Page count: 320 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars
Date begun: May 31st, 2011
Date finished: May 31st, 2011
This is the fifth book in the Kate Daniels series. This review will contain minor spoilers for previous books in the series, because at this point it's actually impossible to avoid them. If you want to avoid them, skip this review, and go start reading the books instead. They're awesome, I promise. Overlook the dreadful covers. Start with Magic Bites. Go on, you won't regret it.
Kate Daniels has quit her job with the Knight of Merciful Aid, and set up her own business as an independent agent. She has her own office, but business has been decidedly lacking, possibly because her former employer hasn't exactly been glowing in their recommendations. So when Ghastek, the foremost Master of the Dead calls her to capture an escaped vampire, she jumps at the chance. Shortly after, a former acquaintance, an elite bodyguard, shows up at her office, needing help to track down the inventor of a mysterious device who's gone missing. As Kate gets deeper into the case, it turns out that the escaped vampire and the missing inventor are connected cases.
Kate is also trying to get to grips with her new status as female alpha to the Pack of Atlanta. As Curran's mate and consort, she has to have the welfare of the huge shapeshifter community in mind, something that is very alien to a woman raised to avoid personal connections and close relationships. Her ward, Julie, has run away from school, again, and she needs to figure out what to do with the girl. In the course of her investigation, she goes to visit the witch coven, and learns more about her mother, and Voron, the man who raised her, which forces her to reevaluate a lot of what she thought she knew about herself and her life.
I eagerly await each new book written by Ilona and Gordon Andrews, and clear my entire schedule when I get one of their books, so I can do nothing but immerse myself in the book and truly savour it. Of all the books in the Kate Daniels series, Magic Slays is the best so far, which is no mean feat. It can probably be read independently of the others in the series, but would then completely lack the emotional impact the reader gets from seeing just how much Kate has developed and grown since the first book. Starting out hard and ruthless loner, Kate now has a mate, a family, friends, and a number of people who rely on her, and who can also come to her aid in times of need. She is forced to take a close look at her life as she's know it, and realize that things are not necessarily as she was raised to believe they were.
Kate is a strong and fascinating character, and the supporting cast of the novels are just as good. The dialogue is often laugh out loud funny, and the continuing development of Kate's relationship with Curran is wonderful. Both are such stubborn and demanding personalities, forced to learn to adapt and compromise because of the person they love. This is by far my favourite book in the series so far, it had me in turns laughing out loud and gasping in suspense, and the last pages promises that the next novel may be even better.