LMM's Reviews > Magic Slays

Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews
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's review
Jun 01, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, paranormal-pnr
Recommended to LMM by: Barbara (VampAngel)
Recommended for: most anyone if they love UF. Joss Whedon fans.

S-O-L-I-D. Since the very 1st book. Could this possibly be the best series b'c it has an unerring groundedness to it? The story, the characters, the tone, the action, the dialog's...all very sure-footed in how the author's keep it real. Finger's crossed they keep taking whatever writing juice they seem to be taking b'c the mojo it creates, works. I love the consistency. Even as the characters change & grow there is a consistency & authenticity.

I don't know how they do it when it seems to be a feat many authors lose the battle with..maybe b'c they stay away from their own reviews? Maybe they stay away from their own boards & therefore, they don't get caught up in their growing popularity so it allows them their creative freedom? Maybe it's b'c they have one another to lean on & b'c of the nature of the relationship, ego's & insecurities are kept in check so the feedback & criticism they give one another is truly listened too & ultimately heeded making them a true lean, mean writing machine? Whatever it is, I hope it endures.

I'm not going to talk too much about plot since, if reading this, it's redundant, but I'll discuss what I love overall at this point & why I think this series is tops & worth the time.


So 1st off, so flipping relieved they didn't have Andrea turn into a backstabbing best friend (or so it seems, there's actually still room for that but I really hope it doesn't go there). After the last book, I felt they were setting her up to double cross Kate b'c of all of her own personal issues. Thank you, thank you team Andrews for not sabotaging yet another female friendship which seems to be the norm.

In fact, not only did they not sabotage but I almost felt that every scene Andrea was in, she stole. She had the two lines in the book which made me laugh the hardest. I loved her deadpan delivery when she told Kate she thought Grendel might be 'retarded' & when she explained the showdown with Aunt B; "So I slapped her" & "She's F-ing strong" & "This is the hand that slapped Aunt B." I can completely see how & why she & Kate are besties.

I'm kinda in awe over how the authors are able to write action sequences. Since they never waste words, they're often fairly short but even so, they are pretty epic battle scenes. Very cool.

Here's what I love most, more than any other series (I've thought about it & can categorically say this) - I am truly interested in pretty much all the other characters separately. Except Ted & maybe Mahon.

- I was dying to see Andrea & Raphael confront one another (where the hell was he????)

- I was wishing we got to see the sit down between Andrea & Aunt B

- Can't wait to see Roman pursue Andrea & the dynamic with R

- Julie & Derrick are meant to be. I cannot wait for that to start to unfold & Julie to start really coming into her own esp. now that she truly has Kate's blood! Some great stuff to explore here.

- Loved Ascanio & can't wait to see more from his character.

- I was shocked when Daniel died & really interested to see how Jennifer handles being a mother when she has faced so much intimate loss. Actually, hope that Kate makes another new friend. There's an interesting dynamic there.
Would love to see more side snippets of Barbaras & Jezebel.

The list goes on. Here's the thing though - usually, I'm interested in the other characters but only to see them with the MC. Not so much in their stories individually. There are a few but generally - authors create secondary characters to be such an extension of the MC I'm not too bothered in the spin off. Bare with me while I explain.

- It hasn't worked for me & Frost's spin-offs. I wasn't interested in Denise, Mancheres & Spade only marginally & in the end their execution failed for me so I only trust in reading Cat & Bones.

- Although I'll read KMM's spin-off, in truth, what will truly lure me to pick them up is more Mac & Barrons. I'm not that interested in Dani, esp. after the last book.

- LKH has connected everyone to Anita sexually & metaphysically so much so that I feel they're pretty much lobotomized drones, so what's so interesting about them anymore, esp w/out Anita playing puppet master?

- Ward has a pretty successful formula in how she ties the individual's together, however her writing is inconsistent for me & I could do w/out 1/2 the stories I've read b'c I wasn't all the interested in the characters.

- CH has botched her own MC's short stories so badly in having them be so contradictory & unreliable...they matter so much, then saying they don't & then providing one that is sooo out of character & timeline that It's pretty much killed my interest in the other characters. Why should I care about the others if my fave one is being tossed around cavalierly? So I'll just stick to the main SVM universe. Not only that, but in the main story there are many characters haven't been interested in, that even when they matter I've skimmed or skipped.

- I really like almost every secondary in Mead's Georgina series but would I read any spin-offs? Probably not after recently realizing Mead is very formulaic & tends to dumb down her MC's. Previously potentially likable characters facing complex, emotional situations who end up making truly inexplicably dumb choices without regard for any repercussions...why the hell would I endure more books like that? I'll finish out GK but depending on the outcome, we'll see if it would be enough to entice me to try another Mead book.

So see......I've thought about the series in context & this is why I have ended up loving the Kate Daniels series most. I don't know how they do it, but they've made all the secondary characters (thus far) so independently interesting in their own right, not only would I read any shorts or books w/out Kate or Curran present, but they've made it so I am wholly interested at all times when reading this series. I don't skip or skim when another character appears on page. I'm 100% intrigued & invested. There's a sense of confidence I feel when reading. I know there is a real sense of purpose when someone is introduced or appears & there is no waffling or meandering as the story is being relayed.

I feel what's here, in this series that makes it such a standout more than any other I've read thus far, is the fact that there's a real balance which leads to a very cohesive feel.

Add to which it has a thinking person's MC. Although confident there's no arrogance so a nice lack of ego there. She takes her responsibilities seriously. She is loyal. Funny. Strong. She has humility. She tries...every single time, she tries. She also owns her vulnerabilities & insecurities & confronts them head on thereby allowing herself to LIVE in spite of what's probably coming down the pike. I think the closest she's come to angst is asking herself "why me?" and drum roll.....they've yet to have her make truly inexplicably stupid choices just to move the story along or prolong the story to drag it out. I guess she really is the definition of a soldier in many, many ways.

Lastly, they're genuinely enjoyable b'c they read at a great lick & winds up being FUN, fun, fun.

So uh, yeah, you could say I love this series.
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message 1: by Suz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Suz Good review. I agree with you on nearly all points, too. This series is how it should be done. Particularly the ending. I'm so sick of cliff hangers, but Ilona Andrews ties up the book in a satisfying way while still leaving enough in the long arc to keep you excited to wait for and speculate on the next installment.

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