Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews, or my favorite UF heroine

Magic Burns
Recommended for: everyone who likes fantasy and kick-butt women
Read December 2011 read count: lots
★  ★  ★  ★  ★

I’ve procrastinated forever in writing this review. Magic Burns is one of my frequent re-reads, and I’m not sure I can do it justice.

What keeps drawing me back? An interesting heroine that is confident, skilled in her field, funny, occasionally lonely, caring despite herself and lives according to an ethical code? Action that builds from the somewhat ridiculous (a salamander pyromaniac) to the tragic (spikey dogs) to epic (a battle between shapeshifters and gods)? Relationship building that gives equal importance to girlfriends, adopted family and potential romance? A sophisticated vision of a post-apocalypic Atlanta that shifts from magic to tech? Vampires that are not romantacized and moreover, most empathetically, do not sparkle? Hard to say, but it’s a favorite. If they ever release it in hardcover, I’ll buy it in a flash, because my paperback is worn out.

Kate is the heroine of the series, and one of my all-time favorite characters.

She’s anything but a sweet talking diplomat:

Negotiate. He [Jim] wanted me to engage a lunatic who had already burned four people into smoking meat. Okay, I could do that.
‘Alright, Jeremy,’ I yelled into the night. ‘Give me the salamander and I won’t cut your head off!'”

She’s got a gift of understatement:

“His nose no longer looked broken. No blood, either. Wonderful. Not only could he teleport, but he also regenerated while he did it. If he started spitting fire, we’d be all set.”

She knows a losing battle when she sees one:

“I looked at his face and saw the decisive thrust of the adolescent jaw. No intelligent life there. I turned to Julie.”

She’s creative:

“The vampire started at me, his mouth slack as Ghastek assessed his options. I took a couple of forms from my desk, put them in the vamp’s mouth, and pulled them up by their edges.
‘What are you doing?’ Ghastek asked.
‘My hole puncher broke.’
‘You have no respect for the undead.”

And sometimes, very rarely, she has nothing to say:

She [Julie] shrugged. ‘Sex. Red knows a ritual that would give him my powers if I do sex with him.’
I stared at her, speechless. There were so many things wrong with what she said that my brain experienced a momentary shutdown.”

But don’t be misled, she isn’t all sarcasm, and her confrontations with evil aren’t marked by trading witticisms. But there’s enough humor to ease the way in to the serious stuff.

Five stars, again and again.

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About thebookgator

avid reader and Goodreads reviewer looking for a home.
This entry was posted in Book reviews, fantasy, Urban fantasy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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