Magic Triumphs (A Kate Daniels novel book 10) by Ilona Andrews (book review).

October 15, 2019 | By | Reply More

In a more and more competitive market, writers have to do more to make themselves noticed, not only by the potential publishers but by the readers as well. Thus, the first novel in a series needs to put the protagonists into great peril, ramping up the tension and perhaps allowing them to survive by the skin of their teeth. This leads to a problem. The later novels in the series need to increase the jeopardy by more than minor increments.

It the author has projected this in the story arc across series, there is not a problem. However, the danger is that with the intensity of the action in the first novel, the difficulty lies in sustaining the impact. It is easy for a debut novelist to throw everything at the first book and wonder where to go next. This is particularly so in the case of supernatural novels where many of the tropes have already been explored. To be noticed, there needs to be something different.

Ilona Andrews is a husband and wife team who began publishing this series in 2007. ‘Magic Triumphs’ is the final volume in this sequence of ten books. Although it is useful to have read from the beginning, there is sufficient here to enable most of the situation to be gleaned by the reader for the action to make sense. The world looks very similar to ours but at some point there was a ‘Shift’. Post-Shift, waves of tech and magic sweep over the world. During tech periods, machines work but, during magic, everything is powered by magic. For most people life goes on as usual.

Kate Daniels is the protagonist. She has taken the region around the city of Atlanta under her protection. As this is the last novel in the series, it is to be expected that everything not previously thrown at her, will be. This is a world which is populated by supernaturals. Over the series, she has fallen in love with and married a werelion, Curran. The prologue describes the birth of their son, Conlan, and the first attempt of Kate’s father, Roland, to kill the child.

Most of the action takes place a year and a half later. They think that the only danger to Conlan is from Roland, until the population of a whole estate goes missing. The only clue is that all the dogs in the area were shot through the eye with a bow. At the same time, someone begins harassing Kate, first with a box of ashes containing a rose and a knife, then by arranging the cremation of a youth outside her workplace. Roland denies any knowledge. All this is heading towards a culmination which must end in a magical battle.

The main thrust of the novel, that of discovering why and how the innocent people disappeared, is complicated by Conlan. As the son of a shapeshifter, it was expected that if he had inherited that trait, it would have manifested soon after birth so his sudden change into a frightened black lion fully equipped with teeth and claws is a surprise and another issue Kate and Curran have to deal with.

Being the final novel in the sequence, a number of threads have come to conclusions and hopefully, those who have followed Kate from the beginning will be satisfied with them. This is a fast-paced novel with action almost at every turn. This doesn’t allow some of the threads that are new here to be explored as fully as they might be.

Everything happens just a little too quickly before the characters need to rush to the next crisis. It might have been described in earlier volumes but it would have been nice to have seen the changes and effects of the waves of tech and magic.

This kind of fiction is popular and, as long as the reader is prepared to follow Kate’s travails from volume one, I’m sure they will be relieved by the outcome.

Pauline Morgan

October 2019

(pub: Ace, New York, 2018. 439 page paperback. Price: $ 9.99 (US), $12.99 (CAN), £ 6.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-425-27072-1)

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Category: Books, Fantasy

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