A novella from the world of Kate Daniels, it seems that Magic Gifts should have been read prior to Gunmetal Magic as it takes place at the same time as certain events from the beginning of the latter book, letting us see what Kate was up to whilst Andrea was stomping around the city in beastkin form. However, reading it a little out of order didn’t diminish the experience at all.
Starting with a rare dinner date for Kate and Curran, they’re soon up to their necks in all things nasty once more when a magical necklace chokes the life out of one of their fellow diners. When the necklace then finds itself around the neck of a small child, Kate races against time to free the boy before he too is killed. But it’s not quite as simple as snapping the necklace off him, and Kate soon finds herself bargaining with drunk vikings and undead Norse monsters in an outing that is one of the most fun we’ve had yet.
As a big Tolkein fan, anything that introduces dwarves into post-Shift Atlanta is fine by me, and of a lover of all things Norse, the inclusion of vikings – even if they’re less ‘real’ vikings and more anyone who’s bought into the popular myth and loves drinking and fighting – nearly made me whoop with glee.
Magic Gifts also ends with Kate finally deciding to sort of the management problems over at the Mercenary Guild in her usual badass way, and so I’m definitely glad to have read this little side outing before carrying on with the series.