Book Review: Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

Posted February 3, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Book Review: Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews
Genres: Apocalyptic, Arcanepunk Fantasy
Published by Ace on September 20, 2016
Pages: 328
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

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Also by this author: Burn For Me, Magic Shifts, Burn for Me, White Hot, Wildfire, Iron and Magic, Magic Triumphs, Magic Bites , Magic Burns, Magic Strikes , Magic Bleeds, Magic Slays , Gunmetal Magic, "Gerard Demille and Helen Meet", "Diamond Fire", Magic Rises , Magic Breaks, Magic Shifts , Magic Binds , Magic Triumphs, "Sweep with Me", Clean Sweep, Sweep in Peace, "Questing Beast", "A Mere Formality", Blood Heir, "The King of Fire", Blood Heir , Sapphire Flames, "A Misunderstanding", Emerald Blaze, "The Cool Aunt", One Fell Sweep

Ninth in the Kate Daniels arcanepunk apocalyptic fantasy series and revolving around Kate, mercenary, goddess, and pain-in-the-butt based in Atlanta.

If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Kate Daniels books on my website. In 2016, Magic Binds was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Fantasy.

My Take

I have a bit of envy here, well, more than the usual about Kate having Curran. It’s that house protection system of Roman’s. I want one.

There’s so much that’s depressing in the Kate Daniels series, but Andrews does keep tossing in the humor. I still crack up when the raven starts in on Roman with “eighteen hours of labor…” Ella’s disappointment that Kate didn’t bring back cookies. The wedding! Oh, man, all of Roman’s maneuvering in setting up Kate and Curran’s wedding will crack you up, especially when you know what Kate’s vision is of her wedding, lol. Curran’s reaction to the death of the homeowners’ association as well as the invasion of the wedding dress designers, *more laughter*.

Omigod. Omigod. Omigod. Mahon is accepting Kate!! He and Martha gift Kate with a family heirloom!!

“You can’t let people insult your wife, Curran. One day you’ll have to choose diplomacy or your spouse. I’m telling you now, it’s got to be your wife. Diplomacy doesn’t care if you live or die. Your wife does.”

Kate’s frustration with her father’s outlook and actions really springs out. I love how she slams him with how much no one wants him in charge, and she tries to explain to him why the slow accumulation of knowledge and skill is so important.

Unfortunately, how the power of Atlanta is affecting Kate also explodes. It’s affecting her filters…yeah, who knew Kate had filters!? And she’s letting it rip. And it’s a nasty, nasty, new conflict Andrews is introducing.

Whoa, we finally discover what’s wrong with Christopher’s mind. You. Will. Not. Believe. It. Kate also learns that Julie knows the truth from Magic Slays, 5.

Poor Kate — and yes, she is the first-person protagonist point-of-view character. Seems there are a number of plot coupons she has to collect if she wants her preferred ending. Andrews also incorporates a number of plot devices including the comic book death, the flashforwarding of the Oracle, Kate’s epiphanies including the anagnorisis of the Shar, plenty of flashbacks between Christopher and Erra, and that twisty cliffhanger at the end. At least part of it is positive!

There are a variety of conflicts in this: Jim’s intransigence, a ruthless wedding planner, Roland’s attitude, the Witch Oracle’s predictions, Christopher’s revolutionary turnabout (and we learn his back history; it’s a bit info-dumpish), and dealing with Chernobog and Teddy Jo’s issue — how Kate gets around Chernobog was quite clever.

Andrews does a nice job of using sentence length to imply thought and action.

Oddly enough, in spite of all this, I thought this was a bridge novel, busily tidying up loose ends, bringing groups together…and splintering them. And there are simply too many important issues readers need to know.

The Story

Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar…

Kate’s father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in his never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person Kate can ask for help is long dead.

The odds are impossible. The future is grim. But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules…

The Characters

Kate Daniels is Sharrim of Atlanta, daughter of Nimrod,and Guardian of Atlanta, with djinn blood. Cuddles is the overgrown mammoth donkey Kate rides. Julie is Kate’s “adopted” daughter, self-appointed Herald (events in Magic Slays are forcing Kate to be very careful), and a pureblood child of the Koorghan. Peanut is Julie’s draft horse. Grandmother, Semiramis, the Great Queen, the Shield of Assyria, is entombed at Mishmar, a prison Roland created in Nebraska. Eahrratim “Erra“, the City Eater and the Rose of Tigris, a princess of Shinar, is Kate’s now-dead aunt (Magic Bleeds, 4).

Cutting Edge is…
…Kate’s investigative agency. Employees include Ascanio Ferara, a gorgeous teen-aged bouda intern, and Derek Gaunt, a wolfshifter.

Curran Lennart, a massive lionshifter engaged to Kate, is the former Beast Lord who now heads up the Mercenaries Guild (Magic Shifts, 8).

The Mercenaries Guild…
…takes on any job for money. Curran’s special team consists of Eduardo, a werebuffalo, Douglas King, and the wicked fast Ella. The Four Horsemen, which includes Amelia Juke, didn’t make the team. A mouse witch can communicate through animals over a long distance. Collins, Santiago, Keana, and Calhoun are more of the members. Nellie Kerning is a medmage the Guild frequently uses.

The Red Guard is an elite security force.

Curran’s people are…
…those who chose to leave the Pack when Curran left. Barabas Gilliam, a weremongoose, had been the Pack lawyer. He’s also Christopher‘s caretaker (Magic Rises, 6). Maggie is Christopher’s new dog. George, Mahon’s daughter, and Eduardo Ortego are married and live across the street (Magic Shifts). Bahir Amir-Moez is Eduardo’s real father with some ifrit blood in his background. Amal is his winged black Arabian.

The Pack is…
…led by Jim Shrapshire, a jaguar shifter, who’s mated to Dali, a vegetarian white tiger. Mahon, the Kodiak of Atlanta and the Pack Executioner, looked upon Curran as a son. Martha is Mahon’s mate. Natalie is their younger daughter while Marion is the older one.

Raphael Medrano is the bouda alpha and mated to the very-pregnant Andrea Nash, Beastkin. The baby is Beatrice Kate Medrano, a.k.a., Baby B. Aunt B had been the previous alpha and Raphael’s mother. Jezebel had been one of the two assistants assigned to Kate when she first became the Consort…and Julie’s babysitter. She and Pearce Bailey are renders. Salome was Jezebel’s sister. Martina is Ascanio’s mother, a Pack counselor. Seems Ascanio has been listening to his mom. Other boudas include Lora, Karen, Thomas, and Kyle.

Desandra is the alpha wolf. Doolittle is a were-honey badger and the Pack medic. He’s still in his wheelchair. Nasrin is his second-in-command. Evelyn is one of Jim’s scouts. John and Ramona are a couple of guards. Robert is the alpha-rat. Jardin is one of Robert’s best surveillance rats. Raoul and Lilian are some of the bears Mahon assigned to guard Kate and Curran’s street.

Fiona Katsura designs wedding dresses. Jun is her brother and Enforcer. Mary Louise Garcia is the head baker for Clan Heavy’s Honey Buns Bakery. I gotta keep Kate’s cake choices in mind…yum…

Renders are the Pack’s elite soldiers, weapons of mass destruction.

The Witch Oracle is…
…three women: the Crone (Maria), the Mother (Evdokia), and the Maiden (Sienna).

Roman is a black volhv, a priest of Chernobog, the god of All Evil and Darkness. And he’s so excited about his first time as a battle volhv. Grigori is his father, the head black volhv. Evdokia is his mother, and one-third of the Witch Oracle. His cousin, Nikolai, a doctor, is the priest most people ask to marry them. Uncle Vasiliy is a white volhv, a priest for Belobog, Chernobog’s brother and exact opposite. Sirin is the storm bringer. Aspid is one of Chernobog’s dragons.

Beau “Beau the Brave” Clayton is the sheriff of Milton County and a friend of Kate’s (Magic Breaks, 7). Robert Holland and Shannon are his deputies. Gladys Holland is Bobbie’s mother and a member of the knitting circle. Chad and Jeremy Eakle are Caleb and Mary‘s sons. Jene Boudreaux hasn’t been herself for a long, long time.

The Order of Merciful Aid is…
…similar to law enforcement, and the only thing merciful about them is that they charge on a sliding scale. Nick Feldman is the current Knight-Protector and head of the Atlanta division. Maxine is the Order’s telepathic secretary. Greg Feldman, Nick’s father, had been the man who raised Kate once Voron was murdered. Anna, a pre-cog, is Greg’s ex-wife and Nick’s mother.

The People are…
Masters of the Dead who manipulate the mindless vampires who populate their stables under the Casino. Ghastek is a Master of the Dead and their leader in Atlanta. Rowena, Orlando Beasley, Constance Hyde, Ryan Kelly, Filipa, Toakasu Kakau, and Dennis Pillman are more Masters.

Saiman is a perverted demigod, a frost giant polymorph, and Kate’s go-to-guy for anything weirdly magical. Zoe can see an image in an instant and reproduce it. David Miller had been a magical idiot savant whose possessions had absorbed power. Luther is Biohazard’s self-appointed wizard-at-large. Teddy Jo, a.k.a., Thanatos, the angel of death, is a friend of Kate’s. Sugar is one of the pegasi. With a wicked sense of humor.

The Sharrum is…
…Kate’s father. The man who created the first vampires. Roland, a.k.a., Im, is a millennia-old father and immortal wizard with a megalomaniacal complex who doesn’t understand no. Hugh d’Ambray had been Roland’s Warlord and Herald, a terrifying man. Stoyan Iliev was Hugh’s second-in-command and captain of the First Cohort of the Iron Dogs. And the first captain Hugh recruited himself. Rippers are one of the Iron Dog cohorts, its shock troops, and Hibla had been its captain. Sahanu were trained-up from childhood to be Roland’s blades, his assassins, intended to kill Erra. Adora is sent after Kate in Milton County. Carolina is ranked eighth; Razer is first and part fae; and, Irene may be fae — she is a teleporter. Christopher Steed had been Legatus of the Golden Legion, a Master of the Dead.

Shinar, the jewel of Eden, had been Roland’s original kingdom. Adam was a city, not a man. Cain had been an agriculturist forced out by hunters and herders.

Voron, a Russian, had been Roland’s warlord, the one who trained Hugh, and whom Kate’s mother “seduced” into fleeing with her.

Ivan Kupala night has different meanings to different people. To some it’s merely a strong magic wave. Others see it as the day when boundaries between worlds blur. Others mark it as the last day of werewolf summer. Conclave is a monthly meeting at Bernard’s, a fancy restaurant, between all the supernatural groups in the area. Deimos is a son of Ares and Aphrodite. The Followers of Guran are a nasty sect. The Shar is a type of magical insurance that enforces the right to rule and was bred into Kate’s lineage. It can control you, or you can control it.

The Cover and Title

The cover is reds from the roiling reds of the background to the veil of red over Curran’s huge head in the upper left corner to Kate with her hair tossing in the breeze, Sarrat in its sheath on her back, and the cutesy, formfitting, and embroidered peasant top she wears over her leather pants. The author’s name is in white and below center with the embossed gold title below that, and the series information smaller and in white below that.

The title applies in several ways, from Kate learning to use her tie to the land, to the tie that Magic Binds on her and Curran.

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