carol. 's Reviews > Magic Rises

Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews
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really liked it
bookshelves: urban-fantasy, supernatural-mystery, my-library, female-lead
Recommended for: fans of UF, strong heroines

Good heavens, most of the reviews GR shows on the first page are so full of fangirl squeeing that I can't read for the gifs and shouting fonts. It makes me want to hate the book out of naturally iconoclastic tendencies. However, as the Andrews continue to write a first rate urban fantasy series, I am unable to indulge--although I confess I did not reach squee-worthy heights.

The briefest of synopsis: Curran and Consort are invited to Europe to protect a pregnant were involved in a major dispute between European shapeshifter packs. Although everyone believes it is some kind of trap, they go because of the lure of panacea, a treatment for loupism that could have dramatic and personal impact on survival rates for Pack children.

Although I was initially concerned a change in location could prove disastrous, it turned out very, very well by creating opportunities to explore exotic mythologies and take readers on a pleasure cruise through post-Shift world. (And by 'pleasure cruise,' I mean 'pirate fight'). New setting, different politics, creative species and still some progression in the overall series arc results in a solid entry into the Kate Daniels storyline while retaining enough independence to stand on its own.

Andrews shines in building dramatic tension. As usual, I meant to put down the book to go to sleep on time, but found making the "just another chapter" promise... right up until I finished. The plot contains preparation, journey, and hostile-territory politics, so there's plenty of opportunities for dramatic tension. Fight scenes were fabulous. Although Andrews have referred to them on their blog as "requiring rework," their frustration doesn't show, and the insistence on reworking results in a quality payout. One of my favorite scenes in the book was Kate's fight with (view spoiler).

Plotting was interesting, although I found myself somewhat conflicted after finishing. The 'trap' twist was a complete surprise, an achievement considering expectations for duplicity. I consider the ability to surprise readers on book six of a series to be an impressive feat--far too many authors are content to rework the same formula that has proven successful for them. However, there were a few too many happy coincidences for me, particularly towards the end (view spoiler). While I wouldn't have liked it, a more emotionally powerful ending would have lacked a solution to the switch. It would have been a bold authorial move, and would have allowed population stability to stay relatively stable. Sure, it would be crushing. But it would also have been audacious. As it was, it felt like one of those movies whose ending didn't screen well resulting in the tacked on "happily-ever-after" version (hello, I Am Legend).

Character growth was also interesting. Supporting characters stand out as usual, particularly Barabas and Aunt B. In the guest appearances category, I especially liked the Shepherd and his small but solid friend. Kate is more influenced by her emotions than in prior books, less able to be her strategic problem-solving self, and it shows in her interpretations and narration. I think overall, it achieved a greater emotional complexity with the relationship issues than most UF. I will say that the relationship between her and Curran continues to make me uncomfortable. Saiman hits it on the head when he notes, "you both think violence is foreplay." By the way, fanpeeps, Curran is not "hot," "sexy," or whatever charged word you want to use to imply some kind of urban fantasy alpha-male desirability. He's domineering, arrogant and controlling. Please don't gush all over your review or confuse his behavior with something acceptable in real life. This book, more than any of the others, demonstrates the extent of Kate and Curran's damaged personalities.

Why not five stars? Because I really, really, can't get my groove on over a star-crossed-lovers storyline and because the plotting requires some reader buy-in at exposition and ending (Really? The most dominant Pack members are allowed to go on a potential suicide mission?). Still, a solid read.


Cross posted at http://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2013/0...
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Reading Progress

July 12, 2013 – Shelved
July 12, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
August 10, 2013 – Started Reading
August 10, 2013 – Finished Reading
August 12, 2013 – Shelved as: urban-fantasy
August 12, 2013 – Shelved as: supernatural-mystery
August 12, 2013 – Shelved as: my-library
August 12, 2013 – Shelved as: female-lead

Comments Showing 1-30 of 30 (30 new)

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Carly I'm looking forward to your review of this one.


carol. Have you read it? I finished last night in the wee hours (technically speaking, i finished today-ha).


Carly nah... I'm around 40 or 50 on my library waitlist, so I'll have some time for my interest to build up. I'm a little hesitant to buy it--this series seems to get the inverse of our Castor/Dresden reactions. It's fun watching the reviews start trickling in--they've definitely piqued my curiosity(view spoiler).


message 4: by Moira (new)

Moira Russell It makes me want to hate the book out of naturally iconoclastic tendencies.

....I knew I liked you!


Carly Wonderful review, as always!

And by 'pleasure cruise,' I mean 'pirate fight.'
Heh.

By the way, fanpeeps, Curran is not "hot," "sexy," or whatever charged word you want to use to imply some kind of urban fantasy alpha-male desirability. He's domineering, arrogant and controlling. Please don't gush all over your review or confuse his behavior with something acceptable in real life.
This...made me so happy.


carol. Moira wrote: " It makes me want to hate the book out of naturally iconoclastic tendencies.

....I knew I liked you!"


Right back at you.


carol. Thanks, Carly. I think Kate held her ground, but by no means is it a real-life emulation-worthy relationship. Their 'romance' completely failed to resonate with me this time, although with the writing, I understand why it works for them. I just got no vicarious thrill.


message 8: by Arielle (new)

Arielle Walker Great review - I am so so sick of "reviews" that read like a bad tumblr blog! (And the book sounds interesting too) - also "squee-worthy" is a brilliant new term.


message 9: by Beth (new)

Beth By the way, fanpeeps, Curran is not "hot," "sexy," or whatever charged word you want to use to imply some kind of urban fantasy alpha-male desirability... Please don't gush all over your review or confuse his behavior with something acceptable in real life.

To some extent, I envy the naïve reader (not meant pejoratively) that can enjoy a character like this without the unpleasant real life baggage he carries around. But I can't. Oh heck no.

Thanks for another insightful review!


message 10: by carol. (last edited Aug 13, 2013 08:24AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

carol. Thank you, Arielle and Beth! I look forward to your reviews. I know the fans might never read my review, but I had to get it out.

I hear you, Beth--even if people can't recognize Curran from experience, I think it's a bad idea to set them up as a role model couple. Kate's a little easier to see in that role as she demonstrates compassion fairly often. Curran is just flat out controlling, whether he is in love or no. To be fair to Andrews, I don't think they mean for it to be set up as an ideal, but those forum games of "who's the hawtest UF couple" miss the boat on this one.


Emily I waited to read your review until I finished it. I smiled when I saw that we wrote the same one-word spoiler.


carol. Emily wrote: "I waited to read your review until I finished it. I smiled when I saw that we wrote the same one-word spoiler."

Ha! :D


Flowerscat "By the way, fanpeeps, Curran is not "hot," "sexy," or whatever charged word you want to use to imply some kind of urban fantasy alpha-male desirability. He's domineering, arrogant and controlling. Please don't gush all over your review or confuse his behavior with something acceptable in real life. "

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I've always wondered why someone strong and indepedent and ruthless like Kate would choose someone arrogant and controlling as her partner - its just so out of character! I'm glad someone finally pointed this out and its not just me - I love Kate and her relationship with Currant really bugs me when reading the books. I usually skip over the 'You'll do it before I am telling you to' parts but looks like there is a lot of this in the current book - bit worried that this book will forever put me off the series if I start reading it. I wonder if the writers started to elaborate on the whole relationship/romance angle because that is what sells. It would be a shame if this series turned into a romantic fantasy - there is enough of that already on the market.


carol. Thank you, Flowers. It took me awhile to realize it, putting it down to romance conventions. But he's not getting better about allowing her any latitude or to make her own decisions. I understand Kate wants an "equal strength" partner and has her own dark side--I just hope that readers understand it isn't role modelling healthy.


Carly FYI, I went looking, and here's what the Andrews said (Aug 5 blogpost): (view spoiler)


message 16: by Flowerscat (last edited Sep 05, 2013 02:19PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Flowerscat Carly wrote: "But I guess it's worth noting that they aren't trying to construct a perfect relationship." I get that, but I guess what irks me about this storyline is that Kate has gone from being a self-assured independent merc to someone who seems very insecure in her own abilities & decisions...and being with Curran just seems to encourage that trend.

She had no significant relationships and she has very little emotional armor
Kate is meant to be 26, whether or not she has had a long-term relationship, she has been in contact with people & lives amongst them, on her own, since the age of 14, so that is a very poor excuse to justify Kate's reaction.

Okay rant over, I should go pick another book to distract myself. :-D


Carly Flowerscat wrote: "Carly wrote: "But I guess it's worth noting that they aren't trying to construct a perfect relationship." I get that, but I guess what irks me about this storyline is that Kate has gone from being ..."

At no point did I say I agree with their comments...in fact--as I said--quite the reverse. (view spoiler)
However, I still think it is worth noting that at least the Andrews don't consider Kate and Curran a template for a healthy relationship.


carol. Carly wrote: "However, I still think it is worth noting that at least the Andrews don't consider Kate and Curran a template for a healthy relationship. "

Agree--that's been my interpretation from their blog and the like. I like them a lot. However, I was struck on my review that there were an awful lot of 'squeeing' reviews that I wanted to comment on.


message 19: by Flowerscat (last edited Sep 06, 2013 11:57AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Flowerscat Carly wrote: At no point did I say I agree with their comments...in fact--as I said--quite the reverse

Hi Carly,

I wasn't critising you - just having a rant & venting my frustration at what started off as a great series - I really liked Kate, her friends & the story line, and now this book has almost put me off reading the next in the series - I'd like Kate to be with someone who appreciates her for what she is and I can't see that happening within the span of the next 3 books. I do understand that from an authors standpoint its hard to write a story that pleases everyone :)

Kate bends in practically every disagreement they have. Granted, it's usually because fate intervenes, (e.g. Kate being forced out of the Order right after Curran demands that she leave) ...and that too. Its just a bit too coincidental to be believable. I feel like I want to re-write the books, just taking out the 10% I don't enjoy :)


message 20: by Kathleen (last edited Sep 12, 2013 01:19PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kathleen Yes, too many squee reviews. I agree with many of your thoughts, but found myself unable to look so favorably on the book as a whole. The emotional drama Curran created was contrived and improbable. Also, as you say, too much deus ex machina.

What I did like was seeing how all the other characters played out. Aunt B, Mahon, Saimon, Andrea and Raphael, Barabas, etc. As you said, the villain was textured and interesting.


carol. I empathize, Kathleen. It might be one of those storylines that separate out the younger fans (in terms of life experiences) from the older--too much contrived drama.


Kathleen Could be!


message 23: by VMom (new) - rated it 4 stars

VMom Thank you - I thought I was the only Kate fan who really doesn't like Curran. In this book I actually thought Kate and Hugh had better chemistry. Sure he's eviiil, but he and Kate have a better shot at treating each other as equals, imo.


Kathleen Yes, VMom, that was a very interesting twist, with Kate and Hugh. Curran was an idiot in this book.


message 25: by Lindsay (new) - added it

Lindsay Simms Thank you for your note on Curran. During the first few books, I truly couldn't understand why people liked Curran so much. He is absolutely terrifying and borderline abusive from an outsider's POV. Later in the books, once we started learning more about him, I still find him terrifying. However, I don't see him as abusive towards Kate. In the beginning, I compared him to Edward Cullen, dominant, possessive, and emotionally abusive. He's still the first two things, and for anyone but Kate he'd likely be abusive as well, but the main difference is in the portrayal by the authors. Edward's abuse is supposed to be sexy and perfect, which, quite frankly, really concerns me when it comes to Meyers' views of how men should treat women. The Andrews' make it very clear that Curran is broken and severely damaged, and that his behavior is not okay. Kate stands up to him and smacks him on the nose. She balances him out and reminds him that he needs to get the hell over his bad self. Their relationship is still incredibly unstable, from a psychological viewpoint (which brings to mind a lyric from my favorite musical, Next to Normal: "What doctors called dysfunction, we tried to call romance"), but it's what they both need in their lives. They say themselves that they're too screwed up for anybody else. At least the Andrews admit that this is not what a healthy, normal relationship should be like, and that's what really drives their relationship home for me. However, it still worries me that young women around my age (21) find him sexy and attractive. People, he is NOT the kind of person you want to end up with. Because in real life, men like him are incredibly domineering and abusive, and often put their spouses in the hospital or the ground. Please don't confuse possession for love; they aren't at all the same.


carol. Thanks, Lindsay. It's an important point.


message 27: by Lindsay (new) - added it

Lindsay Simms I was raised by a single mother who didn't take shit from anybody. Can you tell? :{D


message 28: by Lindsay (new) - added it

Lindsay Simms By the way, I can only read about half of these comments, as Mobile doesn't like to show comments that are posted as quoted replies. Quite irksome. So sorry if I repeated anything that anyone said or disputed already.


carol. Don't worry about it, Lindsay. I think the commentors all agreed with you.


message 30: by Lindsay (new) - added it

Lindsay Simms Tl;dr: Curran is a real bastard, but he knows it, Kate knows it, the Andrews know it, and hopefully most readers know it. At least Kate is willing to smack him on the nose, literally, and call him a bad kitty when he gets all douchey and possessive.

I can't speak for my generation as a whole, but most of my FAAB friends, including ones that have been emotionally abused their whole lives, are a lot better about not allowing their SO to abuse them than my mother and grandmother's generations were. The Twilight fan girls are starting to grow up and enter real relationships. Hopefully they'll learn to leave the books behind and trust their instincts. Although, my older sister has conveniently forgotten all the extreme abuse in Twilight, and assures me that neither Edward Cullen or Christian Grey is abusive. Sure, hon. Let's just be glad you're the one who married a good guy while young and leave it at that. Note: re: 50 Shades; BDSM between consenting adults is not abuse; but how he treats her in that book is not indicative of a healthy relationship between people who partake in bdsm. It's just abuse. The line between the two is not as fine as people think, and I have never spoken with a single bdsm practitioner (does that word work?) who approves of that book.

Now to stop being WAY off topic.

Spoilers for Magic Breaks (extra precautions since my phone is temperamental about letting me tag):

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(view spoiler)


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