Discussion Post | Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

Welcome to our next Kate Daniels discussion, Magic Strikes, Kate Daniels #3.  Magic Strikes is my favorite book of the series, and I had so much fun revisiting it in preparation for the release of the Kate Daniels conclusion.  I know Angie Elle and I are both enjoying our reread, and I hope you guys are enjoying our debates!

*Please be advised that since this is a discussion, there will be spoilers.

Magic StrikesMagic Burns by Ilona Andrews
Kate Daniels #3

Urban Fantasy
Berkley Publishing Group | April, 2009

About the Book: When magic strikes and Atlanta goes to pieces, it’s a job for Kate Daniels…

Drafted to work for the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems these days than she knows what to do with. And in Atlanta, where magic comes and goes like the tide, that’s saying a lot.

But when Kate’s werewolf friend Derek is discovered nearly dead, she must confront her greatest challenge yet. As her investigation leads her to the Midnight Games—an invitation-only, no-holds-barred, ultimate preternatural fighting tournament—she and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, uncover a dark plot that may forever alter the face of Atlanta’s shapeshifting community…

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Spoilers Galore

Part 1

Birdie Bookworm: Magic Strikes is one of my favorite books in the Kate Daniels series.  There’s just something about the cage fighting, and Kate and Curran’s growing interactions that really turned everything up for me.  I felt like this was the book where you could really see the altering dynamic between Kate and Curran.  Specifically, you can really feel a change in Kate.  Prior, I felt like you could feel Curran thawing in stages, but Kate really seemed to be keeping herself at a distance but in Magic Strikes I felt like her ice was slowly melting.

Angie Elle: Yes – the intensity was really upped in this book, and Kate definitely started thawing towards Curran in this installment. The shifters felt more human than they have previously, and I think we got to see how they aren’t as invincible as they’d like to be. There was a lot of emotion, and I was so moved at how much the pack loved Derek, and the story of how he came to the pack. I think it really made Kate see Curran in a way she hadn’t before, and she realized how much they have in common.

Birdie Bookworm:  That is a really good point, and not something I put together.  The stories are similar, Curran and Derek vs Kate and Julie.  They both saved their kids, lol.  

I also loved how Kate and Curran played off each other in a humorous way.

Angie Elle: They sure did, but underneath all that humor, their attraction was simmering to a boil!

Birdie Bookworm: One of my favorite quotes in the whole book was:
“You said sloppy! Look, I didn’t even use my sword; I hit him with my head, like a moron.” a few moments later…
“I think we hurt his feelings.” Dali looked at Jim’s retreating back, sighed, and went after him.  Curran looked at me. “What the hell was I supposed to do, catch the werebison as he was falling?”
It always makes me laugh, because it shows how similar they really are, and why they drive each other crazy, crazy insane and crazy hot for each other.

Angie Elle: It really does. And it shows how they’re both very driven by instinct.

Birdie Bookworm: I also thought Magic Strikes was a game changer in the series because of what happened to Derek.  Pre-Magic Strikes Derek was lighthearted and sweet.  He was the pretty faced Boy Wonder.  The events that launched Kate’s hunt change him from here on.  His history always gave him serious layers, but from here on Derek becomes even more menacing.  The reader in me who loves Derek hates what happened to him, but the reader who understands it’s a series and needs to evolve understands and can appreciate the sacrifice that Ilona Andrews made here.

Angie Elle: I didn’t really see it as a sacrifice. I think it’s natural for the shifters to harden with age – their world is rough, and they have to do things (even to their own,) that humans wouldn’t be able to do. I think this would have happened naturally, but what happened to him sped things up.

Birdie Bookworm: See, I agree that he would have harden with time, but this was even more than what a normal shifter goes through.  It altered how he sees himself going forward, and how he believes others see him when they look at him.  He subconsciously becomes this ‘destroyed’ face that they gave him.  

On the flipside, I think this was where I really started to dislike Jim.  I understand his motivation is Pack.  However, I feel like there’s still a way to treat your friends non-pack friends honorably and Jim doesn’t know how to do that.  I feel like he treats Kate’s friendship like garbage, and it just constantly pisses me off.  The one thing that redeems him is the way he treats Dali.  I love Dali’s character.  I think after Kate, she’s my favorite and I love the way they play off each other.

Angie Elle: I don’t think Jim sees Kate as a friend. I just think he utilizes her when it’s convenient for him. And for Jim, his only loyalty is to pack. I don’t necessarily like it, but I think, perhaps, he is most instinctually driven, and its always pack first. I like that. This is where I feel like Ilona Andrews excels – they don’t sacrifice instinct to make a character more relatable or likable. He is who he is, and he makes no apologies for that. Having said that, his feelings are on full display here as he takes what happened to Derek very personally. It’s clear it’s eating Jim up inside. As pack enforcer, he takes their safety very seriously.

I have SO much more to say about Jim, and Angie loved seeing me all riled up.  You should make sure to click over to Angie Elle’s blog and read the second half of this discussion!

Kate Daniels discussion schedule below.


About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

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