Published by Ace on August 4th 2015
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Buy on Amazon
After breaking from life with the Pack, mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate—former Beast Lord Curran Lennart—are adjusting to a very different pace. While they’re thrilled to escape all the infighting, Curran misses the constant challenges of leading the shapeshifters. So when the Pack offers him its stake in the Mercenary Guild, Curran seizes the opportunity—too bad the Guild wants nothing to do with him and Kate.
Luckily, as a veteran merc, Kate can take over any of the Guild’s unfinished jobs in order to bring in money and build their reputation. But what Kate and Curran don’t realize is that the odd jobs they’ve been working are all connected. An ancient enemy has arisen, and Kate and Curran are the only ones who can stop it—before it takes their city apart piece by piece…
Jenny: Because the Book Geek has two Ilona Andrews fangirls, Brandi and I decided to review this one together. It was a lot easier to do that than to cat-fight over it.
Brandi: It’s interesting we ended up rating this the same. That’s unusual.
Jenny: Very unusual, on account of your bad taste. I’m pretty sure I influenced you, because you’re usually overly generous and then go back and change your rating.
Brandi: I go back and change it once reason sets in. I’m an emotional reviewer.
Jenny: And overly generous. I expect better from IA at this point, though. There were too many negatives to ignore. =/
Brandi: Part of me wants to give this 4 stars, because I chuckled several times and love being in the Kate Daniels world. What killed it for me, was the family drama that wasn’t followed through with or actually resolved in a real way, plus the lack of Derek.
Jenny: I was thoroughly entertained by most of the book, but I can’t award stars just cuz it’s Kate. Fuck that.
Brandi: You have to admit, though, that even at their less-than-good moments, they’re still better than most everything else.
Jenny: Agreed. That they are. I could have been more forgiving, as well, if Derek had played a larger part in the story. The only excuse for his being missing that I will accept, is that he has a side story coming.
Brandi: Let us pray.
Jenny: Dear Satan, we call on you.
Brandi: Bring us the glory that is Derek. And all the other characters we want.
Brandi: I want more Luther, too.
Jenny: Luther’s great. He cracked me up.
Brandi: Oh jeez, I just pictured him as Idris Elba. MMmmmmm.
Jenny: Luther’s black?
Brandi: No, I picture him more olive skinned, but the BBC show Luther just popped into my head and now I’ll forever picture him black and stunning.
Jenny: Yummm. But I can’t do it. I can’t picture Luther as Idris, because Luther isn’t sexy and brooding like Idris. My brain pulled an old switcheroo and associated “Luther” with “Gunther” from Friends. LOOOOL. Bleach blond hair and everything.
Brandi: LOOL. MINE WINS.
Jenny: You win. This time. —_—
Welp. It’s decided. We’ve decided. There shall be a Derek story. So mote it be.
Brandi: Or several. I want an entire series.
Jenny: It’s not about what we want, foo. It’s about what they write.
Brandi: Which needs to be what we want, dammit.
Jenny: They’re not giving anything away, either. Not even a hint here or there about a Derek storyline. He’s only referenced on the sidelines:
Derek stepped out of the shadows into the hallway.
Derek stirred in the backseat. He had been so quiet and still, I almost forgot he was there.
Jenny: Another thing that’s starting to bother me a lot is telling me how badass Curran is. I don’t usually mind, but it’s becoming excessive. I know he’s a badass. Please stop saying it. Truly, I get it.
Brandi: That doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I like it.
Jenny: It’s too much now. It feels like it’s becoming a Gary Stu situation.
Jenny: Harsh is my middle name.
Brandi: Dude, can we talk about View Spoiler »how Mahon had that long talk with Kate when they were overseas about how she’s their people now and all that shit, and then he busts out with THAT?! WTF!
Jenny: Exactly. She’s human, she’s not worthy, and blah blah blah. So disrespectful. Too many inconsistencies going on.
Brandi: Mahon got his ass handed to him, though. I nearly pity him.
Jenny: Yes, that was great, but damn the lack of a timely resolution.
Brandi: They don’t even go back to the scene! That was a seriously huge let-down and really annoying. All of that massive drama with Mahon and then it’s just dropped.
Jenny: Dropped like a flame from the sky. And a snake. From the sky. Lol. And it’s incredibly odd to have the resolution happen much later and off-screen, so to speak. One moment, father and daughter are ready to rip each other apart, and the next, Mahon is referring to Eduardo as his son-in-law as he puts his arm around George. Wishy-washy bastard.
Add in the craziness of Kate’s stroke and its easy-peasy, snap-of-a-finger resolution that added nothing to the story, and it all starts to fall apart at the seams.
Brandi: Maybe the books really should have ended already. =(
Jenny: No, but they should be focusing more on the main story and not on some fucking “big bad monster.” At least, there should be a heck of a lot less focus on it. I was so over that damn djinn and those damn giants.
3 giants?! That’s 2 giants too many. « Hide Spoiler
Jenny: On a brighter note, even 8 books in, I’m still laughing out loud all the frikkin time, because Kate is fucking hilarious. Now Julie, as well, is cracking me up. Mini-Kate that she is.
Brandi: Her humor is what makes me love Kate more than everyone else. These two authors pull off humor like masters. Humor masters.
Jenny: Humor… Masters… Yes. LOOL. That’s going in the review.
Brandi: Noooooooooooooo. My words… They don’t like me right now.
This is one of my all-time favorite series’ and I don’t exaggerate when I say I think it’s one of the very best UF stories out there… but… the last two books haven’t lived up to what I’ve come to expect and it’s making me sad. I wonder if IA weren’t ready for the series to be over, but had to provide extra books because, contract. I was lucky enough to meet them (and I didn’t even embarrass myself!!!) and they didn’t explicitly say anything of the sort, but I had the feeling that they hadn’t planned on these extra few remaining books. Don’t quote me, and don’t freak out on me, but that’s the feel I had, and the last two seem to show I’m not too off target.
This book was better than the last one, because they brought us back to the love and humor of Kate and Curran and it was a serious relief to be through all their nonsense relationship drama. Though at one point Kate references not being able to push Curran, because she didn’t know where they stood and I was like, dafuq? The whole book was extolling the strength of their relationship! It was legit like two sentences, then it was back to normal. I mean, that sentence (or two) could have been removed and it wouldn’t have changed a damn thing.
There were also some inconsistencies that kind of bothered me, as in, I noticed them and I usually float in a bubble of reading bliss when I visit Kate, so it’s irksome that anything would even catch my eye like that. One of the things I wondered about was Kate telling Julie exactly what the blood ritual did to her – I could have sworn she told Julie before leaving for Europe.
The thing that kept this book from being a solid 4 for me was the complete and utter lack of Derek. This guy has been such a main side character and so present up till recently. He was barely even in this story! I mean barely! I adore Derek. I want him to have his own series featuring Julie (that I envision as his mate), Luther, Ascanio, and maybe even this asshole Nick because I don’t like Nick and I don’t see Kate putting him in his place.
The other huge downer for me was this MASSIVE family drama that was playing out and then it was just… dropped. There was an interruption to an intense scene that I was crazy involved in, but then there was nothing. NOTHING! Some off-scene talk happened later, and then all of a sudden, everything was hunky-dory. WHUT. That was not ok with me. At all. I wanted more of that. It was a terrific aspect of the story and involved more than just the two immediate people in the fight, but then to leave it hanging like that was bullshit. It was this aspect that really killed the story for me.
In the end, I liked this installment more than the last, but it doesn’t quite reach the same heights that the earlier books did.
Brandi pretty much summed it all up and I have a fever (fuckin A), so I’ll keep it short.
The problem with a really good series written by really good authors is that every new book has to live up to the glory of its predecessors. Were I to compare books outside this series, but within the same genres, to Magic Shifts, the vast majority would fall short. Put it up against the earlier books and all of its flaws jump out at you.
Despite its shortcomings, this series is, as always, so much fun, a pleasure to read, and a step above the rest. Magic Shifts is no exception.
And now for the next year-long wait, because no matter what, I’m an Ilona fangirl for life. Someone send me a badge already.