creatures, the Slavic mythology and Russian language insertion in the plot just added to its flair. And also, it gave me one hell of a plot idea for the fantastic stories developing in my head 24/7...so, 100 points for that, I guess ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,826 reviews2,186 followers
April 15, 2023
UPDATE! Found my original review I wrote on my old Wordpress account. Attaching to the bottom of this review. So annoying that Goodreads seems to have deleted it.

Reread April 2023

I could have sworn I had a review for this book but with Goodreads changing their book pages I am convinced it got lost. Anyways, love this series and it's one of the better urban fantasy series out there. With 2023 eyes, this 2007 novel can be a bit cringe at times but just remember it's been 16 years and we need to give it some grace. The rest of the series was so amazing and all I could really think during the reread is I'd rather reread those books.

Definitely worth giving shot, this is more urban fantasy than romance so it that's not your thing, this probably won't be the book for you.

Original review below

"What kind of woman greets the Beast Lord with 'here, kitty, kitty'?”

The best kind of woman! To say I enjoyed this book was a serious understatement. But I get ahead of myself.

Kate Daniels is a mercenary who cleans up paranormal messes. When she gets news that her mentor, and last connection to any family she has, is murdered, Kate takes on the case. She is thrown into the world of Shapeshifters, Vampires and the People, and must make ruthless decisions in order to find the killer.

I didn't know what to expect going into this book. I've been a long time fan of urban fantasy/paranormal romance and have been searching for a series to fill in the gap of series I have finished by authors such as Kim Harrison, Patricia Briggs and Kelley Armstrong. It wasn't until recently that I had even heard of Ilona Andrews, and that was through reviews I'd seen here on Goodreads from reviewers like Jessica (Rabid Reads), Lola, and Sharon is an Emotional Book Junkie (so thank you ladies!)

“I gave him my best cryptic smile. He did not fall down to his feet, kiss my shoes, and promise me the world. I must be getting rusty.”

I absolutely love the character of Kate. She's not your typical heroine, she's a smart ass, a fighter, a mercenary and yet so emotionally vulnerable at the same time. The 260 pages or so of this first book was not enough time with her, and I look forward to reading her development in the other installments.

“You know anything about investigative work?"
"Sure. Annoy the people involved until the guilt party tries to make you go away.”

The world building style reminded me a bit of Harrison's Rachel Morgan series, in that Andrews threw you into this new world with little to no explanations as to how it came to be, and as a reader you were on your own. I personally like that because to me, the reader is as smart as you make them . Many authors assume their reader needs to be lead on a leash through their worlds and that's not always the case. Ilona Andrews gave the reader the chance to use their intelligence and I greatly appreciated it.

Curran. That Beast Lord. I already am Team Curran but it's just book 1, so I shall see. There wasn't exactly a romance between Kate and Curran, but there is a tangible sexual tension that made me giggle and smile whenever they had scenes together in the book. Plus, he's an alpha male, and I love the alpha males.

Another character I loved was Nick, the Crusader, but more because he reminded me a lot of Captain America's Winter Soldier. I think he'll have a great character arc.

Enough rambling on my part. This was a fantastic book and you should read it.
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,607 reviews1,482 followers
March 8, 2020
Sale Alert: This is one of my all time favorite UF series, currently on sale 08Mar20 at amazon $0.99

Kate Daniels Buddy Read/Reread starts April 27 with the gang at Ilona Andrews Addicts (IAA)

Let the fun and games begin, Yes it is still only a 3.5 star read but I really enjoyed it all over again. There is a little plotting issue that is fuzzy but overall great start to one of my favorite UF series. Only beaten just slightly by books 1-5 of Karen Marie Moning's Fever Series.

3.5 Stars Re-read 25Jun2014 before the release of Magic Breaks

I forgot the entire plot to this book and it was like reading it all over again. Sure I remembered ALL the interactions between Kate and Curran and I remember meeting Derek for the first time. But I had totally forgotten who the bad guy was and why. I guess we all know what I really cared about. I even forgot there was a Zombie Dragon!!! A freaking Zombie Dragon and I had totally forgotten about it….bad Robin…Bad.

This was my first Ilona Andrews (IA) book (I’ve read 14 now, including the novellas) and it is also my lowest rated IA book. It all just gets better from here. They have come a long way as a writing team and I enjoyed this book maybe even a little more the second time through.

I love the early Kate and all the posturing she and Curran do to prove who is top dog or cat as the case may be. The humor is still there but it gets so much better in the later books. I enjoyed the beginning a little more because I understand the magic or this world and I could focus on other details this time around.

The 7th book Magic Breaks will be out the end of July and it completes an entire plot arc so if you are looking for a fun PRN/UF series I highly suggest this one, cheesy Narnia-esk cover not-with-standing .

Initial Review 21Sept13
I’m going to admit that I put off reading this based solely on the cover for a long time. I saw the lion and thought, shades of Narnia, no thanks, I’ll pass. But, I was assured that couldn’t be further from the truth and was talked into reading it. So thanks to all those who peer pressured me, you know who you are.

Kate Daniels takes a different approach to solving mysteries and getting things done.

“Annoy principals involved until the guilty party decides to kill you.”

Now in most books that is how the story works but the characters never use it as an actual strategy. That was the first reason I liked this book. Warning: the world in this book is really different from any other UPF I’ve read and it takes a little getting used to. The author doesn’t ever succumb to the info drop and just trusts the reader to wait as the world is uncovered bit by bit. It takes time to do it this way but in the end I like the result a lot better.

This is a world where magic and technology sort of shift like the tides. When one is in full swing the other doesn’t really work. People have learned to live in two worlds that are together and separate all at the same time. Although somewhat confusing while you are figuring out the world that is being presented by the author it is fascinating and was almost as much a draw for me as the story line.

Kate Daniels is a girl shrouded in some mystery and I can see from this first book that she is going to kick some butt throughout the series. She is not a damsel in distress although she is vulnerable at times. Magic Bites has started to set up her character quite well and while we get a glimpse at who Kate Daniels is I do have a feeling we have only scratched the surface.

“So you admit to being a walking stereotype?”
“It’s safer that way,” I said honestly.

There is plenty going on as Kate tries to figure out who killed her guardian. She has been alone for so long that it is difficult to play well with others. Even though she is defiant of authority and often does or says things she knows she shouldn’t, Kate remains very likable which not every heroine can pull off.

Diplomacy was never my strong suit and my patience had run dry. I crouched and called out, “Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.”

Teaming up with the local were-pack has some hardships of its own especially for Kate who can’t just lay down and show her belly to the alpha of the pack no matter how hot he is. A battle of wills at hand and Kate might just be in over her head.

Overall the story was entertaining, I enjoyed getting to know Kate, Curran definitely has some possibilities and the world captured my imagination. I will definitely be reading on in the series to see where the larger story arc goes.
August 17, 2021

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Remember when the Anita Blake series was good, back when she wasn't the Special Snowflake Queen of Sex'n'Superpowers™? (Seriously, have you read the new books? How is her vagina not permanently on fire from all that friction? Also, girl has more special moves than freaking Ditto.) Remember how the series was edgy and erotic and did not condescend to its female audience? Remember how Anita used to kick ass? Remember when there were just TWO love interests and not an entire Siouxie and the Banshees concert-worth of Gothic rejects in frilly shirts suffering from existential crises? Ilona Andrews remembers. Enter Kate Daniels.

Ilona Andrews has a huuuuuuge cult following. I got indoctrinated almost two years ago with the Hidden Legacy series (BURN FOR ME was the book that got me back into urban fantasy). After speeding through the rest of the series like a cocaine addict burning through their stash, crying ecstatically over the series' rumored (and now confirmed continuation), and frantically working my way through the rest of the Esteemed Ilona Andrews Hoard ™, I finally found my way to reading the much-hyped and very intimidating Kate Daniels series. This series has freaking fans with a capital F.

It's a little scary, because I was looking at the publication date and this book came out when I was still in high school. Despite being over ten years old, though, the book still feels fresh. Part of that is because it hasn't become dated like a lot of other older PNRs. This is because in Kate Daniel's world, magic and technology are in conflict (they short each other out), and currently magic is at its zenith, so technology has yielded to swords, horses, leylines, and magical abilities. Holy father, Batman.

Kate has decided to seek revenge for the murder of her Guardian, using her own magical powers and her trusty sword as tools. But revenge isn't simple. The murderer has covered their tracks well, and worse yet - they also appear to be responsible for the serial killings of several shape-shifters, humans, and vampires in the area. What seemed like a simple goal befitting the most basic of heroes' journey plots suddenly becomes a supernatural Gordian knot riddled with sexy shape-shifters and necromancers (oh my). Andrews doesn't hold back on the gore, either. This book packs a mean body count, and you, the reader, are sitting right in the Splash Zone. (And that ain't water.)

So, my Completely Unbiased and Possibly Unwelcome Opinion ™ on this book is... that it was good but not great. People were telling me that this series is much better than Hidden Legacy (OMFG) , and maybe that's true for the later books in the series, but honestly, BURN FOR ME has a much stronger hook. And as fun as Kate Daniels is, she doesn't have the emotional depth and aching humanity that made Nevada such a treat (and made her gradual transformation over the course of the three books that much more addictive and investing, as a result). She tosses off some good one-liners, but I don't really understand what makes her tick. She's a stiletto heel in human form: pretty, sharp, but not very empathetic or intriguing. Also, Curran is no Rogan (don't @ me). There, I said it.

Still, I'm curious to see where the books go from here.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,163 followers
December 29, 2016
I reread this one with the girls at the Ilona Andrews Addicts group. And, strangely, I was slightly disappointed. Why? Well, I know this world and Kate so well now that I expected a magical wonderland when I read it again. But, there were problems that I didn't remember.

Problem 1: Worldbuilding

There were info-dumps galore. Pages and pages of them. But, we are never actually given a reason why the world changed from what we know now to a magic-infested one. There was no cataclysmic event, war, or virus that changed things. It just was.

Problem 2: The Alpha Asshole

I've known Curran for umpteen books now and think of him as Mr. Awesome. But, I had totally forgotten that he started out as an insufferable asshole in this first book. I truly hated him and now I wish that Kate and him never get together. She deserves better. Like Hugh, for example. lol!

Problem 3: Overly Descriptive Scenes

You know how I feel when an author takes a full page to describe the sunset: Stabby. That's right. I read because I use this thing called my imagination, therefore I can imagine the sunset on my own. Also, I don't care what exact shade the wood is or what flowers are in the vase in a room that is simply a place that they will stand in and talk for a few minutes. It doesn't matter. It doesn't help build the scene. Get to the point, dammit!


All this is to say: maybe you can't go home again. It's never the way you remembered it.

Do I still love Kate Daniels and everything else written by Ilona Andrews? Yes. And, hey, I admit that I'm a critical bitch. That's my best quality. I am just saying that I now realize that the series started off a little rocky. It is still an amazing series and Kate is still my favorite girl. And, I still want everyone to read this series. Just, maybe give it a couple of books, and then the magic will happen.
Profile Image for Nataliya.
744 reviews11.8k followers
August 14, 2021
“The bravado is amusing, but it becomes tiresome.”
Sigh. Yeah. It’s fun and compulsively readable, but that quote is spot-on quite often.

When you think about it, our superpowered snarky mercenary Kate Daniels indeed is 90% defiant bravado, 5% long hair plait, 4% large amounts of alcohol and 1% irresistible hotness for every hot-blooded male, magical species nonwithstanding.

And it’s actually fun, in that trope-y “first book in an Urban Fantasy series” way where I can’t help but note all those big and little annoyances and yet get a kick out of it anyway. Maybe it’s because I’m not that well-versed in UF, or maybe that when I’m on vacation I’m easy to entertain, being already in a great mood, but hey - it’s fun despite everything.
“It's a reflex. Hear a bell, get food. See an undead, throw a knife. Same thing, really.”

The story is set in the world of alternate Atlanta where magic and technology come in frequently alternating waves which led to a cataclysm of sorts that left part of Atlanta in ruins. Basically, if tech is up, you can drive, but if magic is up you’d better take a leyline to your destination. That’s the part that is fascinating and the worldbuilding that I would love to see a bit more developed, but I assume it gets more fleshed out in the sequels because here it’s annoyingly vague.
“The Attorney General advises all citizens that any attempt at summoning or other activities resulting in the appearance of a supernaturally powerful being can be hazardous to yourself and to other citizens.”
“No shit,” I told the bottle.”

Of course, in this world multiple magical species coexist (tenuously, granted) in the usual fashion of UF. To my relief vampires here, far from being fascinating super-sexy predators are reduced to mindless murderous corpses (I am annoyed by the usual sexy powerful vampire portrayals, in case you can’t tell from my remarkable subtlety here) — and our focus, other than magicians like Kate is really on werewolves shapeshifters (oh please, can we have were-aardvarks???). Sadly, the annoying as hell trope that comes with that is that damn alpha pissing contest (well, not literally, thank deity) and complete subjugation to the pack leader that werecreatures apparently by genre convention are obligated to have.
“What happened to the alpha-wolf?"
"Legos?" It sounded Greek but I couldn't recall anything mythological with that name. Wasn't it an island?
"He was carrying a load of laundry into the basement and tripped on the old set of LEGOs his kids left on the stairs. Broke two ribs and an ankle.”

This was Ilona Andrews’ first novel, and it shows. The writing, although fun, is a bit off at times, and the flashbacks are a bit clunky, and quite a few formulaic points are hit. It reminded me of the first Harry Dresden book which I inhaled when I first read it, and kept cringing on a reread a decade later. I do like the snarky humor, however (just look at the quotes I picked for this review!) which may say way too much about my emotional maturity level, I suppose. And I do like how Andrews manages to balance this humor and overall dark and often gory tone without it becoming incongruous.

But oh boy, that constant bravado schtick Kate does can become just a bit grating after a while.
“You know anything about investigative work?”
“Sure. Annoy the people involved until the guilty party tries to make you go away.”
“What kind of a woman greets the Beast Lord with ‘here, kitty, kitty’?”

On a nagging side note, I can only presume that Kate suppresses her menstrual periods due to apparent significance of blood in that world — unless she chooses to spend a fair amount of time burning used menstrual products, of course. I hope that is addressed in the future as the public (well, me) demands to know. My Kindle note for the quote below simply states, “Periods must be a b*tch for you.”
“All my life I was taught to stay out of the way of the powerful. Don’t draw attention to yourself. Don’t show off. Guard your blood, because it will betray you. If you bleed, wipe it clean and burn the rag. Burn the bandages. If someone manages to obtain some of your blood, kill him and destroy the sample. At first it was a matter of survival. Later it became a matter of vengeance.”

Anyway, it was a bit rough, and often formulaic, and a tad silly (feeding oats to your sword, really?), and full of snarky humor — and yet I flew through it and remained overall satisfyingly entertained.

3.5 stars, and I may come back for the sequels at some point to see how this world shapes up. Harry Dresden series improved, so I hope this one does too as it finds its footing.
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
839 reviews3,758 followers
August 6, 2021
This is my second time reading Magic Bites, and if I believe the comments my beloved friends wrote 5 years ago, I had written an original (?) review that somehow has been deleted since then. Oh, well. My rating hasn't changed, and 3 stars it is, but I'm pretty sure that I enjoyed it more this time around, even though I truly didn't remember anything from my first read (why is my brain like that, again?). Could it be because I've been obsessed with the Hidden Legacy series for weeks now and so have been breathing Ilona Andrews' writing?? I do not know, but damn, it's addictive.

The world's a bit messy—but fun—and of course women's sufferings are used to get a reaction out of powerful men, because patriarchy, et cetera, but for a book from 2009 the girl-on-girl hate is close to inexistant (I'm very sensible to it, okay) so I guess that's a win.

I still prefer Nevada's books, by far, mostly because
1) I miss the absolute delight that is the Baylor family and their gang (I adore them, okay, so much that I'm gonna buy the physical books, hideous covers be damned). Kate needs women in her life ASAP;
2) Sorry but Rogan won me over so fast, Curran really can't compete. I do realize that Connor Rogan is also a psychopath, but I guess he is in a way that appeals to me when Curran doesn't (yet, anyway)? Ehhhhhh whatever 🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️

On to the next one.

CW - racial slur, graphic violence, rape
Profile Image for elena ❀.
257 reviews2,866 followers
May 19, 2021
re-read: 12/18/20

i wrote a full review for this when i first read it in 2017, but deleted it. the most i can remember i said is how i really loved kate's character and felt meh about curran. to be honest, my thoughts still stand the same. i really like kate as a character, truly a fierce and a don't-give-a-fuck queen. i still found curran to be meh. he was funny, i'll say that, but still, i wasn't as interested in him as i wish i was. the character i can't wait to continue reading about though is derek. i loved him since the first time i met him, and i loved him this second time. i can't wait to see how he grows.

i've read the 2nd and 3rd book, but i'm going to re-read those as well. i do remember though that curran grows on me, and i live for the slow-burn romance between kate and curran. i also enjoyed this less than i did the first time, but i'm excited to get into the entire series and finish it once and for all.


first time read: 3/20/17
Profile Image for Elise ✘ a.k.a Ryder's Pet ✘.
1,314 reviews2,814 followers
January 13, 2022
Sixth re-read: 13.01.22
The thing is, I adore the build-up between Kate and Curran and I love that even though Kate is fucking badass, she still isn't afraid to show fear. I love that she acknowledge the power others has without putting them down and her higher. That said, I am finding it hard to not skim when I re-read this series. It might just be because I remember it too well and it's just too heavy in information to fully enjoy re-reading it.

Fifth re-read: 16.07.19
I just had to re-read this book (maybe series, we'll see) again after reading Mercy Thompson . This series beats MT by a whole lot. Mercy and Kate are so alike, yet so different, and it's the difference I like the most about Kate. She's just a perfect kickass heroine with the perfect amount of sarcasm, fierceness, bravery and compassion. It's also easier to connect to her, as I struggled (still do) with Mercy. Overall, this series is awesome with an interesting concept and great characters. Curran is just so damn hot.
New Rate: 3.5 stars

Kate Daniels (24), the main protagonist of the series. Kate is the POV that main story told from.
Curran ‘The Beast Lord’ ‘Lord of the Free beasts’ Lennart (31), the leader of The Pack located in Atlanta , which is the second largest of the shape-shifter packs in North America. He is unique among other shape-shifter Alphas being the leader of multiple types of shape-shifters.
Greg Feldman, former Knight-Diviner. Guardian of Kate.
Beatrice ‘Aunt B’, Alpha of Clan Bouda. Mother of Raphael Medrano.
Derek Gaunt, a teenaged werewolf who is one of Kate's closest friends and a protégé of both Jim and Curran.
Jim Shrapshire (33), the Chief of Security for The Pack, the Alpha Male of Clan Cat, a part-time Merc, and a close friend of Curran and the closest thing to a partner Kate had; once in a while they shared merc jobs from the Guild.
Dr. George Doolittle, werebadger. Pack Medmage.
Mahon Delany (62), werebear. Alpha of Clan Heavy. The Kodiak of Atlanta, the Pack executioner. Husband of Martha, father of George. Raised Curran as his own son.
Ghastek Stefanoff, Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead. (People)
Rowena, Master of the Dead. (People)
Ted Moynohan (51), Knight Protector. One of the original founders of The Order. Bigoted against non-humans.
Maxine, receptionist with the Order of Merciful Aid for over 25 years. Exceptionally strong telepath. Middle-aged and intimidating.
Nataraja, the local lord/leader of the People in Atlanta. Uncanny sensitivity to magic. The People are Necromancers who pilot and control Vampires.
Roland, the legendary leader of the People. It’s rumored that he’s been alive since magic last left the world, which was about four thousand years ago. He’s supposed to have incredible power, almost godlike. Some say he’s Merlin, some say he’s Gilgamesh. He has some sort of agenda and uses the People to achieve it, although the majority of them have never seen him. There’s no proof of his existence and lay people like Derek and Kate aren’t suppose to know about him.
Jennifer Hinton, the female alpha-wolf, mated to wolf-alpha Daniel.

Fourth re-read: 26.04.17
I just needed Curran, so I decided to re-read this one again. Since I remember everything in this book, I read it pretty fast, but slowed down when Curran appeared. I think I'll re-read book #2 and #3 as well... xp

Third re-read: 15.09.16
Still oh so awesome! I love Curran and Kate is terrific and together they are amazing!

Second re-read: 06.08.15
Still love this series! Curran is just......so damn hot and Kate is one of my favorite heroines ;D

Re-read: 27.07.14 and still loving it!
“Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty...”

Quick basic facts:
Genre: - (Adult) Urban Fantasy
Series: - Series, Book One
Love triangle? -
Cheating? -
HEA? -
Favorite Character - Curran Lennart.
Would I read more by this author/or of series? - Yes.
Would I recommend this book/series? - Yes.
Will I read this again in the future? - Obviously.
Rating - 4 stars.

First read review:
I loved "Magic Bites" by Ilona Andrews! The story was great, and it was well written. I love the characters, specially Kate and Curran! :D I reeeeally hope they end up together, just sayin'! xd I give this book.. 4 stars. Can't wait to read book #2! :D
Profile Image for Em Lost In Books.
871 reviews1,759 followers
March 26, 2023
And I am done. Reading it second time and knowing what I know now about how this all will shape the coming books, this make it even more fun. I remember feeling bad for Crest and wanted him to get back together with Kate (I was delusional!) but there is no one like Curran. I was just too stupid to see it here.

Profile Image for Jo ★The Book Sloth★.
485 reviews426 followers
February 12, 2016
Okay, okay... I admit the book was good and I was terribly wrong for not reading it sooner! All my fears were misplaced!!

Possible Spoilers coming up

“He finished the bandage and was examining it critically.
"You know those things are unreliable." His voice held just a touch of reproach.
“Eleven out of twelve work fine. I’d say that’s better chances than getting an orgasm with a blind date and women still try.”

Kate is brilliant! A little cocky at the beginning of the book but she gets over it after the first two hundred disasters. She is tough, smart, mouthy and a little arrogant. She is my favorite kind of heroine. She doesn't give in to lengthy emotional blabbering or emotional breakdowns so I love her!

“The monster licked his lips, long lines of whiskers twitching, and spoke in a deep growl. "Pretty, aren't I?" Curran. In midform. I broke from his gaze. "Adorable.”

I love Curran. I can write all the reasons but in the end it comes down to gorgeous, arrogant, no emotional baggage, no scarred hero just male awesomeness.

I liked the supportive characters all except Crest. I found that guy oily! My favorites were Derek and Nick.

The story was good after you got the world Andrews has created in order.It was fast paced, well written and with enough twists to keep you guessing. I look forward to the next ones and knowing what exactly Kate is!*happy dance*(love the gif)

************02/03/2014 UPDATE************

************16/07/2014 UPDATE************

BR with Aly!!

************April 2015 UPDATE************

Profile Image for Julio Genao.
Author 9 books1,988 followers
August 12, 2016
...and then you read a book by a pro, and you're all: fuuuuuuuuuck.

s'not perfect.

acute symptoms of firstbookinaseriesitis.

but lemme just fanboi about the writing for a minute, ok?

propulsive plotting: one thing leads naturally to another. the solution to one problem creates another. the solution to that creates yet another.

the false-denoument was a nice touch, but a little too early—a quick glance at my reading progress made it easy to dismiss the neatly 'solved' mystery immediately.

but man.

you spend all your time reading amateur stuff and struggling with your own amateur stuff—and then you read a thing, and you see who published it, and how many reviews it has, and what the ratings average is, and how many books came after it...

and you just know.

you can tell right away. first page.

it was written by a pro.

Want to read
February 7, 2018
The always amazing and wonderful Tinja has convinced me to try the audiobook versions of the Kate Daniels series. If I try to sneakily listen to audiobooks while I'm at the office like this guy, do you think anyone will catch on?!?

Come to think of it, the headphones might just be a bit of a tip-off...
Profile Image for Sophia Triad.
2,239 reviews3,455 followers
March 14, 2019
Magic and technology. The world created in this book is so complex that it is hard to explain it or even just describe it.

There is one thing to remember: Magic beats Technology. It is always a winner.

I loved the book. It helped the fact that it is full of many hateful, but also many beloved monsters. And I know how to appreciate a good twisted monster LOL

Kate is a kickass heroine. She knows how to use her sword better than she knows how to walk in high heels. She is fierce, strong, reliable, faithful to her friends – although she doesn’t have many friends. Basically she doesn’t trust humans or monsters easily. They have to fight for her trust. But when they are in, they are in for good.

Curran is a beloved monster. He is a shapeshifter and a Beast Lord. Very controlling and very protective. He only wishes his pack wellbeing.

In “Magic Bites” Curran and Kate will be introduced, they will fight a powerful Upir (a corpe-eater creature) and they will start their joined adventures.

I guess the most famous quote from this book (maybe from the whole series) comes from Kate and must be:

"Here kitty, kitty, kitty."
August 9, 2016
3 Here-kitty-kitty Stars

There is an inherent issue with having an Urban Fantasy novel that is only 260 pages long, in my opinion. And that issue is that there is far too much world information that has be introduced to the reader to avoid falling into the dreaded Info Dump territory; Magic Bites stumbles into that territory a little too much for my liking. I don’t know that I have ever said I wished that an UF novel was longer, but in this case I do because with the added length it may have been easier to show me (rather than tell me) the differences between Kate’s world and my own world.

The writing in this novel is rather simplistic, however, it flows well and has a natural progression from situation to situation that I have to admire. A LOT. I never felt like this story was awkward or forced, in any way. Sometimes I’ve felt like an author foisted a situation onto their character that was fake feeling or served a dramatic agenda; there was none of that here. I can’t say how much I appreciate having a convoluted story that feels like a natural web of moments weaving themselves into a conclusion of a mystery, it is a very lovely talent to possess.

Kate Daniels, You are a badass of the first Order!

(You should take it as a supreme compliment when I use a River Tam gif to express your badassary!)

I look forward to continuing with this series. I quite enjoyed Kate’s snarky attitude and her banter with Curran is exquisite. I can’t wait to find out about the hinted-to secret that makes Kate carry around gasoline on her person at all times.

He gave me a puzzled look. “I’m the one protecting you. You be careful.”
I shook my head. I finally got my knight in shining armour. Too bad he was a teenage werewolf.


Thanks to my lovely ghouls for agreeing to buddy-read this with me and I would apologize for finishing it way ahead of everyone, AGAIN, but we are not supposed to apologize for such things anymore. ♥

This wonderful friend of mine gave me a second-hand copy of this for Christmas.... so there is a buddy-read in my future ;)

Buddy-read with some of my favourites - My Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows, BC, Future-Gurl and Trish - set to commence July 11th! Let the cherry popping begin!!
Profile Image for Gergana.
227 reviews391 followers
December 15, 2016
Early 2015

It was just another day in the GoodReads community. I had just found out that you can add people as friends (yep, took me a few years...Buddy reading literally blew my mind!) and I was minding my own business, reading fantasy books as usual.
When suddenly, a new message started popping out:

And that's how I found out about a series called Kate Daniels. Apparently, I was one of the very few who had no idea what the whole hype was all about. Before long, my updates page was buzzing with messages, groups of people rereading the whole series and speculating on what will happen next! It reminded me of my experience with the Harry Potter books with one major problem - I wasn't part of the Fandom! I was missing out on something huge?! It's like the feeling you get when all of your friends are going to an extravagant party...

...and you're the only one not invited! And they all know it and look at you with pity in their eyes (that's what I do to people who haven't read the Harry Potter books, hehehe, they deserve it XD). So, naturally, while we were discussing favorite series, the name Kate Daniels will pop out almost instantly and people would start recommending the books, praising them to no end until I was convinced I must've lived in a cave all this time. There was only one thing to do:

So, how do you review one of the most loved and cherished books amongst the Goodreads community? Obviously, words weren't enough, so I did the only thing I'm slightly less crappy at than writing - I drew stuff (cause pictures are supposed to help get points across...somehow?) And the verdict is:

I thought it was kind of... meh?

*flies away to another galaxy*



I really really really wanted to LOVE this book, to go crazy about the romance between Kate and Curran, to swoon over the Beast Lord like everybody else, to be completely emerged in this post-apocalyptic world, where magic is real and monsters lurk at every corner. But I didn't. Don't ask why, I can't even explain it myself...well, I CAN, but then 99% of whoever's reading this sad excuse of a review will disagree anyways, so why bother?

...And because I'm feeling rather suicidal, here is a quick list of what didn't work for me the most:

Yep, I'd better run for my life now... XD

As you can see, yes, I could point out each element that didn't work for me, all the flows that I've noticed and every thing that I found lacking, but, in the end, we don't love a book, because it's perfect. We love it because a part of it resonates with a part of who we are. After all, the version of Magic Bites I saw in my head is completely different and unique from the way each one of us experienced the book to begin with.

The version I saw wasn't doing it for me - I can blame my lack of imagination, my Urban Fantasy fatigue or my personal annoyance with life in general. So please don't kill hate me... XD

With all that being said, I'm not giving up on the series. I'll still try the second and probably the third book, and who knows, might be enough to get me hooked. But for now, I'll just have to face the hard truth - I'm not a Kate Daniels fan (yet). I won't get excited when a new book is announced, I won't participate in the buddy reads for the ninth book or scream my heart out whenever someone posts a fanart of Curran. My life will be a never-ending misery...

Profile Image for Anna [Bran. San. Stan].
261 reviews80 followers
April 26, 2023
2023: GraphicAudio is finally doing the Kate Daniels series! Yay! Innkeeper was fun and all, but Kate is my favorite series of the Andrews' and to think how may more hours of joy are coming our way!! This first installment was already amazing; as usual, GraphicAudio elevates the source material: 5 stars! Kate and Curran have fabulous voices, which was my main concern going in.

The GraphicAudio also includes two scenes from Curran's PoV: the "Here, kitty, kitty" Unicorn Lane encounter and Fernando's restaurant scene. where Kate and Curran are on separate dates. And finally, the short story "A Questionable Client" - how Kate met Saiman - is also included. I highly recommend it!

2022: 3.75 stars. A murder mystery/detective story wrapped in UF with a kickass herione, topped with excellent writing. Definitely a series with great potential!

I mostly started reading this series because fellow fans of Karen Marie Moning‘s Fever series also love Kate Daniels. I was warned not to expect too much out of the first three books, so maybe that helped, but I really did enjoy myself reading this. Even if I was frustrated the h took so long to piece something rather obvious together, the characters, the writing and the world building had me not caring about that too much. I am curious to see where this series will lead!

Side note: If you’re expecting romance here, you will be disappointed. I do feel Kate and Curran will become an item in the future though. I sure am rooting for them.
Profile Image for Navessa.
Author 10 books7,512 followers
March 2, 2017
I'd been putting this book off for a while because a lot of people compared Kate to Anita Blake and I didn't think I could handle dealing with another emotionally crippled main character, even if she was a bad ass. While I agree that there are a lot of similarities between the two (ass kickery, gross amounts of natural magical talent, smart aleckness) I was pleasantly surprised that Kate didn't come with Anita's pitfalls. Yes there was some boo-hooing and some 'why me' but it happened towards the end of the book and I felt some of it was warranted. Who wouldn't beat themselves up after their oversight led to more people dying?

This book was an easy/quick read with a few holes in it (Why don't combustion engines work when tech falls? What causes these fluctuations in the first place?) but still managed to pull emotional responses from me. I liked it and will continue the series while praying that Kate's vagina doesn't turn into some magical disneyland that all the men in the series line up to get in to (Anita!).

This review can also be found at The Alliterates.
Profile Image for Lora.
186 reviews992 followers
September 5, 2011
Actual rating: 3.5 stars

Well . . . damn. This didn't turn out as I'd planned. While reading this I kept thinking to myself, Just go with three stars, almost everyone else you know has. The series will get better as it goes, just as everyone says, then you can rave and give them four. Although there were plenty things that bothered me about this, there were still more things that I liked. In fact, I would say that this surpassed my expectations.

But let us get the bad stuff out of the way first: I think my biggest problem was the beginning. All of a sudden you're thrust into this world where vampires are more reptilian/alien-esque Spider-Men than the (supposedly) gorgeous immortal gods we're currently used to (which is rather nice, actually), and there's talk of dhaes and I'm like, what the hell are those? I think there should've been some type of guide in the beginning or a prologue where Kate does an introduction of the world you're about to enter. Like a preparation chapter or something.

Even though I was a little leery of her at first, I quickly grew to like Kate. She has one of those personalities that you have to get used to, but once you do she isn't bad. She has spunk and I like how simple she tries to keep her life even in the midst of the chaotic world she lives in. And I think we've only touched the surface when it comes to the magic she can wield.

I kept thinking that when Kate met the Beast Lord a.k.a. Curran, he would have a long mane of golden hair — you know, because he's a lion shapechanger — well, if it had turned out that way, that would've undoubtedly been the end for me. Thankfully, that wasn't the case. Curran is described as having blonde hair that is too short to grab. Yahtzee.

The romance in this is very light, which is nice when compared to the sex fest I read not long ago. Still, I enjoy a little romance in my reading, so I'm interested to see if anything arises between Kate and Curran one of the men in her life in the next installment.
In Magic Bites Kate has a love interest for a short time but things didn't really seem right between them IMO. But there does seem to be some sexual tension (or is that just plain ol' tension?) between Kate and Curran. We shall see what becomes of that.

Although this has nothing to do with the book itself, it begs to be mentioned: I hate the cover. It looks like an amateur design effort and the girl looks like an unsuccessful* hooker brandishing a sword. Plus her nose looks as big as the cat's and she's wearing too much makeup to be the always-fuctionally-dressed Kate Daniels. Just an observation.

I do see a lot of potential in this series and if the ratings are anything to go by, this series gets better. So I'm quite anxious to begin the reading the sequel, Magic Burns.

*Unsuccessful because there is no man in his right mind who would go near a hooker with a sword. I'm sure you get my meaning.


My reviews of other titles in this series:

Book #2 - Magic Burns
Book #3 - Magic Strikes
Book #4 - Magic Bleeds
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