Category Archives: Ilona Andrews

June 2012 Releases

Done with May 2012 Releases? Here are June 2012 Releases. For future releases, check Reading Wishlist.

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Fangs, Fur & Fey World-building Podcast

“Podcast” probably isn’t the proper term, because I didn’t download it (just listened from the website this evening), but you can find it here.

I knew before I listened that I’d love Ilona Andrews’ accent, and I do πŸ™‚

Turns out I’ve been pronouncing Cheyenne McCray’s name incorrectly in my mind. I thought it was like Shane, but it’s actually like Shy-ann. I feel the need to apologise, even though I’ve never said her name aloud. Sorry, Cheyenne.

Since it was about world-building, I was particularly looking forward to hearing Jordan Summers. Just hearing the term “transgenic research” makes me want to read the Dead World series all the more. And when sunlight hits her vampires, they turn into “human shrapnel”. Just that term invokes vivid imagery…wow.

I was glad to hear that Kathryn Smith has a character, Marcus, who basically snarks at the vampires’ theatrics, rolls his eyes. Which is totally what I’d do.

The 7 Books I Read in April

Ilona Andrews: Magic Bites: I’ll have to re-read this at some stage because I don’t remember a lot of the first half. While I was reading, I liked it fine, but my concentration was atrocious, and I was never in a hurry to get back to it. I had a lot of personal stuff going on, which probably affected my reading.

Kate Daniels might be what’s known as a “man with boobs” – basically a female with personality traits more commonly associated with men. She’s sharp-shootin’ and straight-talkin’, never without her trusty saber named Slayer (compensating for something?). Because this alternate reality Atlanta involves a lot of magic, it left me confused. What kind of magical abilities does Kate have? Without her weapon, would she survive? Am I supposed to want her to get together with Curran? (I don’t.) Because there’s a lot I don’t remember/don’t understand, I can’t give much of a review. Sorry, readers, maybe next time.

Ilona Andrews: Magic Burns

Anya Bast, Jodi Lynn Copeland, Lauren Dane & Kit Tunstall: What Happens in Vegas…: This anthology contains four novellas set in the infamous Las Vegas. I was expecting an erotica collection, so I was somewhat disappointed to read that they were more like erotic romances – but to each your own. Not a fan of romances, this obviously clouded my perception of these stories:

Jodi Lynn Copeland: Hot for You: Too much focus on the romance, and the author needs to find a synonym for cream. Otherwise fine.

Lauren Dane: Stripped: Characters pissed me off (so he’s rich and she’s not – get over it already!), and far too much romance – the most romancey story in the collection. Don’t think I’ll be reading more.

Kit Tunstall: Red-Handed: Ah, now this was a lot better, definitely in the top two.

Anya Bast: The Deal: Also in the top two. And it actually mentioned a Vegas wedding, complete with Elvis impersonator/Justice of the Peace.

I think what really pissed me off was that none of the characters were flawed; everyone was beautiful and kind-hearted… I need characters I can believe and relate to, and thus flaws are a must. Do I believe that romance novels give women unrealistic ideas of love? Unfortunately, I do. More erotica, less romance – it’ll make for better fiction in my opinion.

Patrice Michelle: Insurrection

Stephenie Meyer: The Host (no longer under embargo, so you can read my review now)

Taryn Blackthorne: Even for Me

Eve Kenin: Hidden

[REVIEW] Magic Burns – Ilona Andrews

Ilona Andrews
Magic Burns (Kate Daniels, Book 2)
Penguin (1st April, 2008)

Good news, everyone – Book 2 in the Kate Daniels series (Magic Burns) is better than Book 1 (Magic Bites). The first had its charms – solid world-building with no need for romance, and the fascinating idea of upir. But I read it over the course of several days while going through personal stuff, so I don’t remember much.

This sequel, however, is much more memorable, and starts off really well. The writing is smooth, and the story is easy to follow. But as it delves deeper into magic, mythology, monsters and swords (sorry to ruin the alliteration), it becomes more complicated and further out of the realm that my tiny brain can comprehend.

I love the world-building. Atlanta has two stages in time – tech (when life is as we know it) and magic. But the transitions between the two are getting faster, and Celtic mythology comes to life. (That sounds vague, I know, but I didn’t really understand it.)

Kate Daniels (whose father is supposedly Russian, but you wouldn’t know it from her surname) still has her almighty saber Slayer, but also has a new companion: teenager Julie, whose wannabe witch mother is missing.

And then there’s Curran, who wasn’t much of a love interest in Magic Bites). (An urban fantasy without nookie? It made for a welcome reprieve for this often sex-soaked genre.) I’ve read enough reviews, interviews and blogs to know that people are really pushing for Kate and Curran to get together. But I don’t like Curran. Had he simply been called an Alpha, I would’ve accepted that. But no: he’s a Beast Lord. Yeah, bit over-the-top, and he has the up-himself mentality to match. (If you don’t know what up himself means, please consult your chosen Australian vernacular expert.)

So other than Curran’s smug personality, what’s not to like about him? He breaks into Kate’s house…and she doesn’t kick his arse for it. For a supposed Kickass Heroine β„’, this is disappointing.

Parts of the story veer dangerously into trash territory. Kate’s mortified when people see her underwear, and its adornments. I would’ve been more concerned about people seeing leg hair or…”hair down there”, shall we say. Or haven’t you heard? No woman in fiction has hair except for on her scalp and eyebrow. My suspension of disbelief only goes so far, people πŸ˜‰

And Kate pervs on Curran working out. Yep, trashy romance. Not for me. I prefer Raphael.

But the author has fabulously intriguing ideas: like the shapeshifter caught between forms. The Lycos Virus is a fascinating, painful thing as demonstrated within these pages. Also interesting is the bouda, a werehyena – now she’s a nifty character I’d like to read more about.

Then there’s Corwin. You’ve read enough of people shifting into animals, but Corwin is the opposite – an animal who Shifts into a human. This is why Ilona Andrews is one of the best world-builders around with some truly new ideas to add to the urban fantasy genre.

But be warned: Curran has a speech that tries to be Braveheart, but comes across more as an American high school football coach. Coming from a culture where we have no school spirit, I found that kind of lame. But I take my humour where I can get it.

So if you want to read some of the best world-building in the biz, Ilona Andrews writes it. Just ignore Curran and the confusing fight scenes, and you’ll find this quite to your liking – I know I’ll be back for more. B

Let Idlewild Sleep… in Melbourne

I rarely/never comment on musicians’ MySpace posts, but when Idlewild said that they might put “Let Me Sleep (Next to the Mirror)”, I had to cheer. I remember harmonising along to that song… Of course, I also wrote that I hope they come to Melbourne soon πŸ˜‰

Ooh, Jens Lekman’s got a new album coming out in early October…

Requisitory pimping of this, this and this.