magic-burnsDown in Atlanta, tempers – and temperatures – are about to flare…

As a mercenary who cleans up after magic gone wrong, Kate Daniels has seen her fair share of occupational hazards.  Normally, waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide.  But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant.  Now Kate’s going to have to deal with problems on a much bigger scale: a divine one.

When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta’s paramilitary clan of shapeshifters, she quickly realises much more is at stake.  During a flare, gods and goddesses can manifest – and battle for power.  The stolen maps are only the beginning gambit in an epic tug-of-war between two gods hoping for rebirth.  And if Kate can’t stop the cataclysmic showdown, the city may not survive…

The first book in the Kate Daniels series, Magic Bites, was highly enjoyable but had some weak spots.  In Magic Burns, the second book, Ilona Andrews’ writing has improved.  The main plot, Kate being in the middle of a divine battle for power was interesting and intriguing, but what I really enjoyed about this book was the increased emotional depth and the character growth.

In Magic Burns we find out more about the magic users of Atlanta, and this world’s magic system.  The witches were interesting, particularly the way they live in a giant tortoise, but I loved seeing the hyena pack.  Though their behaviour can be odd and kinky by ordinary standards, the hyenas come across as a warm and supportive pack.   When Kate brings someone with a dangerous secret to them for help, they help regardless of the fact that it could get them into trouble.  Kate’s acceptance of the secret and willingness to keep it though she thinks it is nothing, gains her their friendship.

Kate’s smart mouth still gets her into trouble, but in her new position as liaison between the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid and the Guild of Mercenaries, and as a Friend of the Pack (the shapeshifters), she is learning to use rules and regulations, not just violence, to get answers.  Kate’s responsible and caring side is shown when she looks after a young street kid whose missing mother is part of Kate’s investigation, and she begins to make a female friend.

 Magic Burns tells us more about Kate’s heritage and why she goes to such lengths to hide it.  The attraction between Kate and Curran is built upon, and the hyena alpha explains some of Curran’s behaviour.  I can hardly wait to see Kate and Curran’s continued interactions in the next book!

Kate Daniels’ next adventure is sure to be complicated, dangerous and entertaining, and the hints of the series overall arch continue to intrigue me.  Ilona Andrews is now one of my favourite authors.

Other books by Ilona Andrews that I have reviewed: Magic Bites