This year Ilona Andrews has graced us with two (2!) new Kate Daniels books. The two novellas have been gathered into a 2 audiobook collection. Hillary Huber does the bulk of the narration with Michael Glenn narrating Curran’s point of view chapters. I’ve been reading the Kate Daniels books for more than a decade, but this is the first time I’ve listened to a Kate Daniels audiobook. It took me a while to warm up to Huber’s voice. I don’t love her style, but it’s fine. Once I got used to it, it didn’t detract from the story. Michael Glenn has a deep, rich voice, as one would expect from Curran. I think my biggest issues with Huber are that she occasionally sounds like a tiktok auto narration voice, and that she doesn’t quite vibe with the Kate voice in my head. I did love listening to the stories and once the story got going, so did she.
The novellas, Magic Tides and Magic Claims, give us Kate, Curran, and their son Conlan starting fresh-ish in Wilmington, North Carolina. While they can mostly leave the politics of Atlanta behind, they are too powerful to truly be low key. Curran’s love of fortresses and Kate’s ability to explode things with power words make low key a fantasy.
The one thing that bothers me, and has bothered me for quite a while, is the direction they’ve gone with Jim and Dali. Jim is the one of a very few major Black character in the Kate Daniels world. So his move from friend to almost antagonist makes me uncomfortable. I don’t have a prescription for what they need to do to fix it, but I’m going on record to say that I’ve been uncomfortable with this since at least Magic Triumphs.
Magic Claims sets up some interesting directions for future stories to go. With low key going out the door before we hit the middle of Magic Tides, Kate and Curran reassess their goals and for the first time, embrace who they are in a more wholistic way.
I received this as an advance listener copy from Dreamscape Media and NetGalley. My opinions are my own, freely and honestly given.