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Magic Bites

Magic Bites -  Ilona Andrews Buddy read with Armina, Eilonwy, and Asya.

By the time this book was published, Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series was already well-known with quite a lot of writers trying to copy it with the various degree of success. I am willing to bet any money Kate Daniels was inspired by Dresden Files, directly or indirectly. For this reason I will compare these two.

Here we have a female protagonist Kate Daniels who happened to be a mercenary who makes her living cleaning up magical problems. You see, she lives in a post-apocalyptic Atlanta with her world switching back and forth between technological based (our own) and magic based with a lot of nasty magical creatures and bad wizards creating all kinds of trouble. For me this set up was much more believable than Dresden's where people live side-by-side with magic and just choose to ignore it exists. Kate's mentor and friend was killed, and she is hell-bent on finding the culprit.

I will be the first one to admit it is much easier to write a male protagonist who solves magic problems by exterminating them than a female one. In the former case one can combine Conan the Barbarian with Rambo and get somewhat believable - if completely one-dimensional - character. In the latter case the same guy can be slapped with a name Peggy or Mary (the examples do exist), but all the remaining shreds of believability would go out of the window. I am happy to say Kat Daniels as a female kick-ass protagonist works - almost. She does have her weaknesses and she admits to having them.

There are a lot of drop-dead gorgeous women and extremely handsome guys in the book with quite a few of the latter falling head over heels for Kate, but these are required tropes for the genre. Speaking about falling in love, there is some romance in there, but not enough to qualify for paranormal romance status. I am really glad to say the romance never got in the way of the plot.

There is something else which was refreshing about the series. The major part of urban fantasy monsters come from Celtic mythology which became kind of old at this time. Kate meets monsters bases on Slavic (this obviously comes from one of the authors being Russian), Chinese, and some other myths from around the world.

Kate's wisecracking is on the level with that of Harry Dresden; she does not take herself seriously even in the face of a great danger ("Here kitty, do you want some milk?").

As a debut book it is stronger then Dresden Files. It is also a very easy and fast read. Regarding the negative points - other than the ones I already mentioned - the main villain seems to come out of nowhere and was not believable at all. My rating would be slightly above 3.5 stars, but I always cut some slack for the first published book, so 4 stars it is.

This review is a copy/paste of my BookLikes one: http://gene.booklikes.com/post/960649/while-most-of-the-genre-s-cliches-are-here-the-book-does-not-suck