After I read Magic Bleeds, I started thinking about the most recent book – Magic Breaks. Like Magic Bleeds, Magic Breaks is a major pivot point for the series. However, I haven’t read Magic Breaks often enough to have “deep” thoughts about it, so this is just a book review not me talking out my butt about the importance of pop culture. If you haven’t read the Kate Daniels series – you should go read the books and then read this review. This review is all spoilers. it’s not really even a review – it’s just random thoughts.
SPOILERS. I’m going to assume you’ve read the book, and I’m not going to bother laying out what’s happening here and jump right into the stuff I think is interesting.
Kate is a fantastic character. Ilona Andrews is good at character, but Kate is far and above the best character in the series. I appreciate that while she is special and unique within her world, as are most urban fantasy protagonists, she works hard and she still has a lot to learn. Kate’s awareness that she is not yet good enough or powerful enough to kill Roland keeps a tension in the series. Her awareness of her strengths and shortcomings gives Kate a truthfulness. She is relatable because she is confident in the skills she has and struggles with the things outside of her skill set – mostly dealing with other people in a non-stabby way.
As much as I love Curran and enjoy his relationship with Kate, he does fall into the trap of being “the best.” He was established early in the series as the strongest and fiercest of the weres. Over the course of the series, Curran has been humanized through his relationship with Kate, and his frustration with Pack politics. He’s still the one who rescues Kate, but he’s not invulnerable and he isn’t a better fighter than Kate. Together, though, they are almost invincible. In the long run, having a partner for Kate who is her equal is good for the series. It does force the Andrews to keep them separated, which worked fine in Magic Breaks, but was problematic in Magic Rises. I’m looking forward to seeing where Curran goes without the Pack. Letting go of the Pack removes an enormous deadweight from the story. I was having a hard time believing that the Council was still fighting Curran on rescuing Kate – most of the alphas are her friends and allies, and I thought Curran and Mahon settled their issues over Kate. Even without that quibble, taking Curran out of the Pack is going to give him opportunities to change.
Roland has worked well as a future threat. I’m still not sure how I feel about him as a character. Though I tried not to, I kept picturing him as Emperor Palpatine. The Big Bad is a tricky character to write. I’m interested to see how Roland develops. He has been Kate’s identity for a long time – her secret father, her enemy, her destiny and her target. Over the course of a few books, Kate has begun to separate her identity from Roland. As Kate has become a complex character with a web of friendships and alliances, her inevitable showdown with Roland seems less like her raison d’etre, and more like another task. She has been letting go of Voron over several books, and finally lets go of his purpose for her – to kill Roland. It makes their inevitable showdown more interesting. It seems unlikely that Roland will be able to leave well enough alone. Like Voldemort, he has created the person who can be his downfall and will keep pushing until one of them is dead.
I hope we’ve seen the last of Hugh as a major character. He isn’t interesting anymore. He was interesting in Magic Strikes as a potential threat, but he’s been beaten by Kate and Curran in fights, he isn’t a threat to their relationship, and it seems unlikely he will be turn into any sort of ally. He seems more like a frat boy bully than a worthy opponent. Since Roland has given Kate the key to making sure Hugh really dies next time, I think we can assume he is not long for the world. I hope he has a better back up warlord.
I miss Erra. Erra was a great antagonist for Kate. Erra is a great connection point between Kate and Roland. He seemed the most real to me as a character when he started talking about Erra. I wonder how much was truth and how much was bluster when Roland said Erra let Kate kill her.
At some point, the issues of Julie’s blood and Kate’s claiming of Atlanta are going to come up. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the next three books.