Friday 21 September 2018

#CBR10 Book 84: "Magic Triumphs" by Ilona Andrews

Page count: 352 pages
Rating: 5 stars

#CBR10Bingo: This is the end

This is the tenth and final book in a long running series. As such, there may be spoilers for the contents of at least previous books, as well as mild spoilers for the plot of this one. More importantly, it is NOT the place to start. The proper place to begin is Magic Bites. The book is a bit rough, but stick with it, this series is among the best paranormal fantasy out there.

I've spent more than eleven hours on a train from Canada today, and then more than an hour getting back from Penn Station, so I'm going to just cut and paste the official blurb here, because my brain is too muddled to come up with a decent summary of my own:

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She's made friends and enemies. She's found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate's doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world.

I've been reading these books for nearly a decade (started the series in 2009), so it's a rather bittersweet thing to finally get to the end. Nevertheless, it was time for Kate and Curran's adventures to reach an end point, but the authors leave the door open for further adventures in the universe they've created. Already promised - two more books about Hugh and Elara (intriguingly set BEFORE their appearance in this one. While there were some things I didn't think worked so well, and the pacing of the plot is uneven (the ending feels really rather rushed), but overall, I thought this was an incredibly satisfying final chapter to the series.

Things I thought could have been done better:
- While I really like that the authors subverted the readers' expectations by having our intrepid heroes facing off against a different big bad than we'd been led to believe, it might have been good to drop hints about the existence and possibility of said threat somewhat earlier in the series (and no, hinting at the ultimate villain's henchpeople and creatures in the first Hugh book is not enough, as not everyone will necessarily have read that one).
- The whole subplot with the realtors constantly calling Kate and Curran and them getting increasingly more annoyed was a cute gag that was taken too far. That whole story line could have been cut without any of the overall plot suffering.
- I also agree with my fellow Cannonballer Emmalita that questioning whether the Pack (now led by Jim) would even for a second consider allying with Roland is dumb, because the answer to that question was always going to be no.

Things I really liked:
- Conlan (while my husband and I agree that it's not a great name) was a delight. Ilona Andrews, in my opinion, excel at writing children without ever turning them into annoying plot moppets. A precocious toddler who's also a giant kitten was always going to appeal to me, but Kate as a frazzled mother was extra enjoyable now that I myself have a child (who thankfully can barely wiggle across the floor when put down, although he flops from back to belly like a champ).
- The resolution of Kate's whole Roland problem. The book was never going to end with Kate nobly sacrificing herself to kill her dad, and the way the authors found a solution to neutralise Roland for good was a creative one.
- Hugh and Elara's appearance. I've always liked Hugh, even when he was the villain. Now that he pretty much fulfils the role of Kate's older brother in her super dysfunctional family dynamic, I like him even more.
- The fact that even though there's not one, but two, really very serious threats facing Kate and her people, the book didn't feel too dark and there were enough light hearted and funny moments along the way.

While I'm sad that the series is at an end, I'm glad the final volume was a satisfying one, wrapping up most of the loose ends, while still leaving enough things open to write potential spin-offs further down the line. I'm also very glad that there are more Hugh books, as well as Hidden Legacy books from the authors in the near future.

Judging a book by its cover: As Kate Daniels covers go, this isn't bad, but really, this series is not blessed with decent cover art at any point, and I have genuinely lost count of how many different dark haired women with a sword who have portrayed Kate on these covers by now.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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