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Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews

You May authors, you. What are you trying to do to me? I toss and turn in reading slump hell for what seems like weeks on end and then you present me with a string of top-notch books and it's like emerging from a drought into hip-deep water. With mermaids. And flying fish. And seals. What? I like seals. I have to thank the tremendously benevolent KMont of Lurv a la Mode for seeing that an actual living, breathing (oh, you know what I mean) copy of Magic Bleeds made it into my hot little hands before I expired from the intense longing I've been suffering from ever since I closed the cover of Magic Strikes just over a year ago. I thought husband-and-wife duo Ilona Andrews raised the stakes incredibly high in that third installment in the Kate Daniels series, launching it instantly into my top two urban fantasy series right up there neck and neck with Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson books. And I have to say, it's been an absolute delight getting to read the latest volumes in both series within two months of each other. Spring is a killer season when it comes to my favorite urban fantasy and I just love it.

Kate is pissed off. And I love it when Kate is pissed off. It means that all manner of mayhem can and will happen. It means she's gonna be swinging her enchanted sword Slayer in seven different directions. It also frequently means Curran will be involved because, quite often, the Beast Lord is the cause of Kate's fury. These are just a few of my favorite things. And the opening of Magic Bleeds is no exception. All of the above apply. Except that Kate manages to rein in her anger to a degree, enough to set her issues aside and answer the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid's call when they need an agent to head out and investigate a bar brawl gone horribly wrong in the seedy outskirts of Atlanta. Once there, she encounters the damning detritus left in the wake of a powerful, cloaked being who skewered a shapeshifter and left a plague-like calling card. With a ponderous amount of mythical lore at her fingertips, Kate tries to  work with the Order, the Mercenary Guild, the government, and the Pack to uncover the villain's identity before Atlanta becomes a wasteland, its population decimated by any number of heinous diseases. And because the murder involved a shifter, Curran will inevitably want to control matters. Tightly. As things are not going so well in Kate-and-Curran land of late, sparks (and body parts) may fly when they're forced to face (and work with) each other to stop the threat to the city they both call home.

So I could just say, "Every single expectation met. And then some." And leave it at that. But that wouldn't be any fun. You guys really wanna know how good this book is, right? It's so good I stopped more than once mid-book to immediately re-read whole sections, savoring the interaction between these characters I've come to care about with a fierce kind of love. It's so good I laughed out loud. On multiple occasions. Loud enough to make DH smile at me, nod knowingly, and say, "I love it when you're in love with a book like this." It's so good it surprised me, even when I thought I knew it so well. With its addictive blend of a non-stop parade of monsters, and hell beasts, and demons, oh my! and quiet, revealing scenes between Kate and the people she loves most (even if it is wholly against her formidable will), Magic Bleeds had me at hello and didn't let go its choke hold on my throat and emotions until the final page. Things played out even better than I imagined. And that's saying something, as I wanted so much for Kate. You see, she tries to keep her hope, along with her heritage, hidden in case the worst happens and everyone she loves is forced to suffer for her sake. Me, I'm willing to lay all mine out on the table. If anyone deserves happiness and safety and love, it's her. And, come hell or high water, I want her to have it! And yet, everyone remained themselves. No one sacrifices integrity for the sake of moving the plot forward. Including the hilarious and most excellent Saiman, who, judging by his actions in this one, may actually have a death wish. But, amoral propositions aside, I love the guy. I'm glad Kate has him, even if he does put her in the most awkward situations. This book goes a long way toward addressing all these issues and the question of whether or not her background and training will, in fact, be too much to overcome when it comes to having such dangerous things as friends, family, and relationships. And, as with the last installment, we get another piece in the puzzle of both Kate and Curran. Such pieces never come without a price. And these two warriors know it. Perhaps too well. But they're not that strong for nothing, you know? It was the highest kind of pleasure spending time in their company. My expression shifted from wide grin to intense focus to desperate concern throughout the course of the book. But I closed it with a grin on my face. And you will, too. Because there's nothing but awesome here. Happy reading, my friends.
Magic Bleeds is due out May 25th.

The Book Lush Review
Lurv a la Mode Review
Smexy Books Review


  1. oh angie. i am so happy that this book is full of awesome. that makes me happy. I can't wait to gobble this book down.

  2. ooh, I want. WANT. I preordered a signed copy from Powell's and it hasn't arrived yet. When will it arrive?!?!

  3. Shoot. Another book to add to my tbr pile. :")

  4. It took me a long time to pick up this series as the whole urban fantasy genre can be so grim and I'm more a fan of (for instance) the loveliness of MWT but eventually so many of your reviews jibed exactly with how I felt about books that I knew it was only a matter of time.

    And I have to say I am totally in love with Kate and Curran and the whole world. In the past 2 weeks I bought and devoured and re-read over and over again the first 3 books and I am ready for MAY 25. A great review on your part, without revealing anything but yet letting us know something worthy is on the way.

  5. "Husband-and-wife duo"--ever since Nick and Nora, I've liked to see that. Marriage is more interesting than it is reputed to be!

  6. Anonymous10:58 AM

    Great review. I haven't been able to concentrate on another book since I finished Magic Bleeds (and I have Spirit Bound and Dead in the Family on my bedside table). Kate is my favorite heroine. Strong and brave and moral, but humble. I don't ever find myself rolling my eyes because I think the author is trying too hard to make the heroine Strong. Kate's actions and reactions make sense! I love the supporting characters, especially the hyenas, and Saiman is great. There are no words for Curran.

    I hate to say it because I think time is moving too fast as it is, but: Is it May 2011 yet?

  7. Excellent review, Angie. :D

    *No one sacrifices integrity for the sake of moving the plot forward.*

    I think you've hit on a great point about this series. Andrews has created so many great characters, all so unique, that they have so much potential to use without changing who they are. Great point. Each comes with a very useful set of characteristics that the writers make good use of.

  8. Envy you - Thanks for the awesome review!

  9. I can't wait.

    That is all. ;)

    Actually, I will also say I just re-read books 2 & 3 to prepare for this. If at all possible, Magic Strikes was even BETTER the second time around. Bleeds has a lot to live up to... Thanks to you and KMont it certainly sounds like it does.



  10. Mine was delivered yesterday. You can imagine the happy dance that I did. :)

  11. Alicia, gobble is definitely the appropriate term. ;)

    Janice, ooh, I hope it gets there SOON! You are just not going to be disappointed with this one at all. Not at all.

    Emily, that is right. Having dipped into the Mercy waters, it is time you gave Kate a go.

    Yen, what a lovely thing to say. And I'm SO happy this series hit the right buttons for you, too! That's awesome you've read them all so recently. I can't wait to hear what you think of book 4.

    Shelley, indeed. They do a bang-up job, that's for sure.

    Karen, that's just the thing about Kate, isn't it? I adore her. She is the reason I read it, as wild as I am about Curran. (And that is a lot of wild!) Kate combines everything we love in a main character. I'll read about her any day of the week. And I'm with you on 2011. *sigh*

    Kenda, aw, thanks. And you're right. I just appreciate how I never have to roll my eyes with this series. At any of the characters. It's so freaking solid and so wonderfully entertaining. And not one book disappoints. Amazing.

    Shannon, you bet. Hope you get a hold of a copy soon!

    Kaz, it does. It so very much does. And I completely agree, MAGIC STRIKES held up so astonishingly well on the 2nd read I couldn't believe it. That's quality, right there.

    Tiah, I can indeed. I imagine it looked very similar to mine. ENJOY!

    Christine, lol. Ooh, you're gonna love this one. Can't wait to talk to you about it. Will I get to see you in NY? Have you figured your schedule out yet?

  12. Yep. I'm totally there next Tuesday :)

  13. Oh. oh. OH!! I'm sitting here in a puddle of goo over your review. *sigh* Literally, I am dying for release day!! And yes, loved your review, esp. "amoral propositions aside, I love the guy" Saiman to a T! I'm thrilled to hear we get more of his shape-changing self.
    I am in all kinds of excitement to read this one - mostly b/c it sounds just as good as I hoped it would be.

  14. While reading this my inner fan girl was screaming her effing head off. I. Can't. Wait. For. This. Book!

    Nice review ;)

  15. More reason for me to get the books in this series! I'm going to wait for the latest book to come out and I'll order all of them from abroad. :)

  16. I loved this book! A bookstore released it early near me and I've already read it twice..I'm having a hard time starting another book since I loved this one so much! I'm happy with how things played out - nothing is ever easy for Kate!

  17. Angie, YES! I believe we will be hanging out together in NY next Thursday night!!! I can't wait to see you. :)

  18. Jen, awesome. It's gonna be a great day all over. I can't wait to hear the collective squeeing. :)

    Michelle, you are not going to believe what Saiman does in this one. Ooooh. It's sublime.

    Smokin, LOL. I hear ya, girl. Not long now. Just keep repeating that.

    Chachic, that sounds like a plan. I really think you're going to love them. I'm crazy over them, as you know. hehe

    Heather, twice!? Woo-hoo! And don't you just love it when a bookstore puts it out early? Those are the things dreams are made of! I was extremely happy with how it played out as well.

    Christine, YAY! I'm so excited. *hyper*

  19. Anonymous3:53 PM

    How am I supposed to wait any longer after reading this review? XD Really, I can't wait to get my hands on this book!

  20. I acquired this early from a kind friend in Kentucky and agree with every word!

  21. nagasasu, lol. Do you have it yet? Do ya?! *frets*

    Sarah, oh, I'm very glad you got yourself a copy. (And such a kind friend!) Wasn't it just the bestest? *happysigh*


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