Magic Breaks is the seventh book in the Kate Daniels series by the married duo that writes as Illona Andrews. By now it’s a sprawling series, so if you haven’t read the others my advice is to go back and start with Magic Bites, the first in the series. It’s a strong set of books, and you can delight in the fact you have seven more to go – and the duo have talked about writing another three.
At this point, the romance between the main character, Kate Daniels, and her mate, Curran (who as ‘Beast Lord’ – sexier than it sounds – leads all the local shape shifters in the area) is well established, and has moments of tenderness, humour, and, of course, sexiness, that are well written and enjoyable. Unfortunately Curran is absent for much of the book, so we don’t get quite as much of that side of things as readers might like. What we do get is Kate standing on her own two feet (again), and leading the pack, dealing with crisis and fighting on her own.
The book comes with a primer at the start which reminds the reader of the history of the books up until now. This is pretty helpful, because I read the first few books in the series a while ago, and the primer (written from the POV of another member of the pack) contained details I had forgotten. So it could potentially be read as a stand-alone if you worked your way through this…but I still wouldn’t recommend it.
The book finally introduces us to the ‘big bad’ that’s been haunting Kate for most of the series – her father. This had the potential for anti-climax, which it just about avoided for me, but it will be interesting to see how the character, and his relationship with Kate, develops. We also find out more about Kate’s heritage when we meet her Grandmother – another extremely powerful entity. Kate also comes into some of her own magic, and in solving one set of problems, she creates a whole new set of problems for the final books in the series (nicely done).
There’s a lot of action in this series and they’re well-paced, but the aspect I think I enjoy most is the sense of humour that permeates all of Illona Andrews’ writing. Even when they’re writing quite dark happenings, there’s still a little snark, and it really makes Kate shine as a character. The humour’s there in other characters too – Desandra was fleshed out here and continued her rude but hilarious lines, and Hugh, the not-quite-as-big-but-still-pretty-big-bad who’s been attacking Kate and the pack for the last few books, as well as this one, was also given a lot of great lines.
Much like with any series, there’s so much world-building in past books it’s hard to give every character a full outing (Samain isn’t in this book for example). There were also a few aspects from the last book which I didn’t feel were completely addressed – the relationship between Kate and Curran took a bit of a hit and they seemed to have moved on from that without much fall out. Perhaps we’ll see more of that relationship in the next book given some of the choices that Curran has to make at the end of this book.
Overall Illona Andrews continues to be one of my favourite ‘go-to’ authors, who I’d happily buy whatever she (and he) put out, given the quality of the many books of theirs I’ve read so far. If you enjoy urban fantasy/paranormal romance with a focus on action, then start at the beginning of this series – you won’t regret it.