Book Review: Ilona Andrews’ Magic Burns

Posted May 21, 2013 by Kathy Davie in

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Ilona Andrews’ Magic Burns

Magic Burns

is a paperback edition on April 2008 and has 260 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Second in the Kate Daniels urban fantasy series revolving around Kate, a mercenary-turned-sort-of-knight-of-the-Order. If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Kate Daniels books on my website at Chronological Lists of Complex, Intersected Series.

In 2008, Magic Burns won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award (RT Award) for Urban Fantasy.

My Take

It’s that age-old desire for power that dominates this story — both the positive and the negative. And all is fair in love and war. No matter who you deceive.

This is a fascinating series with a large recurring cast of central characters. They’re vicious, they’re protective, and it’s a world unique to Kate Daniels. The Andrews continue to tease us with snippets of Kate’s past and her fears of discovery. She’s strong with her own set of weaknesses that won’t keep her from upholding her honor. She’s also got a mouth on her — just ask Curran! Although he’s not half as cheeky in this story as Bran!

“Secret to shutting you up,” he said. “I just have to beat you till you’re half-dead, then give you chicken soup and — blessed silence.”

This is one creepy world with disgustingly mindless vampires and their power-hungry masters; a huge range of shapeshifters, er, shapechangers, I mean; a dystopian group of law enforcement agencies that bring our-day attitudes to a terrifying world and combine it with magic; and, myths that walk the land. It’s a magic that ravages anything manmade — wait’ll you get that tour of the trailer park. I don’t care how big it can evolve, I still wouldn’t want to live there!

No respect, Kate has no respect…LOL

“What are you doing?” Ghastek asked.

“My hole puncher broke.”

“You have no respect for the undead.”

It’s a good lesson in here about sex and power, about fighting for a cause, for those you care about. And a tough one to learn. One that made me cry.

Your power is who you are.

There’s the overt action with a potential invasion of our world in which humanity will perish. Then there’s the covert action…a very undercover one with Kate doing her best to resist the Beast Lord.

“If it wasn’t for her and the flare, I’d throw your dumb ass out of this window.”

“What does the flare have to do with it?”

“I don’t want it to be attributed to a loss of control on my part. When I throw you out of the window, I want there to be no doubt the act was deliberate.”

“Not only will you sleep with me, but you will say ‘please’ before and ‘thank you’ after.”

Oh, I just hate that ending. Bran is such a little boy at heart, and he finally does the right thing.

Curran pays attention:

“Welcome home. I’m glad you made it. There is coffee in the kitchen for you.”

The Story

The Pack has a problem and are desperate enough to want to hire Kate. A mere incidental compared to what Kate must battle.

The Characters

Kate Daniels is still associated with the Order as the liaison between the Guild and the Order. And since the Red Point Stalker case, she is now a Friend of the Pack. It just means they wait a second longer before they take her down. Slayer is the name of her almost-sentient sword.

Knights of the Order
Andrea Nash is a knight but has been sidelined by Ted; she’s also beastkin, the product of a union between a werehyena and a hyenawere. Greg Feldman had been her guardian and a knight-diviner, pushing her to return to the Order. Until he was murdered in Magic Bites, 1. Maxine is the telepathic secretary. Ted Monahan is the knight-protector and the definition of bigoted jerk. Mauro is another knight.

The three legal enforcement divisions are the Paranormal Activity Police Division (PAD), which is like a magic SWAT unit; the Military Supernatural Defense Units (MSDU); and, the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid will help you and only charge what you can afford. Hopefully you can also afford to lose.

We met Red in Magic Bites, and now he’s protecting the thirteen-year-old Julie, an orphan and a little girl who is a living m-scanner. Her mother, Jessica Olsen, has disappeared along with the rest of her coven, the Sisters of the Crow led by Esmeralda.

The Pack
Curran is the Beast Lord commanding over five hundred shapechangers. Jim is a shapechanger, a Jaguar in charge of the Pack’s security. The one absolute Kate can always count on with him is that the Pack will always come first. Derek is a gorgeous killer wolf shapechanger who works directly for Curran. Dr. Doolittle is a medmage who is getting a lot of practice patching Kate up. Myong Williams, a minkwere, is an old girlfriend of Curran’s, and she’s recently hooked up with Dr. Max Crest, Kate’s wanna-be boyfriend before he dumped her. Aunt B is the hyenas’ alpha. Raphael is Aunt B’s beyond gorgeous son who just can’t stop dipping his wick.

The Pack is all the shapechangers in the Atlanta area and a bit beyond. It includes the bouda, wolves, bears, cats, rats, you name it. The Pack’s central headquarters is the Keep. The Lycos Virus, a.k.a., Lyc-V for short, changes a human into a shapechanger, leading to the individual’s battle between mind and body. If the mind wins, they join the Pack. A loner is a shapechanger who chooses not to join the Pack while a loup is a shapechanger who allows their body to control their actions, and they’re killed on sight.

The People
The People are necromancers who navigate the vampires; the Casino is their headquarters. Ghastek, a Master of the Dead, a necromantic navigator who loves to tweak Kate’s nose, is second-in-command to Nataraja of the People in Atlanta. Roland is a legendary head of all the People.

The witches: Sienna, the Oracle, a.k.a., the maiden, as well as the obstreperous crone and the mother won’t help without a favor.

Reeves are nasty, spirit-like predators corralled by Bolgor the Shepherd of the Fomoire, enemy to the Morrigan. Ugad is the Great Crow’s Hammer — Kate calls him “Bubba”. Morfran is also known as the Great Crow.

Bran is a master bowman who keeps popping up in the most unexpected places with but three things on his mind: sex, those maps, and the reeves. He’s the Morrigan’s Hound, and cares only for himself.

The vocabulary-challenged Jeremy is a homicidal pyromaniac. Custer appears to be the gatekeeper in the Honeycomb. He did a very stupid thing when he gave Bryce, Mory, and Jeremiah the heads-up.

Saiman, a different kind of shapechanger, is an independent threat to Kate’s mind and her resource for truly mystifying questions of magic — he specializes in information.

The Mercenary Guild is primarily interested in profit.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a blend of a flare over the city of Atlanta and a Kate who is on guard with Curran at her feet.

I’m going to go with tears, in this story Magic Burns with tears.


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